Widespread overcapacity in the EU fishing fleet has led to 70 percent of European fish stocks being fished above maximum sustainable yield, with untold damage done to global fish stocks where the EU is also active. Without urgent change, only eight of 136 northern European stocks will be healthy by 2022. Increases in aquaculture production are contributing further to environmental damage, and may undermine fish stock health as demand for fishmeal rises.
EU citizens are paying the price several times over. Excess fishing pressure hasalready cost billions of Euro per year in lost potential income and tax exemptions. EU taxpayers are additionally paying approximately 1.9 billion Euro in EU and national aid each year, which is fuelling overcapacity and overfishing and thus bringing us closer to marine ecosystem collapse.
Together, the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and preparations for a new EU budget for 2014–2020 provide the opportunity for the EU to regain its global environmental leadership role in eliminating harmful subsidies, putting an end tothe most damaging ones, and redirecting remaining funds towards rebuilding and supporting healthier ecosystems.