EU adopts new law to track fishing vessels

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EU lawmakers adopted revamped rules for fishing vessels on Tuesday, requiring them to install tracking devices and, for bigger ships with a spotty record, cameras to monitor their catches.

The new measures also harmonize how many vessels violating the rules can be fined, basing it on the value of the catch in their hold rather than the disparate sanctions previously applied by different EU countries.

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The updated fisheries control legislation has to get final approval from member states before being published in the European Union’s administrative gazette and coming into force 20 days later.

Small-scale fishing fleets will have four years to come into compliance, while certain small fishing vessels may have a grace period of up to 2030.

MEPs voted 438 to 146 to adopt the new law, which the WWF environmental campaigning organization hailed as “the most significant development in EU fisheries policy for a decade”.

Putting cameras on vessels with a record of infringements, along with digital logbooks and landing documents and better data on recreational fishers, “will propel EU fishing practices and EU standards for seafood sold in its market into a far more sustainable reality,” it said in a statement.

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