Reuters reports that they had seen the Commission's draft proposals for a supposed reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, due to be unveiled next week.
The Commission has warned that three-quarters of EU fish stocks are currently exploited at unsustainable levels, and between 30 and 40 percent of the EU's fishing fleet is not making enough money to remain in business in the long-term.
A reduction in fishing for a few years would allow stocks to recover to a level where fishermen can catch and earn more than today, without depleting the resource in the long-term -- a level known as "maximum sustainable yield," the Commission says.
To achieve this, the Commission will propose an end to the annual horse-trading between EU governments over fishing quotas, which in the past has resulted in catch limits being set above the maximum levels recommended by scientists.
Instead, EU governments should jointly agree "multi-annual" plans based on expert advice that fix quotas for one or more fish stocks for several years at a time to avoid overfishing, the draft proposal says.
But those pesky governments might not go along with some of the proposals as the fishing sector "wields considerable political power in some EU countries". There, on the other hand, other countries, not mentioned by Reuters, who have no fishing sectors to speak of, and yet they, too, will have a say in the matter.
We shall, of course, follow the shenanigans around the adoption of the various proposals but two points need to be made. One is that the notion of a single fisheries policy for such a wide area and one, furthermore, that involves the agreement of countries who have nothing at stake, is not a viable proposition.
Secondly, we are still waiting to see whether the real CFP of equal access will kick in in 2012 or whether there will be yet more derogations.