Buying a home by age 35 is worth it now –…

first_imgFILE- In this Jan. 4, 2019, file photo people walk by a real estate office in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood. Even if it’s a stretch now, buying your first home by age 35 can mean more wealth in retirement. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)Nicole Christianson, a 26-year-old sales rep, was tired of writing big checks for tiny apartments. And she wanted to do more with her cash than stash it in a savings account.One night, she and her husband Thure, 28, took a look at their newly combined finances and uncovered a pleasant surprise: Together, they had saved enough for a 5 percent down payment on the affordable fixer-upper right across the street from their Milwaukee apartment. They closed in December 2017, and Nicole Christianson says they’re happy to finally be “making something that’s ours.”MILLENNIALS’ HOMEOWNERSHIP GOALSMany in Christianson’s age group are chasing that feeling. Eighty-two percent of young adults say owning a home is a priority, according to NerdWallet’s 2018 Home Buyer Report. If they can make it happen, most will be first-time homebuyers , but that ‘if’ looms large.Millennials (those born from 1981 to 1997) are buying houses at lower rates than when previous generations were the same age, and it’s not hard to see why. Saving up for a down payment and qualifying for a mortgage can feel like pipe dreams for young adults grappling with student debt, underemployment and high rent costs.Still, millennials are a optimistic lot, and research shows there are big rewards in store for those who find a way to buy their first home sooner rather than later.HOW BUYING YOUNG CAN PAY OFF LATEROf today’s older adults, those who bought their first home from ages 25 to 34 accumulated the most housing wealth by their 60s — a median of around $150,000, according to a report by the Urban Institute , a nonprofit research organization.In contrast, the median housing wealth for those in their early 60s who bought later (ages 35 to 44), was about half as much, at $76,000. Homeowners who bought after they were 45 had about $44,000 in housing wealth by their 60s.“Housing wealth” is another term for equity, which is the difference between the home’s market value and an owner’s mortgage balance. Equity becomes profit when a home is sold or refinanced, and it’s more likely to grow the longer one owns the home.The takeaway for millennials? Buy a home as early as you can feasibly do so, says Laurie Goodman, vice president of housing finance policy at the Urban Institute.Paying rent to yourself is a top perk of homeownership, Goodman says. “It’s also forced savings in the sense that you’re paying down a mortgage each month. Yes, you could put away the same amount of money in a savings plan, but people don’t.”Thinking about homeownership as part of retirement planning is important for millennials, says Jung Hyun Choi, a research associate at the Urban Institute.“People are living longer and job stability has declined,” she says. These circumstances make housing wealth even more essential.LOANS AND PROGRAMS THAT BOOST AFFORDABILITYCertain mortgage options can reduce the upfront costs of buying a home, allowing younger borrowers to qualify with far less than the traditional 20 percent down payment.“We wanted to go with a VA lender,” says Marissa Avila, 33, a self-employed small-business consultant in Norfolk, Virginia. Her husband Greg, 36, is in the Navy, so they were eligible for a loan guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA loan helped the Avilas buy their colonial-style house with no down payment.Low down payment loans aren’t just for borrowers in uniform: Some conventional loans require just 3 percent down, the minimum for a Federal Housing Administration mortgage is 3.5 percent and eligible borrowers can get a Department of Agriculture, or USDA, loan with nothing down.Goodman recommends first-time homebuyers investigate down payment assistance programs. State housing agencies often offer mortgage, down payment and closing-cost assistance. These programs may allow millennials to buy a home sooner than if they try to build savings, she says.Talking to a lender can be a good first step if you’re not sure that you’re ready, Avila says.“The worst that someone is going to say is ‘No, you need to save a little bit more money,’ and then you know where you stand,” she says. “It’s so much easier once you finally start that conversation.”This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Beth Buczynski is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: Twitter: @bethbuczynski.RELATED LINKS:NerdWallet: 17 tips for first-time home buyers Institute report read more

