Analysis of Rapporteur Gabriel Mato’s compromise proposal

Spanish MEP Gabriel Mato is at it again. By proposing an unacceptable compromise — overly complexified by many provisions as useless as dangerous — the Rapporteur of the ‘Technical measures’ regulation violates the mandate that was clearly defined by the European Parliament during its plenary session of 16 January 2018.

> On 16 January 2018, the Parliament voted for a full a definitive ban on electric fishing. Read our advocacy document to understand why this decision was crucial

Based on the scandalous proposal recently put forward by the EU Council — thus perpetuating its main negative points — but that was fortunately rejected on 4 October, this new compromise proposal adds even more legal uncertainty and dubious provisions. It gives in to the Netherlands, but also to the European Commission, which still considers electric fishing as an innovative and formidable fishing method.

In particular, the draft compromise produced by Mr Mato:

  • Still authorizes each Member State to equip up to 5% of its beam trawl fleets;
  • Legitimizes the 70 illegal Dutch licenses (beyond the 5% legal ceiling) until 31 December 2021, although 42 of them are due to expire in February 2019;
  • Suggests a roadmap to allow electric fishing in all European waters despite the advertised ban;
  • Continues to instrumentalize science, althouh the Dutch have fooled the whole Europe with this excuse for over ten years. Read our analysis on the instrumentalisation of science

> Read our detailed analysis of the draft compromise

We need clarity and strength

As a conclusion, this new proposal by MEP Gabriel Mato clearly demonstrates the unspoken will by some actors (European Commission, the Netherlands, industrial fishers etc.) to continue electric fishing, in blatant defiance of last January’s democratic and informed decision by the European Parliament. The opacity surrounding this process also illustrates how undemocratic Trilogue negotiations are, and how Member States and industrials can negotiate behind closed doors and against the general interest.

This draft compromise is unacceptable and should be entirely reworded so as to follow the clear European Parliament’s mandate. The next version must not be based on the Council’s proposal but on that of the Parliament: a full and definitive ban on electric fishing.

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