Search
23 October 2018

At the 15 October meeting of the Fisheries Council, on fishing limits for the Baltic Sea, the Fisheries Ministers again agreed to continue overfishing. They allow a catch of 24,112 tonnes of cod from the eastern Baltic cod stock, 44% higher than scientists advise and an incredible 33% higher than fishing industry demands.

Read more

09 March 2018

For the third year in a row, Fundació ENT and Sciaena (member organisations of Seas At Risk), together with Ecologistas en Acción (a major Spanish environmental NGO), have compared and analysed European Commission reports on EU fisheries catch limits to assess their adherence to the legal requirement to stop overfishing. Analysis of the reports from 2015 to 2018 highlights some concerns about the methodology used by the Commission, and raises the possibility that the number of stocks assessed as being fished sustainably may have been overestimated each year.

In order to allow the recovery of fish stocks to sustainable levels, the Common Fisheries Policy requires an end to overfishing by 2015 where possible, with a progressive, incremental end to overfishing for all fish stocks by 2020 at the latest. At present, four years after the Common Fisheries Policy entered into force, it remains difficult to ascertain the real number of stocks that are no longer overfished in the EU (i.e. the number of agreed fishing limits in line with scientific advice based on the maximum sustainable yield).

Since December 2014, following the annual quota decisions by the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers, the European Commission publishes a list of stocks fished in the north-east Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea for which the agreed catch limits for the following year are considered sustainable and ‘in line with the maximum sustainable yield’. These publications are essential to measuring progress towards ending overfishing, particularly for EU Fisheries Ministers when agreeing fishing limits. However, they contain significant inconsistencies that prevent comprehensive evaluation of the real progress made.

More specifically, several stocks that were reported as being fished sustainably (or in Commission terms, ‘in line with the maximum sustainable yield’) in 2015, 2016 and 2017 are no longer in that category in 2018. For instance, since last year, eight catch limits have lost their ‘in line with the maximum sustainable yield’ status. By contrast, the Commission reports that 15 new stocks are fished sustainably in 2018, despite earlier reports listing five out of those 15 stocks at least once in previous years. This trend of ‘two steps forward, one step back’ is not in line with the Common Fisheries Policy requirement for progressive and incremental movement towards sustainable exploitation rates.

According to the Commission, the total number of stocks that are fished sustainably is 36 for 2015, 38 for 2016, 47 for 2017 and 53 for 2018. However, according to the analysis published by Fundació ENT, Sciaena and Ecologistas en Acción, these numbers are not entirely correct, and the number of stocks sustainably fished and ‘in line with the maximum sustainable yield’ has, in fact, been overestimated. In their analysis, the organisations detail the reasons for such overestimation and conclude that Commission reports must incorporate substantial improvements.

It is remarkable that numerous fishing limits continue to be set above sustainable limits despite the looming 2020 deadline to end overfishing. In order to safeguard the future of EU fisheries, Member State Fisheries Ministers must re-focus their efforts on ending overfishing, in line with the Common Fisheries Policy.

16 January 2018

The European Parliament plenary voted today on a proposal to merge and simplify a set of rules within current fisheries legislation. Despite being aimed at reducing the impacts of fisheries on the marine environment, the proposal adopted only serves to weaken existing protective legislation, without scientific justification.

Read more

13 December 2017

Early this morning European Fisheries Ministers have made progress towards the goal to end overfishing in the Atlantic and North Sea in 2018, though they still have set many quotas above the fishing limits that scientists had advised to ensure sustainable fisheries.  These decisions are at odds with the legal obligation of EU Member States to end overfishing by 2020 at the latest.

Read more

06 December 2017

In its new report ‘Tackling overfishing and marine litter’, Seas At Risk undertakes an analysis of fisheries and marine litter measures adopted by Member States under the Marine Directive. While noting some progress, it concludes that much more effort is needed to achieve healthy fish stocks and reduce harm from marine litter by 2020. The report also provides recommendations on the measures needed.

06 December 2017

In its new report ‘Tackling overfishing and marine litter’, Seas At Risk undertakes an analysis of fisheries and marine litter measures adopted by Member States under the Marine Directive. While noting some progress, it concludes that much more effort is needed to achieve healthy fish stocks and reduce harm from marine litter by 2020. The report also provides recommendations on the measures needed.

Read more

05 December 2017

Seas At Risk together with The Pew Charitable Trusts, Oceana, ClientEarth and the Fisheries Secretariat, sent to EU Ministers their recommendations regarding the 2018 Northeast Atlantic and North Sea Total Allowable Catches that the Council will set on 11–12 December 2017. The environmental NGOs urge Ministers to ensure that the 2018 TACs meet the requirements of the Common Fisheries Policy and end overfishing. Documents are: Letter to Ministers, Policy annex and Total Allowable Catches annex. It’s possible to consult previous council recommendations here

05 December 2017

On 11 & 12 December, the Fisheries Council will meet to agree fishing quotas for 2018. Ahead of this meeting, Seas At Risk, together with Pew, Oceana, ClientEarth and the Fisheries Secretariat, has called on the Ministers for Fisheries of the EU Member States to follow current scientific advice and take steps to end overfishing.

