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Capture of several species of the North Sea. (Photo: CE)

EU is far from ending overfishing in 2020, Oceana warns

EUROPEAN UNION
Monday, June 11, 2018, 23:40 (GMT + 9)

Oceana has warned that the annual report of the European Commission on the fish stock status and the progress made towards fisheries sustainability, the main objective of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), shows that the EU is still far from managing to stop overfishing for the year 2020.

The conservation organization stresses that the document published today shows high levels of overfishing in the northeast Atlantic and adjacent seas, such as the Baltic or the North Sea, with 41 per cent. The Mediterranean is the one in the worst status, with around 90 per cent of the stocks in overfishing and some at risk of complete collapse. Hake, red mullet, blue whiting and monkfish are fished some ten times over what science considers sustainable.

"Overfishing hurts the environment and the economy. Mismanagement of renewable natural resources ruins our natural heritage and charges a cost in the form of employment, food and money. We are two years away from the legal deadline and politicians run out of excuses. Well managed and in a healthy state, EU fish stocks could sustainably produce 57 per cent more -- 2 million more tonnes per year -- and create 92,000 jobs," argues Lasse Gustavsson, Oceana Europe's executive director.

Oceana stresses that, despite the legal obligation to put an end to overfishing by 2020 at the latest, the progress made by the EU so far is insufficient to achieve it, as it has been confirmed repeatedly by an EU advisory body, the Scientific, Technical Committee and Economic Fishing. In this sense, the NGO insists that stopping overfishing will facilitate the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources and contribute to achieving good environmental status in European seas.

Oceana calls on the European Commission, the EU Council and the Member States to take responsible decisions this year and set limits on sustainable catches and in line with the scientific recommendations for all Atlantic fish stocks.

It also stresses that it is the EU's duty to urgently recover the Mediterranean, which is in a critical status of overfishing and with hardly any catch limits, through ambitious and solid long-term management plans, as the most efficient means to tackle overfishing issues.

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