The newly elected chair of the European Parliament Committee on Fisheries (PECH) Pierre Karleskind (Renew Europe, FR), was guest of honour at last week's Europêche General Assembly meeting to discuss the many pressing issues faced by the fishing sector.
A two-day long intensive negotiation finished this very morning with the difficult political compromise reached by EU Fisheries ministers on the catch limits for 2020. This agreement reconciles to objective to secure healthy stocks with the need to ensure the socio-economic sustainability of the EU fleet. The latter was acknowledged by the Council which, after a predominantly conservationist proposal from the European Commission, adopted a better-balanced decision in light of the socio-economic data provided by Member States. The industry will however face many challenges for next year due to the extreme quota reductions and restrictive measures adopted for key species such as cod in all EU waters.
The European Commission has launched its annual consultation on the state of fish stocks and the preparation for setting fish quotas for next year marked by the objective to fish all stocks at maximum sustainable yield (MSY1) levels by 2020. The good news is that most of the stocks in the North East Atlantic have already reached this target. However, and despite generalised fishing effort reductions, some fish populations are struggling to rebuild or even to remain at current level. The answer may be found in the latest scientific advices which revealed major challenges in some fisheries caused by the destabilizing effect of the full introduction of the landing obligation and environmental factors such as climate change. The European fishing industry represented by Europêche expresses once again its concern over the stated aim to have all stocks at biomass levels that can produce Maximum Sustainable Yields will prove to be counterproductive, since the production capacity of our sea bas
A new report from the UN expert group on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has found that nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history with many species facing extinction at accelerating rates. According to the report, the oceans are no exception to this trend caused by changes in sea use, direct exploitation of organisms, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species. The European fishing industry, while acknowledging the potential risks for the marine environment, stresses that fishing poses no threat for the long-term preservation of marine resources. Proof of that is that thanks to fisheries management and industry-led efforts, fish stocks have been generally increasing in many areas such as the North East Atlantic, currently reaching levels 36% higher than in 2003. This positive trend shows that UN’s extinction warning particularly for fish populations is a bit far-fetched.
This was one of the main results from the European Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) annual report1 on the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), particularly concerning the progress towards achieving sustainable fisheries. The scientific report shows that the stock status has significantly improved in the North-East Atlantic with an overall downward trend in the fishing pressure over the period 2003-2017. As a consequence, fish populations have been generally increasing since 2007, reaching in 2017 levels 36% higher than in 2003. However, further efforts are still needed, particularly in the Mediterranean.
Europêche has welcomed the clear message from the scientific community and DG MARE Director General, Mr Aguiar Machado, at Friday's “Scientific Seminar on Fisheries Science” organised by the European Commission. The scientific data presented evidenced in the North East Atlantic a drastic reduction in fishing pressure which is now stabilizing at sustainable levels. As a consequence, overexploited stocks decreased by 43% in the last decade and the proportion of stocks outside safe biological limits dropped by more than half during the same period. Fish populations have been generally increasing, reaching in 2016 biomass levels 39% higher than in 2003. The seminar also reviewed fisheries science challenges such as integrating socio-economic advice, multispecies management transition, climate change consequences and insufficient data processing.
Europêche has welcomed the clear words from the scientific community and General Director of DG MARE, Lowri Evans, at yesterday's seminar on ´the State of Fish Stocks´ organised by the European Commission.