The EU Common Fisheries Policy reform package was approved by the European Parliament on Tuesday in its full session in StrAsbourg.
The new legislation should allow for more sustainable fishing and take effect on time, at the start of 2014, said an EP press release.
"The reform will tackle the biggest problem of the Common Fisheries Policy, which is continued overfishing. The Council of the EU will now be obliged to act in a sustainable way when negotiating fishing quotas", said rapporteur of the report Ulrike Rodust.
Fishermen will have to respect the "maximum sustainable yield", i.e. catch no more than a given stock can reproduce in a given year. The aim is to restore and maintain fish stocks.
Discards - fish thrown back, usually because they are of an unwanted species or size - account for almost a quarter of total EU catches. Most of the discarded species die.
To end this wasteful practice, which is currently not forbidden, fishing vessels will have to land at least 95 percent of all catches in accordance with a schedule of specific dates for different fisheries, starting gradually from 2015.
Landed catches of fish that are undersized, for example, would be restricted to uses other than human consumption.
The sustainability principle will henceforth apply to EU vessels fishing outside EU waters, so that EU fishermen will be able to take only surplus fish from third countries' territorial waters