Read more

28 November 2017

Seas At Risk joined 19 other NGOs in a call to fisheries ministers to ban fisheries for adult eel in all EU waters, including fresh water. Due to anthropogenic impacts there has been a dramatic reduction in the European eel in all the EU in the last 30 years, and less than 5% of the stock is left.  Conservation efforts to protect this species have failed up to now. Since 2008 scientists have been advising to close the fisheries, but this has so far been ignored by the Ministers. The state of the European eel got to such critical level that immediate action is necessary to achieve the recovery of the species. A ban on the fishing on adult eels would allow them to spawn as a first step to recovery.

Read more

21 November 2017

The European Parliament Fisheries Committee today voted on a proposal that will revise legislation on the protection of fisheries resources and marine ecosystems. The proposal merges more than 30 existing regulations and directives, all aimed at minimising the impacts of fishing on ecosystems. However, the proposal seriously weakens or deletes several existing measures.

Read more

16 November 2017

Technical measures are the rules for where, when and how fishing may take place. These measures are fundamental to regulating the impact of fishing on stocks and marine ecosystems. Technical conservation measures will play a key role in achieving some of the main objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy. The document gives a list of key recommendations, which take into consideration how technical conservation measures can achieve these Common Fisheries Policy objectives. NGOs strongly urge members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries to vote in favour of amendments that strengthen the Commission’s proposal and increase protections for marine ecosystems.

19 October 2017

Seas At Risk was invited to make a statement at a conference on the implementation and future of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, jointly organised by the Estonian presidency of the EU and the European Commission on 12-13 October 2017 in Tallinn. Seas At Risk highlighted that rather than allowing for potentially “harmful subsidies”, any future maritime and fisheries fund must contribute to lower impacts on the marine environment and to abundant fish stocks. Seas At Risk called for funding in support of the marine environment to achieve healthy productive seas, the basis for thriving coastal communities.

 

 

05 October 2017

Seas At Risk together with the Fisheries Secretariat sent to European Ministers the recommendations on the European Commission’s proposal on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2018. The two NGOs ask Ministers to ensure a sustainable utilisation of our common marine resources. Documents are: The recommendations to the ministers, Annex on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2018 and Annex on measures for the European eel. It’s possible to consult previous council recommendations here.

14 September 2017

Seas At Risk welcomes the decision of the European Parliament for a robust North Sea multiannual management plan that will effectively see an end to overfishing of species living near the sea bottom in that region. The plan covers fish stocks that represent almost 70% of the North Sea catch.

Read more

01 September 2017

In September the Plenary of the European Parliament will vote on MEP Ulrike Rodust’s report concerning the European Commission’s proposal for a multi-annual plan for demersal fisheries in the North Sea. If properly designed, the North Sea Multi-Annual Plan could make a significant contribution to ending overfishing and restoring fish stocks in line with the Common Fisheries Policy, which was significantly shaped by the European Parliament. This position paper lists the NGO priorities such as that the same management targets must apply to all demersal fish stocks and the inclusion of provisions for recreational fisheries.

 

 

19 July 2017

The European Parliament Fisheries Committee voted last week on the multiannual management plan for demersal species in the North Sea. The outcome of the decision contained both negative and positive aspects.

Read more

05 July 2017

Seas At Risk and allied NGOs have written to Siim Valmar Kiisler, Minister for the Environment of the Republic of the Estonia, asking for the forthcoming Fisheries Council exchange of views on the Commission Communication on Fishing Opportunities for 2018 to be live streamed. A public discussion on this important topic would facilitate enhanced transparency and motivate greater stakeholder involvement. Estonia has taken over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 1 July and will be chairing the meeting.

15 June 2017

Environmental NGOs called for an ambitious and science-based multiannual management plan for small pelagic stocks in the Adriatic Sea. Below the letter sent to the Fisheries Attachés of the EU Member States, the Committee on Fisheries of the European Parliament and in copy Commissioner Vella and DG MARE. 

 

04 May 2017

A new investigation by Corporate Europe Observatory and Seas at Risk reveals how Dutch and Spanish fishing lobbies have used press passes to access the EU Council building during crucial ministerial negotiations on fishing quotas.

Read more

04 May 2017

The overfishing of many species in EU waters continues, putting the commitments of the EU’s reformed Common Fisheries Policy in jeopardy unless this practice is ended. Yet when the EU Council meets to set annual quota limits, the powerful commercial fishing industry lobbies successfully for catch limits set far higher than the scientific advice. The power of this short-termist lobbying threatens the sustainability of many fish stocks, and the long-term viability of fishing livelihoods.

Read more

Share This