Atlanta Falcons set their depth chart

first_imgHere is the rest of the roster depth chart:OFFENSEWR 11 Julio Jones, 85 Leonard Hankerson, 87 Marquez Clark, 19 Carlton MitchellLT 70 Jake Matthews, 79 Tyler Polumbus, 77 Matt Huffer, 74 Eric Lefeld, 76 Lamar HolmesLG 68 Mike Person, 66 Peter Konz, 67 Adam ReplogleC 61 Joe Hawley, 62 James Stone, 63 Valerian Ume-EzeokeRG 65 Chris Chester, 75 Jon Asamoah, 64 Jared SmithRT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 72 Jake Rodgers, 76 DeMarcus Love, 69 Pierce BurtonTE 83 Jacob Tamme, 81 Tony Moeaki, 80 Levine Toilolo, 82 Mickey Shuler, 86 DJ TialaveaWR 84 Roddy White, 17 Devin Hester, 16 Justin Hardy, 14 Eric Weems, 15 Nick Williams, 89 Bernard ReedyQB 2 Matt Ryan, 13 TJ Yates, 12 Sean RenfreeRB 24 Devonta Freeman, 26 Tevin Coleman, 35 Antone Smith, 33 Terron Ward ,34 Jerome Smith, 38 Michael FordFB 42 Patrick DiMarco, 39 Collin MooneyDEFENSEDE 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 71 Kroy Biermann, 93 Malliciah Goodman, 90 Stansly MapongaDT 77 Ra’Shede Hageman, 95 Jonathan Babineaux, 97 Grady Jarrettm 65 Warren HerringNT 96 Paul Soliai, 74 Joey Mbum 92 Ricky Heimuli, 91 Derrick HopkinsDE 94 Tyson Jackson, 99 Adrian Clayborn, 98 Cliff Matthews, 79 Sam MeredithLB 52 Justin Durant, 59 Joplo Bartu, 51 Marquis Spruill, 49 Derek AkunneLB 55 Paul Worrilow, 54 Nate Stupar, 53 Allen BradfordLB 56 Brooks Reed, 50 O’Brien Schofield, 41 Tyler Starr, 46 Boris AnyamaCB 23 Robert Alford, 32 Jalen Collins, 27 Kevin White, 40 Jonathon MincyCB 21 Desmond Trufant, 20 Phillip Adams, 22 Dezmen Southward, 28 Akeem KingS 37 Ricardo Allen, 29 Sean Baker, 48 Robenson Therezie, 43 Terell FloydS 25 Wiliam Moore, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 30 Charles Godfrey, 45 Damian ParmsSPECIALISTSK 3 Matt BryantKO 5 Matt BosherP 5 Matt BosherKR 17 Devin Hester, 14 Eric WeemsPR 17 Devin Hester, 14 Eric WeemsLS 47 Josh HarrisH 5 Matt BosherPhotos: Instagram FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – When the Atlanta Falcons take the field for the first time ion the 2015 season against the against the Tennessee Titans in a pre-season game on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Georgia Dome, They will do so with a radically different look from the previous year. It will also be the inaugural season under first-year head coach Dan Quinn.Check out the changes: Former starting tight end Levine Toilol is now listed as the No. 3 tight end behind Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki.Chris Chester has earned the starting guard position over Jon Asamoah. Rookie defensive end/linebacker Vic Beasley is listed as the starter at defensive end.last_img read more

Soil recovery in the fire aftermath

first_imgPRECEDE The Bunyip State Park bushfires may have occurred seven months ago, but the aftermath is still taking its toll…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

