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

 

Green10 letter on Innovation in EU

Publication | October 17, 2013 at 15:22

A letter from the Green 10 to Mr Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, Mr Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and Mr Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission

Tomorrow's breaking news on EU fisheries reform

Publication | May 14, 2013 at 9:15

Stormy outlook for European fisheries as short-termism prevails? Or will it be clear skies ahead?

Employment on board

Publication | May 6, 2013 at 15:00

The world’s oceans cannot withstand the current rate of fishing. In order to ensure the future of marine biodiversity and of those who make their living by it a sustainable fishing model must be established.

Joint NGO letter to EU fisheries ministers on fisheries reform and stock recovery

Publication | April 11, 2013 at 10:00

As negotiations on the reform of the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy enter the final stage, over 200 groups from civil society are calling on EU fisheries ministers to support an end to overfishing and the speedy restoration of fish stocks.

Green NGO letter to Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the Irish EU presidency

Publication | December 10, 2012 at 10:57

Letter on behalf of the Green 10.

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