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

 

It's official! United Nations decide to develop a High Seas Biodiversity agreement.

Blog entry by Sofia Tsenikli | June 23, 2015

No reason to deny it – making it official makes things a tad more real! Today the United Nations General Assembly formally decided to develop a High Seas Biodiversity Agreement, endorsing the breakthrough outcome of the UN...

Illegal catch of sharks linked to EU monsterboat

Blog entry by Justine Maillot and Karli Thomas | June 2, 2015

It’s a macabre case spanning continents. An illegal shipment of sharks, shark fins and other fish was seized in Spain two weeks ago – and the owners are reportedly in a deal with New Zealand company SeaDragon to supply shark livers...

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,...

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