Sofia, Bulgaria, 10 April 2018:- As the Council of EU Environment Ministers meeting opens today in Sofia, 172,120 signatures from EU citizens calling for the EU to protect our seas and end overfishing were received by State Secretary for Environment of Sweden, Per Ängquist.

Petition with Credits

A joint initiative by campaigning organisations Our Fish, Seas at Risk and WeMove.EU, the petition provides a platform for concerned EU citizens to call on EU member states to implement the laws they have already agreed upon to have clean and healthy seas, and to end overfishing by 2020 at the latest.

The text of the petition, launched in October 2017, reads:

“It’s time to stick to the commitment you made to save and protect our seas by 2020 under the EU Marine Directive. More needs to be done to end overfishing, and fish are not waste and should not be discarded. At least 30% of EU seas need to become Marine Protected Areas and further ambitious measures should be taken to achieve ecologically diverse, clean and healthy seas as prescribed by EU law.”

“European Union member countries wrote and signed up to laws that could protect our oceans and end overfishing by 2020 if correctly implemented. But so far they are blatantly ignoring their own promises, while our marine ecosystems continue to be destroyed. With only a couple of years left to act, the challenges are getting bigger every day”, said Alice Belin, Marine Policy Officer for Seas At Risk.

“EU Environment and Fisheries Ministers are making decisions that impact on our ocean, our food, and our communities. It’s time those decisions started following scientific advice and EU law, rather than the narrow profit-based interests of a small number of fishing industry heavyweights,” said Our Fish Program Director Rebecca Hubbard.  

Over 40% of fish stocks in the North-East Atlantic are still overfished, while a staggering 90% of EU fish stocks in the Mediterranean are overfished. Throughout EU waters millions of fish are still being wasted at sea, despite the EU discard ban introduced in 2014.

Wildlife protection is a joke: We still only have 9% of seas in Marine Protected Areas around Europe and not 30% as recommended by scientists. Most of the existing protected areas are “Paper Parks” with only a small percentage fully protected.

“People from all over Europe are calling on the EU Environment and Fisheries Ministers to take urgent action - immediately - if they are to achieve the ecologically diverse, clean and healthy seas they promised by 2020. This must include ending overfishing, and protection of at least 30% of EU seas”, said Jörg Rohwedder, Senior Campaigner at WeMove.EU.

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