Nine global ocean conservation leaders have urged the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, to use his “power, position, and responsibility” to end destructive and wasteful EU overfishing.
The union of ocean leaders have called upon the Commissioner to do so ahead of the 2020 Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) deadline, and before his mandate expires in 2019.
The union sent a letter to Commissioner Vella yesterday (May 22) supporting his efforts to end overfishing in EU waters and acknowledged the challenges in overcoming the current status quo, where many stocks continue to be fished about scientific advice.
Lack Of Political Will
The letter warns that the EU’s reputation has brought pressure for it to ‘get its own house in order’ regarding illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
It added that failure to end EU overfishing will undermine the success of the reformed CFP.
The letter reads, “Battling both the short-term interests and the lack of political will across several member states has delayed ending overfishing of EU stocks. Where science-based fishing limits have been set, healthier fish stocks have flourished, underscoring the power of reform.
“However, a recent analysis showed that in December 2017, contrary to the goals of the reform, 57 EU fishing limits were set above scientific levels. This unfortunate trend has resulted in only modest year-to-year improvements and – of grave concern to those who care deeply about fisheries – it risks failing to achieve the CFP’s goals by 2015 or 2020.”
Veering Off Course
In 2017, an update of the World Bank’s Sunken Billions report estimated that better management of global fisheries would unlock $83 (€70) billion in additional revenues worldwide.
Our Fish programme director Rebecca Hubbard, added, “Instead of safely reaching sustainable 2020 destination, the EU is in danger of floundering far from shore, thanks to myopic, short-term decision-making that favours the demands of big fishing industry players, over the long-term health of fisheries.
"Commissioner Vella has taken the lead on setting a course towards sustainable EU fisheries, now fisheries ministers must join him in ending Europe’s addiction to overfishing.”
The letter was signed by Kristian Parker of the Oak Foundation, Jane Lubchenco of Oregon State University, Rashid Sumaila of UBC Institute for the Oceans & Fisheries, Torsten Thiele of the Global Ocean Trust, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson of Ocean Collective, Pascal Lamy of the Jacques Delors Institute, Enric Sala of the National Geographic Society, Kristina Gjerde of the IUCN Global Marine & Polar Program and photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
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