Europe - 9 out of 10 fish stocks threatened

A cage full of bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean. Overfishing has driven the magnificent species close to commercial extinction.

 

The European Union governs the largest maritime zone in the world and, shamefully, one of the most degraded on the planet. After four decades of EU fisheries policies, nine out of ten fish stocks are overfished. Current fisheries management fails to protect and preserve both marine biodiversity and the people who depend on it.

Despite its many reforms, the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has failed to ensure environmentally and economically sustainable fisheries. This is largely the result of bad political decision-making that favours the short-term economic interests of the fishing industry over science-based governance and sustainability, problems highlighted in a reflection paper prepared for the European Commission.

The ongoing reform of the CFP presents the EU with a once-in-a-decade opportunity, and possibly a last chance, to reverse these trends. It must stop overfishing, recover the current poor state of fish populations to healthy levels and complete the establishment of national networks of marine reserves. 

Greenpeace calls on all EU governments to:

  • reduce their excessive fishing fleet capacity and end destructive and wasteful fishing practices;
  • increase the area that is protected as marine reserves to 40%;
  • make scientifically recommended catch levels a minimum requirement;
  • ensure transparency in decision-making and data-handling as well as traceability for seafood products.

Failing fisheries come at a high price. The World Bank recently calculated that failing fisheries management is costing the world around $50 billion annually and the UN Green Economy report warns that – under business as usual scenarios – the world’s fisheries will have been reduced to a third of their 1970’s levels by 2050. It therefore urges policy makers to accelerate investments in the restoration of ecosystems.

Without fish there can be no fishing. Many fishermen already operate at a loss and more than half the seafood on the European market has to be imported. The CFP reform may be our last chance to protect our seas so future generations can enjoy their benefits.

The latest updates

 

Cracking down on illegal and destructive fishing

Blog entry by Celia Ojeda Martinez and Ariana Densham | March 23, 2015

Between  €9 - €23bn worldwide is lost every year to illegal fishing , much of it driven by organized crime. Before legislation came into force in 2011, an estimated €1.1bn worth of illegal fishing products was imported into the EU. ...

Why Europe's low impact fishermen should get more quotas

Blog entry by Nina Thuellen | January 27, 2015

During the last five years, hundreds of thousands of you joined us in calling on Europe's politicians to both protect our seas from overfishing and to create new laws that support fair and sustainable fishing. And together, we did...

High seas robbery

Blog entry by Karli Thomas, Elvira Jiménez | January 16, 2015

Finding illegal fishing vessels in the vast expanse of the Southern Ocean – over 20 million square kilometres of deep, rough and icy waters – sounds like a near impossible task. But it turns out that finding them is the easy part,...

Three Danish fishermen convicted of pirate fishing

Blog entry by Hanne Lyng Winter, Greenpeace Nordic campaigner | January 15, 2015

In August 2010  Greenpeace revealed  how five fishermen from the Danish fishing port of Gilleleje had been fishing for more than five months in an area totally closed for fishing. By using GPS trackers, Greenpeace proved several...

Dozens dead... blacklisted and indebted, but still fishing

Blog entry by Karli Thomas | December 22, 2014

As a country with so much invested in high-tech export earnings, Korea's out-of-control distant water fishing industry must be starting to give its politicians and business leaders ulcers. The Oyang 75, sitting in Montevideo, Uruguay,...

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