Stop bankrupting our oceans: Europe votes on the future of fish

Posted on 05 February 2013

Stop bankrupting our oceans: citizens, fishermen and industry call on Europe to make the right decision for the future of fish.
Citizens, fishermen, industry leaders and WWF urge Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to end 30 years of ocean mismanagement and overfishing and endorse ambitious reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

For the first time MEPs have a say in CFP reform. In December last year the Parliament's Fisheries Committee voted 13 to 10 in favour of a draft report on the CFP Basic Regulation, the cornerstone of the reform package, that would allow fish stocks to recover and create the basis for sustainable fisheries in the European Union (EU). The whole Parliament will now vote on this report on 6 February.

“For 30 years fisheries have been pushed to the edge of bankruptcy by fisheries ministers who have sanctioned overfishing and listened to scientific advice and limits only 13 per cent of the time in the past decade. Now the European Parliament has a historic opportunity to put this right and succeed where ministers have failed”, said Tony Long, Director of WWF’s European Policy Office.

The Alliance for Common Fisheries Policy Reform, a consortium of industry leaders involved in the fisheries sector, have welcomed the Fisheries Committee proposals for strong CFP reform. They have written to all MEPs asking them to endorse these, and use their new powers to transform the way EU fisheries are managed.

The day before the vote, fishermen from MedArtNet, the association for artisanal fishermen in the Mediterranean, and other artisanal fisheries associations, joined WWF in Strasbourg to meet MEPs and explain why ambitious reform is necessary.

"It is of vital importance that the EU fisheries reform is a strong one, because we don’t have much time," said Mauricio Pulido, Spanish fisherman, MedArtNet representative in Spain

"Fishery resources and the marine environment itself are in a bad state. With the previous fisheries policy being a complete failure, it is important to introduce a new model of management for fisheries, if not, the future of fishing in the short term looks uncertain", he said.

Citizens also want a change in fisheries. A WWF poll indicated over 80 per cent of EU citizens wanted to be able to buy fish from sustainable sources and over 20,000 of EU citizens have asked MEPs to stop bankrupting their oceans through the ‘Paint a Fish’ campaign.

Without a strong reform fishing communities will suffer, along with fishing jobs and businesses linked to the sector, as fish stocks continue to decline.

“People want this reform, industry wants this reform, fishermen want this reform. Without it, the future for the seafood industry and fishing communities across Europe looks bleak”, concludes Tony Long.

Spanish MEP Raul Romeva, Mauricio, artisanal fisherman from MedArtNet and WWF`s Raul Garcia choose more fish!
© WWF / Frank Paul
WWF Gates of Truth infront of the European Parliament in Strasbourg
© WWF / Frank Paul
UK MEP Chris Davies (ALDE) and Tony Long, director WWF European Policy Office
© WWF / Frank Paul
Members of European Parliament, artisanal fishers and WWF chose more fish!
© WWF / Frank Paul