WOFIM Encourages Local Farmers

first_imgThe executive director of Young Liberian Women Organization for Improvement (WOFIM), Madam Kona Kollie, has called on local farmers in the country to take agriculture serious.Madam Kollie made the call recently in Lofa County, when she launched a-15 acre corn project in Yandohun Town, Kolahun District.According to her, “The only way the country’s economy will grow is when everyone puts their attention on the sector.”She said agriculture is the backbone of the economy of any country, which provides food and raw materials as well as employment opportunities for people.Madam Kollie told the gathering that her dream is to expand the project in all 15 counties to encourage women and other farmers.“We have another 50 acres of cassava project in Gbarpolu County and sooner or later, we will be going to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County to launch it,” she disclosed.She said her organization is engaged in skills training mainly for women.Serving as a launcher, Vice President Joseph Boakai thanked Madam Kollie for the project and urged Liberians to engage the soil in producing food for the people.Veep Boakai pledged his support and promised to open a vocational institute that will help people gain knowledge in agriculture.Meanwhile, the president of the Agriculture Union Network, Rep. Josephine Francis acknowledged the effort of Madam Kollie and called on other Liberians to emulate her good example.The Montserrado County female lawmaker also donated several agriculture materials, including shovels and cutlasses for the smooth implementation of the project.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

The Optics of Politics: Resurgence of an Age-old Rivalry?

