With time rapidly running out, now is the time for Europe’s citizens to add their voices and their names to the Save Our Seas petition. Now is the time to remind our politicians of their legal commitment to stop overfishing and deliver clean and healthy seas by 2020. Hundreds of thousands of citizens standing together cannot be ignored.

Since the EU’s adoption of the Marine Directive in 2008 and the reformed Common Fisheries Policy in 2013, Seas At Risk has worked to ensure that 2020 will open with a celebration of humanity’s capacity to change for the better. These two ambitious pieces of legislation are intended to protect the marine environment and ensure sustainable fisheries, and to reduce or phase out major challenges for the marine world, including overfishingeutrophicationplastic pollutionchemical pollution and underwater noise, by 2020.

Common dolphins

With this deadline looming, however, it is unlikely that the new decade will begin as it should.  Rather than gearing up for the final sprint towards these goals, policy makers seem to have forgotten their legal commitments. This is despite the worsening of the situation underwater, with recent data showing that marine biodiversity loss due to human pressures has now reached alarming levels.

Member State progress towards reducing the impact of human pressures on the marine environment (as foreseen by the Marine Directive) has been insufficient to deliver clean and healthy seas by 2020. To help countries to deliver on their promises, Seas At Risk developed a list of 20 measures to bring that goal closer.

One such measure is Member State adherence to the legal requirement to stop overfishing all fish stocks by 2020 at the latest. With 87% of fish stocks overfished in the Mediterranean and 41% in the North East Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea, this remains far from being achieved. The annual discussion and agreement of fishing limits by the European Commission and the fisheries ministers lacks transparency, with the limits often exceeding scientific recommendations. December of this year represents the final chance for ministers to set quotas in line with scientific advice and end overfishing in 2020.

We have six months to make a difference. Given the micro steps taken to date, significantly stronger political will is necessary to make a real change. This is why we need citizens to put pressure on politicians now.

Seas At Risk has co-launched the #SaveOurSeas petition to mobilise citizens across the EU. The more signatures gathered, the more power we have to ask policy makers to deliver on their commitments. This is a joint effort with Our Fish, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Fisheries Secretariat, ClientEarth, Ecologistas en Accion and ENT Funcacio (Spain), Sciaena and Quercus (Portugal), the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation and Friends of the Black Sea (Bulgaria), Marevivo (Italy), France Nature Environnement (France), Sea First (the Netherlands), the Marine Conservation Society (UK), Levende Hav (Denmark), Fish for Tomorrow (Malta) and BirdWatch Ireland. The petition is supported by the WeMove platform.

Add your voice. Add your name. Be part of the change.

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