The European Commission has published a new Biodiversity Strategy, aimed at achieving the headline target of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss.

The European Commission has published a new Biodiversity Strategy, aimed at achieving the headline target of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss.

In March 2010 the new headline target was agreed to by the Environment Council. Since then, the Commission has been working on a strategy document outlining the priority actions needed to attain the ambitious goal set by the Ministers.

The document, entitled “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020”, outlines six priority targets and accompanying actions, including specific targets for safeguarding and protecting EU fish stocks, fully implementing existing legislation for the protection of nature and habitats, and controlling invasive alien species.

The target for fish stocks was set at achieving Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2015 and achieving a population age and size distribution indicative of a healthy stock, through fisheries management with no significant adverse impacts on other stocks, species and ecosystems, in support of achieving Good Environmental Status by 2020, as required under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The fisheries target is thus in line with international commitments made in Johannesburg in 2002, and with the expected targets to be included in the Commission’s proposal for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). However, the MSY concept has been consistently criticised by the scientific community for decades, so it is disappointing that the Commission has chosen not to pursue any ambition of going beyond MSY in fish stocks management.

The Strategy has now been sent to the Council and to the European Parliament for endorsement.

European Commission's webpage on the EU Biodiversity Strategy

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