Industry puts trust in EU ministers

The Pew Charitable Trusts is calling on the European Union’s fisheries ministers to put an end to overfishing in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters and implement the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) at their upcoming December meeting.

In a letter to all 28 EU fisheries ministers, the Group highlighted the conditions of the CFP, which requires the ministers to end overfishing by 2015 where possible, and on a progressive and incremental basis by 2020 at the latest for all stocks.

“More than 40 per cent of assessed stocks in the North-East Atlantic and adjacent waters are known to be overfished,” the letter stated. “The gap between the fishing limits that the Council adopted and the scientifically recommended fishing levels increased significantly in the past two years, indicating a worsening trend with regards to overfishing.”

In the letter, the Group also voiced its concern over the Council’s recent decisions on total allowable catches for Baltic and deep-sea species, which have failed to end overfishing for crucial stocks without reasoning.

“We therefore urge you again to meet the 2015 deadline for all stocks, as any delay in ending overfishing will simply prolong environmental degradation and socioeconomic hardship by the fishing sector. With fewer fish, there can only be less fishing,” the letter adds.

According to the basic regulation, if any ministers ask to delay the 2015 deadline, there must be specific evidence demonstrating that the social and economic sustainability of the fishing fleets involved would be seriously jeopardised by a decision to end overfishing in 2015.

In addition, it must be explained how fishing pressure will be progressively and incrementally reduced to sustainable levels as soon as possible and not later than by 2020.

“Please, seize this opportunity to deliver healthy fish stocks and marine ecosystems for current and future generations,” The Pew Charitable Trusts concluded.

The ministers are set to meet on 15 and 16 December 2014.

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