The agreement to reduce fishing quotas for several commercial species in European waters in the next 12 months, was taken after long warnings about the severe depletion of valuable fish stocks such as Irish Sea cod, that are in danger of collapse.
"EU Fisheries Ministers have taken a tough but necessary decision. The Ministers could have reduced some quotas even further if they had followed scientific advice", said Julie Cator, WWF European Fisheries Coordinator. "Cuts in allowed catches are needed to preserve fish stocks and to give the European fishing industry a long-term future. The seas around Europe have been over-fished for years. There are too many boats chasing too few fish".
The decision of the EU-ministers will affect neither long-distance fishing fleets from EU-countries nor fishing subsidies that fuel overfishing. In a recent study WWF experts calculated that the EU is subsidising its fishing industry by at least 14,000 Euro per fishing boat per year.
"Quota cuts are not a permanent solution," added Julie Cator. "The Common Fisheries Policy must be reformed. WWF calls for the introduction of no take zones, technical improvements to reduce discards and by-catches, and reform of subsidies which encourage overfishing".
EU fishing subsidies include money to upgrade fishing gear, grants to build new vessels, aid for processing and marketing fish products and the purchase of fishing rights in non-EU countries.
For more information:
Julian Scola, Press Officer, WWF European Policy Office, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel +32 2 743 8806
Simone de Manso, Press Officer, WWF International, email@example.com, tel +41 22 364 9553