Ministers set course for another decade of overfishing

Press release - June 13, 2012
EU fisheries ministers meeting in Luxembourg have backed a damaging common approach to the reform of EU fishing rules that could allow overfishing to continue for at least another decade, said Greenpeace.


Commenting on the outcome, Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director Saskia Richartz said: “After decades of bad fisheries management that has devastated fish stocks, ministers are failing miserably on their promise of an overhaul of EU fisheries management. They want to leave reform hanging in the balance, condemning fish and fishermen to another decade of overfishing and stock decline, with dire consequences for species like cod, hake and tuna. The European Parliament must now step into the reform process to make ministers come to their senses.”

Sustainable fishing can only flourish with healthy numbers of fish in the sea, but ministers have delayed action to reduce fishing pressure until as late as 2020. This will further deplete stocks, continuing to make fishermen dependent on subsidies.

The continued rate of overfishing is also likely to cause more discarding, the controversial practice of throwing unwanted fish overboard.

“Instead of backing a blanket ban on discards as soon as possible, ministers want to dither and to pick and choose which fish species the ban should apply to. Discarding will not stop unless fishermen use more selective gear and fish more sustainably. The best way to stop discards is to reward fishermen who fish sustainably and phase out destructive, indiscriminate industrial fishing, which causes most discards. This is something ministers have completely failed to do,” added Richartz.

The Parliament’s fisheries committee will vote on the European Commission’s proposals for reform in October, while a plenary vote is expected in November.

Saskia Richartz – Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director: +32 (0)495 290028,
Greenpeace EU pressdesk: +32 (0)2 2741911,

For video footage of Greenpeace’s action at the EU Fisheries Council in Luxembourg on Tuesday:
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