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

 

TTIP: EU and US show signs of desperation, Greenpeace

Press release | April 24, 2016 at 9:15

Brussels – Growing opposition to a transatlantic trade deal (TTIP) and faltering negotiations mean talks cannot be wrapped up anytime soon, said Greenpeace as EU and US politicians attempt to show renewed resolve for a deal. Outgoing US president...

CETA: fake new approach on investment protection

Press release | February 29, 2016 at 18:00

Brussels – Today, the European Commission and Canadian government agreed to include a new approach on investment protection and investment dispute settlement in the EU-Canada comprehensive economic and trade agreement (CETA).

Greenpeace blockade against EU-US trade talks lifted

Press release | February 22, 2016 at 13:20

Brussels – The Greenpeace blockade on EU-US trade talks has been lifted after Belgian police secured a side entrance for negotiators.

EU-US talks delayed as Greenpeace continues protest

Press release | February 22, 2016 at 11:50

Brussels – For the past hours thirty Greenpeace activists from seven countries have blocked the entrances to the Brussels building where EU and US negotiators were due to hold secret talks for a trade deal that would give multinational...

Greenpeace activists block secret TTIP talks

Press release | February 22, 2016 at 7:42

Brussels – Greenpeace activists have blocked EU and US negotiators from holding secret talks in Brussels for a trade deal that would give multinational corporations unprecedented power.

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