In an open letter sent ahead of the June EU Fisheries Council meeting, Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat have called on Ministers to support an array of urgently needed measures to protect fish stocks when they discuss the Commission’s proposal for setting fishing limits for 2012.

In an open letter sent ahead of the June EU Fisheries Council meeting, Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat have called on Ministers to support an array of urgently needed measures to protect fish stocks when they discuss the Commission’s proposal for setting fishing limits for 2012.

The majority of EU stocks are still considered overfished. It is therefore imperative that the fishing limits are aligned with the scientific advice for all stocks, and with the objective of reaching the international commitment of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2015.

However the number one challenge in doing so is that two thirds of fish stocks in EU waters are considered data poor, which does not allow MSY values to be calculated. This lack of assessment and clear scientific advice has in the past served as an argument for maintaining or even increasing catches, rather than for the application of the precautionary approach.

Recognizing this problem, the Commission proposes to take a tougher stance on the management of stocks facing scientific uncertainty, in the hope to encourage that much needed data are made available and to avoid the overexploitation of fisheries we don’t know enough about.

Seas At Risk and the Fish Secretariat are generally supportive of the Commission’s new approach on setting fishing limits, although we believe these rules need to be defined further so they can be applied with relevance to different situations.

The recommendations sent out to the EU Fisheries Ministers for the meeting on June 28 are backed up by detailed information that can be read below in Annex I.
Letter to the EU Fisheries Council Meeting, 28 June 2011


Annex 1:
 

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