first_imgLiberians across the political spectrum have begun to sift, dissect and draw conclusions that the old political rivalry between President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her onetime strong ally, Cllr. Varney G. Sherman, have continued to fester, shattering the foundation of the Unity Party (UP).Bitter BeginningsAccording to political pundits, the partisan bitterness between President Sirleaf and the Grand Cape Mount County Senator and UP Chairman Varney Sherman started as far back as 1997 during the national convention of the then Liberia Action Party. Sirleaf had resigned her post as Director General of the Africa Bureau of the United Nations Development Program in New York in order to return home and run for president during the presidential elections that year. She intended to seek the endorsement of the LAP, of which she was a founding member in1985.The election of the standard bearer had been scheduled to take place at the Centennial Pavilion in the afternoon. But when it became clear that Sirleaf was arriving that afternoon to throw her hat in the race, the leadership decided to hold the convention in the morning. So by the time she reached the LAP convention hall, the party had already that morning elected Cletus Wotorson as standard bearer.Past accounts reveal that prior to the arrival of candidate Sirleaf for the slated LAP national convention, political manipulations in the rank and file of the party further led to Sirleaf’s departure.‘Greener Pastures’She contended that the political process was characterized by undemocratic manipulations and outright stage managed bureaucratic bottlenecks.That is when she ran to the Unity Party, founded by the late Edward B. Kesselly in 1985. UP embraced her and elected her as its standard bearer, enabling her to participate in the 1997 elections. In that election, she came second to Charles Taylor, who won by a wide margin.The next contest for Sirleaf was the race for the chairmanship of the National Transitional Government of Liberia, which climaxed the peace talks in Accra, Ghana. Interested in that position, there she encountered Cllr. Varney Sherman, and the two again clashed.In that election, Cllr. Sherman threw his weight behind the LAP Chairman, Charles Gyude Bryant, who won that election and became Chair of the National Transitional Government.But perhaps the conflict that climaxed the rivalry between the two Harvard graduates came in the 2005 presidential elections, which both Sirleaf and Sherman contested.More Bad BloodSirleaf emerged second in the first round, and Cllr. Sherman threw his support behind George Weah’s Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) in the runoff — a move that surprised most people. How could a Harvard-trained lawyer endorse for the presidency of Liberia a man who had barely an eighth grade education, against a woman who was not only a Harvard graduate but who had attained extensive national and international experience working for the World Bank, Equator Bank, Citibank and the United Nations? That, perhaps more than anything else, added further poison to the already bad blood between the two politicians.Sirleaf eventually won the 2005 presidential contest and went on to secure her second term in 2011.It is widely rumored that in the 2014 senatorial elections, the UP Chairman, adding insult to injury, adamantly refused to give the Madame Sirleaf’s son, Robert, the UP’s backing of his bid against CDC’s George Weah for the Montserrado seat.Reliable sources have intimated that even recent attempts by VP Boakai to mediate between the two failed to diffuse the raging animosity.‘Finish Varney?’Some say the President is on the warpath to “finish Varney.” If such is her intent, the recent damning allegations by Global Witness (GW) seem to provide the perfect ammunition. Another rumour has it that the President has met privately with each Associate Justice to ensure that Sherman and others caught in the GW alleged bribery scam do not get away with it.But anyone who knows the consummate politician and the astute lawyer can bet that neither will stand down.So much rancour between the two leaves little room for President Sirleaf and Cllr. Sherman to meet at the golden table of compromise in the interest of party unity, let alone political and economic discussion and agreement on pressing issues of national importance.The much publicized Global Witness report, ‘The Deceivers’, has all but severed the relationship between the two distinguished Unity Party leaders, throwing their organization into chaos.The comprehensive GW report has implicated other top Liberian government officials including House Speaker Alex Tyler.The report further linked the Sherman and Sherman Law Firm of Cllr. Sherman and partners to the allegations of bribery to give Sable Mining an advantage in their negotiations with the Liberian government to obtain a concession agreement to operate Mount Wologizi in Lofa County.Politically and from all indications, the Unity Party and its many stalwarts are sailing over troubled waters as their Chairman and Standard Bearer seem not to agree on the bitter pills to curb corruption and nepotism that have engulfed the nation.Public ViewA team of Daily Observer reporters went out to interview Liberiansin Monrovia and its environs on the fuss between President Sirleaf and Cllr. Varney Sherman.The Chairman of the Northern Alliance Youth Congress of Liberia (NAYCOL), Vamba Kanneh, noted that he foresees more conflicts between President Sirleaf and Cllr. Sherman if the Global Witness report is not channelled through the legal process.Kanneh pointed out that the reaction from a cross-section of citizens and residents of Grand Cape Mount County speaks volumes on the anger and disenchantment about the country’s legal system.He urged the government’s legal representatives to work out a concrete legal framework to ensure the prosecution of all those connected to the Global Witness report.In a mobile phone interview, Voinjama District youth activist Darlington B. Mulbah stressed the need for Liberia to assemble a legal team that will meticulously and legally scrutinize the Global Witness report.He also underscored the need for the Liberian government to work out the modalities to ensure the timely prosecution of all past and present corruption and financial malpractice cases in the country.“I think there should not be selective justice. Fellow Liberians linked to eating the Liberian people’s money should be brought to justice through the legal process,” Mulbah argued.A Monrovia-based political commentator, Francis B. Yonton, recommended that all past indicted Liberian government officials should be prosecuted and, if found guilty, should be convicted and serve the required jail sentences.The OpticsMost people intently following the events of the past few days climaxed by the arrest and indictment of Sen. Sherman, Speaker Alex Tyler and others are left wondering how the GW allegations involving US$950,000 can cause those involved to be so swiftly brought before the law when allegations against the President’s son, Robert, for the disappearance of US$31 million from NOCAL’s coffers go ignored.But at this juncture in the saga of Sirleaf versus Sherman via Global Witness, Sherman succeeded in wresting the case from the President’s Task Force headed by Cllr. Fonati Koffa, a disbarred lawyer and ex-convict from the United States, and submitting himself instead to the court of law.Cllr. Koffa recently stepped away from the chairmanship of the opposition Liberty Party to accept an appointment by President Sirleaf as Minister of State Without Portfolio. Here again, the optics suggest an intentional axe to grind when a former chairman of an opposition party is brought into the establishment and tasked with the job of investigating the sitting chairman of the ruling party.On the bright side, Sherman and Koffa have much in common. Both men are lawyers, have served as party chairmen, both been accused of financial crimes (with one convicted). Now, they are both gladiators in a duel that resembles the parable of the pot and the tea kettle.“You can’t threaten fish with water,” Sherman said recently, having succeeded in reaching the safety of the court before Koffa could reach him. And with the President’s Special Task Force more or less in the dust, LACC will assume its rightful role in the Global Witness corruption investigation in collaboration with the court system.Whether or not Sherman will get away this time is anyone’s guess. But the Sirleaf-Sherman rivalry, by all indications, is far from over.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Constitutional requirements have been honoured

