Brussels - The EU’s Fisheries Council went on until the early morning today to agree on the North Sea and North-East Atlantic quotas for 2017. Once again Ministers failed to end overfishing. The agreed catch limits for several stocks for 2017, including cod in the Celtic Sea, Southern hake, and sole in the Bay of Biscay, are higher than the maximum sustainable yield levels recommended by scientist. This, despite Ministers’ commitments to end overfishing for all stocks by 2020 at the latest, as agreed under the Common Fisheries Policy.
Dr Monica Verbeek, Executive Director at Seas At Risk said: “Ministers agreed that 44 stocks out of 153 will be fished in a sustainable way in 2017. We acknowledge that this is a shy step forward compared to 2016 and 2015 when only 36 stocks were fished sustainably. However, progress is very slow. Fisheries Ministers are running out of time. Over the next 3 years Fisheries Ministers are committed set sustainable catch limits for all of the 153 fish stocks. Fisheries Ministers are not doing the fishing industry any favours by stalling on the requirements of the Common Fisheries Policy. 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 wrote to European Fisheries Ministers prior to the decision, urging them to follow scientific advice when agreeing on quotas to end overfishing.