This week will see the European Parliament vote on the most important file on the reform of the CFP and Fisheries Ministers will set next year’s fishing limits. In advance of the Fisheries Council meeting, SAR and FISH are calling on Ministers to follow scientific advice and set limits that enable the EU to rebuild fish stocks to sustainable levels.

This week will see the European Parliament vote on the most important file on the reform of the CFP and Fisheries Ministers will set next year’s fishing limits. In advance of the Fisheries Council meeting, SAR and FISH are calling on Ministers to follow scientific advice and set limits that enable the EU to rebuild fish stocks to sustainable levels.

The European Parliament Fisheries Committee will vote on December 18 on proposals that could put an end to the December tradition of horse-trading next year’s fishing limits. Instead fishing limits would be fixed under multi-annual plans, or in absence of these, Ministers would be obliged to follow scientific advice and adopt sustainable quotas by 2015 to rebuild fish stocks to healthy levels by 2020. The vote will be tight.

Meanwhile, on December 18 - 19, it will be up to the Fisheries Ministers to look forward and set fishing limits in line with scientific advice that ensure an end to overfishing and restoration of fish stocks. While the EU will not be able to achieve its international commitment to restore fish stocks to above levels that can produce Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2015, ministers can decide this week to avoid further unnecessary delay in achieving this goal.

The starting point for the quota negotiations is the proposal of the European Commission, which is based on management plans, where these exist, and largely follows scientific advice for stocks where advice is provided. For the first time it also incorporates quantitative advice for data-limited stocks, which has allowed for an increase in the number of stocks where proposals for fishing limits can be based on scientific advice.

In an open letter sent to EU Fisheries Ministers earlier this month, Seas At Risk and the Fisheries Secretariat stated their general support to the European Commission’s proposal. The groups urged EU states to improve the data availability of stocks in general and in particular for certain stocks such as southern hake and nephrops, and to align EU fisheries management areas with ICES assessment areas.

Healthy fish stocks help prevent biodiversity loss and result in higher and more consistent catches at a lower cost. Restoring and maintaining fish stocks to MSY would therefore improve employment in fisheries and related industries. A recent study found that restoring 43 European stocks to levels that can produce MSY would generate 3.53 million tonnes of additional landings and could support around 100,000 new jobs. The commitment to restore fish stocks to levels that can produce MSY by 2015 was agreed at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, and was re-iterated at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on sustainable development in 2012.


Read the full letter to Europe’s Fisheries Ministers

 

Share This

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required