first_imgDear Editor,Following the successful passage of the No-Confidence Motion on December 21, 2018, the following salient processes should have been set in motion in accordance with Article 106 (6) and (7).1. The President and Cabinet should resign2. Parliament should dissolve3. The President sets a date for an early electionTo date, none of the above constitutional requirements has been honoured. It has been eight (8) months on and not a single aspect of the above matters as required by law has been settled. What we have been witnessing is an eddying cycle of nonsensical legal opinions by the PNC, which in essence amounts to an inordinate delay in the holding of General and Regional Elections.It took billions of dollars of Granger’s lunacy in that vain attempt to evade those three main critical issues. This President will go down in history as the one who feared and, should I say, is mortified by the thought of facing the people in an election! Granger is most fearful of facing the electorate.The latest in this con game of his is that GECOM is the body designated to set a date for elections, he is shifting the blame hence breaking the law, where the setting of a date for elections is concerned.The calling of election is the role of the President, not GECOM, period, end of discussion! The Granger Administration knows this but is only trying to complicate the issue, but there is no complication in its interpretation.The idea of having a House-to-House Registration and the “sanitising” of the voters’ list is just another deception meant to break the new deadline date of September 18 set by the CCJ. What they call sanitising of the voters’ list can easily be effected in the Claims and Objections period when all the relevant parties, institutions, and what have you, would be there to ensure that those who should be on the list are on the list while those who are deceased would be taken off by the official records furnished by the GRO.  This is a simple aboveboard process which, for the most part, can be done in a month’s time, not the 20-month unilateral NRR process they are conducting at the present time.Now, Article 106 (6) and (7) speaks to the President setting a date for election and that is not a carte blanc situation, wherein the President runs away with the idea that he can go on forever without setting a date, that is the erroneous assumption this Government is operating under, wherein he thinks he can do as he pleases, far from it.  The President has 90 days or 3 months in which he must call elections. That is pellucid! Mark you well that should have been done in the first instance, which Granger, in his arsenal of tricks, allowed to expire on March 21, 2019, so, in its truest sense, this Granger Government is illegal.What is very clear is that this Government is hell-bent on a rule by force, breaking every law as it goes along, but I must caution them that this is not going to happen. The Opposition has by September 18 to approach the Commonwealth as well as the United Nations to intervene in this illegal game of sorts carried out by the Granger cabal and bring an end to it all. We are not far from that stage of things.Respectfully,Neil  Adamslast_img read more

Liverpool team news: Henderson OUT? Predicted XI to face Sunderland

first_img 11 11 7. James Milner (left-back) 11 17. Ragnar Klavan (centre-back) Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is a doubt to face his former club Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.The midfielder was forced off midway through the second half of Saturday’s win over Manchester City with a heel problem, although it is not the same issue which has troubled the England international for the last 12 months.READ MORE: Liverpool FC news: Jurgen Klopp confirms ‘pain in the heel’ for Jordan HendersonOptions for manager Jurgen Klopp include returning Adam Lallana to a deeper role and restoring Divock Origi to the starting line-up, or bringing in Lucas Leiva as the deep-lying midfielder. The clash will be Sadio Mane’s last before he heads off to the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.A win would put the Merseysiders within three points of leaders Chelsea, who play Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.They face a Sunderland side 18th in the table and desperate for points, as David Moyes’ Black Cats look to start 2017 with a victory.Who will start for Liverpool at the Stadium of Light? In their preferred 4-3-3 formation, click the right arrow, above, to see our predicted XI in squad number order… 23. Emre Can (midfield) 27. Divock Origi (forward) 5. Georginio Wijnaldum (midfield) 11. Roberto Firmino (left forward) 11 11 22. Simon Mignolet (goalkeeper) 2. Nathaniel Clyne (right-back) – click the right arrow, above, to see Liverpool’s predicted XI (4-3-3) in squad number order… 19. Sadio Mane (right forward) 11 11 6. Dejan Lovren (centre-back) 11 11 20. Adam Lallana (midfield) 11 11last_img read more

