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Overfishing has European Parliament step into action

The EU Parliament has given its backing for a fundamental reform of fishing practices in the 27-member bloc. It has paved the way for a halt to the overfishing that has reduced most of the stocks in recent decades.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted in favor of stopping large-scale overfishing in the EU's Atlantic and Mediterranean waters.

Legislators pushed for a drastic reform of fishing policy, seeking to end decades of unsustainable practices that have decimated many of the stocks.

EU fisheries chief Maria Damanaki welcomed the outcome of the vote and spoke of a "vital breakthrough" on the path to implementing an ambitious reform project.

Tough talks ahead

According to the EU executive, some 70 percent of all stocks are currently overfished, with Denmark, Spain, Britain and France having contributed most to the unfavorable development.

The Strasbourg-based parliament is now facing months of negotiations with EU member states to secure a final agreement, but officials insisted that Wednesday's vote already marked a sea change after decades of mismanagement.

The German Fisheries Association welcomed the initiative, noting that the trimming down of fleet capacities in recent years had already helped reduce the practice in the northeastern parts of the Atlantic.

hg/mkg   (AP, dpa)