After an 18 hour negotiation marathon a scandalous lack of ambition has led ministers to backtrack on previous commitments and sanction another decade of overfishing, environmental destruction, and the loss of fisher jobs and livelihoods.

After an 18 hour negotiation marathon a scandalous lack of ambition has led ministers to backtrack on previous commitments and sanction another decade of overfishing, environmental destruction, and the loss of fisher jobs and livelihoods.

The Fisheries Ministers met to discuss a Danish presidency proposal and adopt their position on proposals to reform the Common Fisheries Policy (the so called “general approach”), which will be the basis for negotiations with the European Parliament later this year. But just one week before the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (Rio+20) the Council failed to agree a plan to rebuild stocks to levels capable of producing Maximum Sustainable Yield by 2015 where possible, a target originally agreed at the 10th anniversary Earth Summit in Johannesburg a decade ago. Ministers instead agreed to delay the ending of overfishing to 2015 (where possible) and 2020 (for all stocks). This decision will result in a delay to the actual recovery of the stocks of at least a decade and for several fish stocks even longer.

Ministers have missed a once in a decade opportunity to break a destructive cycle of overfishing and fisheries mismanagement that has been going on for 30 years. And the result will not just impact stocks and the environment, but will harm fishers too. Almost one-third of jobs in the fishing sector in Europe have been lost in the last decade. Publications by the OECD, the World Bank, the New Economics Foundation and the European Commission all show that European fisheries would profit from stock recovery through increased catches, larger profit margins, higher return on investment and creation of new jobs.

Before the meeting Seas At Risk and other NGOs in Brussels had called on Ministers to reject the Danish presidencies proposal for a general approach. Now the eyes are on the European Parliament to support a Common Fisheries Policy reform that delivers a healthy marine environment and viable fisheries dependent communities.

 


Link to Fisheries Council Press Release
Link to Background Information

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