Ministers flounder newly reformed EU fishing rules

Press release - October 13, 2014
Brussels - Today’s decision by the EU Fisheries Council on fishing quotas in the Baltic Sea violates the EU’s agreed objective of halting the overexploitation of stocks by 2015, said Greenpeace.

Saskia Richartz, Greenpeace EU oceans policy director said: “It is a scandal that ministers are still endorsing overfishing on depleted  stocks, including cod. This will only prolong the degradation of the environment and the socio-economic hardship of fishermen. In the coming days, ministers must at least confirm publicly that, when allocating national quotas, they will give priority to fishermen who catch fish most selectively and with the smallest environmental impact".

For the first time, the decisions on total allowable catches fall under the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) [1]. The new CFP requires the EU to lower its fishing pressure by the start of next year (2015) to levels below the so-called FMSY mortality rate – i.e. a fishing mortality rate below the Maximum Sustainable Yield. Any exceptions must be justified on the basis that meeting the 2015 deadline “would seriously jeopardise the social and economic sustainability of the fleets involved” [2], and ministers should provide appropriate evidence to support this justification. However, the Council failed to give any reason for its decision to continue overfishing for several Baltic stocks, including both Baltic cod stocks.

Contact:
Saskia Richartz, Greenpeace EU oceans policy director: +32 (0)2 274 1902,
Greenpeace press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, pressdesk.eu@greenpeace.org

Notes to Editors:
[1] The reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is a new basic set of rules governing European fisheries which entered into force in January 2014.  It requires the EU to lower its fishing pressure by the start of next year (2015) to levels below the so-called FMSY mortality rate – i.e. a fishing mortality rate below the Maximum Sustainable Yield. It also requires that, when allocating national quotas, EU governments give priority to fishermen who catch fish most selectively and with the smallest environmental impact.

[2] The 2015 deadline may only be deferred in exceptional cases. Any exceptions must be justified on the basis that meeting the 2015 deadline “would seriously jeopardise the social and economic sustainability of the fleets involved” [2], and ministers should provide appropriate evidence to support this justification. “After 2015, those rates should be achieved as soon as possible and in any event no later than 2020.”


Our briefing "Three months to phase overfishing - Media briefing on upcoming decisions on 2015/2016 fishing limits" is available at http://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/en/Publications/2014/Three-months-to-phase-out-overfishing-/

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