Top 10 Social Media Mistakes Made by Supervisors

first_imgWe often hear that our supervisors are our eyes and ears in helping to ensure legal compliance and minimize risk.  This is true when it comes to social media, but only if supervisors receive training on what to do and what not to do.  The do’s and don’ts of social media are not always intuitive. Here are ten of the more common mistakes that supervisors make in the absence of adequate training:Posting a job opportunity without including the appropriate EEO and/or AA tag line. A posting is an advertisement for legal purposes.Failing to retain a posting about job openings in accordance with the employer’s document retention guidelines (which often go beyond the legal minimum). Expect this to be a hot litigation issue where the posting is not retained.Screening social media sites in deciding whom to interview. When this occurs, the supervisor will acquire EEO-related information that he or she may unconsciously and improperly consider, or at least be perceived as considering.  If screening is to be done, it should be done on a consistent basis late in the process by HR.  For more information on how to minimize the legal risks of screening by HR and still obtain the potential business benefits, see the Legal Trends column in the September edition of HRMagazine.Friending a subordinate or someone over whom the supervisor has direct or indirect supervisory or institutional authority. The supervisor may learn more about the personal life of a “friend” than if she were to look into their medicine cabinet.  [That is not a recommended alternative].  Endorsing a former employee who was let go for problems with performance, attendance or conduct.  The endorsement later may be argued to be evidence of pre-text if a discrimination claim is filing.  That is, the endorsement is inconsistent with the true reason for the termination.  Pretext alone wins cases!Linking In only or primarily with those who are “like” the supervisor. Social media is form of social inclusion and social inclusion is form of business inclusion.  Linking In only or primarily with subordinates who share a supervisor’s EEO profile may be evidence of bias in addition to sending a message of exclusion even if no claim is filed. On this issue, you may want to check your own connections, too!Encouraging employees to promote the company’s products or services without making sure they are properly paid.  A protocol needs to be developed to limit when non-exempt employees can engage in promotional activities, and a vehicle to ensure they are properly paid.  Note: when engaging in promotional posting — that is, endorsing (broadly defined) the company’s products or services — the employee must state he or she is employed by (or otherwise affiliated with) the company. Otherwise, prepare to do the FTC tango.Engaging in personal social media without making clear it is not on behalf of the employer. Some supervisors actually list the employer from which they are distancing themselves. Ouch! Through SEO you get the opposite result of what you intend. Google the employer and that blog pops up!Failing to report to H.R. allegations or evidence of wrong doing referenced on social media by employees of the company. To see and ignore is to condone. For example, supervisors should report to HR complaints by employees of gender bias as well as postings of racist rants by an employee.Disciplining/terminating employees for disparaging postings which are protected as concerted activity under the NLRA.  When discovering a disparaging posting, supervisors should neither take corrective action nor ignore. Instead, they should report the posting to HR so that HR, often with counsel, can determine if the posting is protected by the NLRA (or some other law). For more guidance on whether a posting is protected, take two aspirin and read Five Categories of Content for Supervisory Personnel.Unless your supervisors have the ability to intuit all of the above issues (and more), they need training on the legal and practical issues associated with social media and employment.   If you happen to have a supervisor who can intuit their way through the social media maze without training, please ask them to give me a call.   I want to identify, recreate and patent their intuit gene.This blog should not be construed as legal advice, as pertaining to specific factual situations or as establishing an attorney-client relationship.Follow me on Twitter at:  @Jonathan_HR_Lawlast_img read more

Off-Duty Police Officer Fires Shot at Shoplifting Suspects

first_imgPolice in Des Peres, Missouri, are looking for two suspected shoplifters who assaulted a store a manager at the West County Center on Tuesday. Authorities responded to West County Center just after 12:40 PM Tuesday after receiving calls of a shot fired. They learned one shot had been fired in the garage at the mall.Police from the Des Peres Department of Public Safety were initially investigating if the shooting was accidental in nature. However, police soon learned an off-duty officer from another jurisdiction fired the shot.The off-duty officer told police he witnessed the shoplifting and assault of the store manager and attempted to apprehend the two suspects. The off-duty officer identified himself as law enforcement and instructed the pair to stop. The suspects ran to the I-270 parking garage and the off-duty officer again identified himself. The suspects got into a small black car and attempted to speed off. The off-duty officer pulled out his gun and fired a single… Fox2 Now- Sponsor – Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

