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

 

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Blog entry by Farah Obaidullah | January 25, 2012

It is no secret that Europe’s seas, once teeming with life, are now unable to provide fish for all its citizens. EU governments and the fishing industry have known for decades that they catch more than their seas can provide, so...

How big is yours?

Blog entry by Saskia Richartz | December 13, 2011

No, not that. Your fishing fleet… how big is your fishing fleet? No idea? Nor it seems do most governments in Europe. That’s quite a problem when size is at the heart of our overfishing problems. I’ve just come back from a press...

European Union sinks tuna agreement

Blog entry by Saskia Richartz | November 25, 2008

Shameless. Disastrous. The international body responsible for "managing" what's left of the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna stock has ignored scientific advice, the demands of Greenpeace supporters around the world,...

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