Civil society, citizens, children, fishermen and politicians urge Fisheries Ministers to “get on board and end overfishing!” | WWF

Civil society, citizens, children, fishermen and politicians urge Fisheries Ministers to “get on board and end overfishing!”

Posted on
13 May 2013

For photos from the "All aboard!" live action in Brussels go to:

13 May 2013 - Brussels, Belgium: this morning civil society, citizens, children, fishermen and politicians met in front of the Council building in Brussels, where Fisheries Ministers are meeting over the next two days, to urge them to put an end to 30 years of ocean mismanagement and “get on board to end overfishing!”

The reason for concern is that political negotiations have hit a deadlock: the European Parliament endorsed a far-reaching overhaul of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) by 507 to 137 votes in February, whilst the Council on the other hand, has been unwilling to propose any kind of acceptable compromise. 
NGOs said “Time is running out and there is a real danger the reform process may stall or worse still collapse, if Fisheries Ministers continue playing chicken. Ministers are not being asked to do the impossible; many fishing nations outside Europe have outlawed overfishing and worked to rebuild their fish stocks.”
Since the trilogue negotiations started, the Parliament’s negotiator, MEP, Ulrike Rodust, has signalled that she would be prepared to compromise, but that a significant strengthening of the Council’s position would be needed to broker a deal. However the reluctance of some countries, including France, Spain and Poland, to find common ground with the Parliament on key issues of the reform is threatening the negotiations.
“We are calling on the fisheries ministers to back fish stock recovery by 2020, reduce fishing capacity in accordance with agreed guidelines and support financial penalties for countries that fail to implement agreed rules and abandon loopholes that weaken the proposed discard ban”, said the NGOs
“Sustainable fishing is possible but governments need to reform the rules to stop destructive overfishing. The low impact fishing that we practice is the future”, said Gerry de Ruiter – a Dutch fisherman from LIFE, a new network of Low Impact Fishermen in Europe.
"For the first time ever, Europe and its politicians recognise the importance of artisanal fisheries; and artisanal fishermen support the proposed reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, even if it not a perfect one. If nothing is done to stop overfishing, careers linked to artisanal fisheries will likely disappear, which would be disastrous for our fishing activity and jobs. Artisanal fisheries represent 80% of fisheries and the majority of fishing jobs in Europe", said Christian Decugis, a fisherman from the South of France and a founding member of “MEDARNET”, a Mediterranean artisanal fishermens platform.
The European Commission and Parliament, as well as millions of EU citizens, fishermen, businesses and chefs who rely on healthy fisheries, support this reform and want to see an end to the misuse of taxpayers’ money and improvements in enforcement and fisheries control. 

BirdLife Europe – Caroline Jacobsson -
Fish Fight – Adam Scott +44 (0) 774 841 8552 - 
Greenpeace – Mark Breddy +32 (0) 496 156229 -
Oceana – Angela Pauly +32 (0) 2 513 22 42 -
OCEAN2012 – Mike Walker +32 (0) 476 622575 -
Paintafish – Fernanda Balata +44 (0) 796 905 0524 - 
WWF – Alexandra Bennett +32 (0) 477 393 400 -
Source of the article

Agenda EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting 13-14 May 2013
Background note EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council  meeting 13-14 May 2013 



European Parliament position (6 February 2013)



Council position (26 February 2013)


Stock recovery

Seeks to eliminate overfishing by 2015 to recover fish stocks above levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) by 2020 at the latest.

Seeks to eliminate overfishing by 2015 “where possible” and in other cases, allow overfishing to continue until 2020; does not include any stock recovery target.


Fleet capacity

Member States are to:

i) report their fishing capacity annually by fleet segment, using Commission guidelines to ensure the quality of reporting is improved;

ii) to reduce fleet overcapacity; and

iii) subsidy payments are to be suspended if a country has not complied with above.

Member States are to:

i) report their fishing capacity annually by fleet segment, but rejects the mandatory use of agreed Commission guidelines;

ii)  opposes suspensions of subsidies to countries that have not reported or failed to reduce their fishing capacity.


Low-impact fishing

Promotes low-impact fishing methods, including through preferential access to fishing quotas.

Opposes preferential access for fishermen that use low-impact fishing methods.



Has expressed zero tolerance for discards; wants discard ban to apply to all fish species.

Accepts only a partial discard ban for species governed by a quota or a minimum landing size (which is the case for just 15 per cent of stocks in the Mediterranean) and is pushing for major loopholes, including a maximum discarding rate of 7-9 per cent.

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