European Parliament Approves Ambitious Fisheries Reform

first_imgNet gain? Supporters say new European fishing policy could help overfished stocks recover. Above, a crab boat works the North Sea. The European Union is inching closer to a radical overhaul of its fisheries policy, aiming to curb overfishing. In Strasbourg, France, yesterday, the European Parliament approved a plan to reform the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) by a 502-to-137 vote. The plan aims to improve the much-criticized CFP, last reviewed in 2002, by capping catches at sustainable levels, banning discards of unwanted species, and making better use of scientific data for long-term planning. According to the European Commission, 68% of the European Union’s stocks are overfished. The vote—which is still just a step toward final adoption of the new policies—represents a “momentous shift” away from overfishing, the environmental group Greenpeace said in a statement. The World Wide Fund for Nature (called the World Wildlife Fund in the United States) praised the vote as a “truly exceptional” event. If fully adopted, the rules will allow fish stocks to “recover by 2020, enabling us to take 15 million tons more fish and create 37,000 new jobs,” predicted Ulrike Rodust, a German member of the Parliament who was responsible for revising and offering a legislative proposal originally developed by the European Commission in July 2011. Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*) Under the revamped rules, starting in 2015 regulators would set catch limits using a data-driven standard known as maximum sustainable yield (MSY). This means that fishermen would not be able to catch more than a fish stock can reproduce in a given year. Although MSY is commonly used in fisheries regulation in the United States, Europe has been slower to adopt it. Europêche, a lobby group for European fishing companies, says that the 2015 target is too rigid, and it should be postponed to 2020. But Michel Kaiser, a marine conservation ecologist at Bangor University in the United Kingdom, believes that MSY is the right target to adopt, although it can be technically difficult to use. “It’s very difficult to ever have all your stocks exploited at MSY,” Kaiser tells ScienceInsider. That’s because fishing boats often catch more than one species in their nets. So, if cod stocks are low but haddock stocks are high in the same waters, for example, fishers may have to stop catching both species to protect the cod. Scientists will have an important part to play in helping the industry collect reliable data, Kaiser says. While the industry is willing to collect data, for instance, “the scientific community needs to provide protocols so that the information is valid.” His own university has carried out a joint scientific project with the Welsh fishing industry, funded by the European Fisheries Fund. The new plan also calls for banning fish discards starting in 2014, another move that the industry dismissed as “rushed.” At present, about one-quarter of fish caught in the European Union is thrown back at sea because fishers cannot sell them; most of these unwanted fish die. Green groups generally support the ban, but Kaiser says a ban could be difficult to police and will require changes along the whole fishing supply chain. “Otherwise, the [excess] fish will end up in a landfill, and nobody would think that’s a good outcome.” In another major change, the plan calls for the introduction of multiyear fish stock management plans in a bid to avoid yearly haggling between national governments over fishing quotas. These plans would be based on “more reliable and accurate scientific data,” the Parliament states. That reform opens the way to a stronger role for scientific advisory bodies such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, observers say. And if member states don’t collect and publicize the data needed to create these plans, the European Union could punish them by withdrawing fisheries funding, says Saskia Richartz, E.U. fisheries policy director at Greenpeace in Brussels. The reform plan still has to be discussed with governments from the European Union’s 27 member states. If they reach an agreement by the end of June, the plan could come into force next year. Countries that have so far opposed the reform include Spain and France-two of the top four fishing nations in the European Union-according to Greenpeace. But the group adds that support for reform is growing, and that these governments “will find it increasingly hard to act as proxies for a handful of powerful companies, with no concern for the long-term wellbeing of the oceans or the majority of fishermen.” Wikimedia last_img read more