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WWF urges EU Member states to meet CFP deadlines

  (EUROPEAN UNION, 12/11/2018)

The conservation organisation WWF indicates that Member States are still lagging behind and are likely to miss important 2020 deadlines on biodiversity conservation and sustainable fisheries management.

In a new report, WWF presents European and Member State decision-makers with a comprehensive and evidence-based critique on the implementation of key Articles of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). 

An analytical assessment of CFP implementation © WWF 

The organisation points out that overall, Member State efforts to implement the CFP are deeply unsatisfactory and national ocean strategies have, thus far, missed the mark on provisions for sustainable fishing, healthy and resilient marine ecosystems and biodiversity conservation.

The report includes individual data for each EU Member State. Only one out of 46 CFP actions assessed by WWF was accomplished by all Member States: establishing an administrative system for registering fishing vessels.

WWF warns that half of the actions (24) have only been partially accomplished, whilst the others have not been tackled to date.

As regards the rated actions undertaken by the European Commission, the NGO recognises that its efforts are encouraging. The European Commission has achieved nearly half of the implementation actions for the CFP, earning 47 per cent of the maximum score possible.

“EU Member States have had ample time to implement the provisions of the reformed CFP, but have demonstrated an unacceptable lack of political will towards sustainable fisheries management,” stresses Samantha Burgess, Head of Marine Policy at WWF European Policy Office.

In her view, European fisheries are facing unprecedented challenges, with high levels of overfishing, destruction of marine habitats, impacts of climate change, with continued illegal activities and poor management of the fisheries sector.

 

Burgess believes that this destructive trend must urgently be reversed, especially in coastal communities where fisheries contribute to community livelihoods and food security and that the EU must stand by its commitments to sustainable fisheries governance and protect the marine environment upon which its fisheries and coastal communities depend for survival.

January 1, 2019 is the deadline for full implementation of the Landing Obligation by all EU Member States, whereby fishing vessels are required to retain and bring to port all seafood catches to eliminate discarding.

Analyses by WWF have found that EC-granted exemptions, allowing operators to discard up to 7 per cent of their catches, have increased by 300 per cent between 2017 and the end of 2018.

According to the NGO’s findings, phasing-in implementation of the Landing Obligation to January’s fast approaching deadline has not reduced discarding, nor brought the much-needed changes to make fishing practices more sustainable. WWF therefore urges member states to invest EU fisheries funds in adopting technical solutions that can increase selectivity and reduce unwanted catches.


Fishing vessel / Washington / United States

In addition to the sustainable fishing objectives of the CFP, 2020 is the deadline for the EU to achieve its objective of Good Environmental Status in all European seas, accomplish four targets related to UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, and fulfill its commitment to the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Target 11 to effectively protect and manage 10% of Europe’s marine areas.

“The EU has repeatedly shown its dedication to supporting sustainable growth in our ocean, both internally and internationally, in its numerous declarations and commitments around a Sustainable Blue Economy,” states Dr Burgess.

“We are fortunate to have legislation in the EU that provides many critical stepping stones to support sustainable fisheries practices, nurture vibrant coastal communities and even contribute to food security on a global scale. The Member States and European Commission must stand by their promises and show that the EU is a world leader for ocean resilience, in time for the 2020 deadlines,” the WWF Marine Policy head concludes.

  
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