Brussels - The EU’s Fisheries Council went on until the early morning today to agree on new North Sea and North-East Atlantic quotas for 2016, and once again failed to end overfishing, despite their commitments under the reformed Common Fisheries Policy.
For many stocks, including sole in the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay, anglerfish in the Irish Sea or southern hake, ministers set quotas above levels that would stop overfishing, as advised by scientists. The CFP requires an immediate end to overfishing of all stocks, or by 2020 at the latest in cases of socio-economic exemption. In many cases, the same quota as the current ones (a ‘roll-over’) have been agreed instead of the advised reduction; this is the case for example for skates and rays and pollock. Overall, there has been no progress in terms of the number of stocks that are managed in line with the objective of maximum sustainable yield; as in 2015, this will be the case for 36 stocks.
Dr Monica Verbeek, Executive Director at Seas At Risk: “Fisheries ministers are not doing the fishing industry any favours by ignoring the requirements of the reformed CFP. The Council must follow the legal obligation of ending overfishing for all stocks within 4 years. The longer this decision is delayed, the harder the cut will be at that point, and the longer it will take those stocks to recover to abundant levels that will allow increased quotas and enhanced profits.“
Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat have written to European Fisheries ministers prior to the decision, urging them to follow scientific advice when agreeing on quotas to end overfishing, and to ensure that the implementation of the landing obligation not result in overfishing.
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