EU countries could catch 56% more fish if ministers stopped overfishing in Atlantic waters

Research by Oceana shows Denmark, France and the UK would register the highest increases in tonnes of fish if ministers followed scientific advice when setting 2019 catch limits tomorrow at EU meeting

Press Release Date: December 17, 2018



Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

The EU could increase the amount of fish landings from the North-Eastern Atlantic and the North Sea by 56%, up to more than 5 million tonnes, if tomorrow’s Council of Ministers approves catch limits in line with scientific advice. A study by Oceana found that the recovery would take less than ten years, and that Denmark, France, UK[1], The Netherlands and Spain would benefit the most. Ministers are under pressure as they are facing the final countdown to 2020, whereby under Common Fisheries Policy, all Total Allowable Catches (TACs) must be set sustainably.

Out of all the problems faced by our seas, overfishing is one of the easiest to solve. EU ministers have the scientific data they need and the mandate to follow them: they just need to make a decision thinking of society and not just shipowners”, said Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director for Oceana Europe. 

Oceana’s research shows that ecology and economy can go hand in hand. Any business plan that ignores a potential double-digit growth in less than one decade would be just ridiculous. We hope ministers will think beyond the term they serve for the benefit of the oceans and society,” added Gustavsson.

The analysis builds on the numbers of the Catchy Data platform, a comprehensive survey released by Oceana on the potential economic benefits of fishing sustainably in the EU. Currently, 4 out of 10 fish stocks are overfished in Atlantic waters, which has led less fish in this key fishing area than in previous decades.

Other findings on the socio-economic benefits of ending overfishing in these EU waters include:

  • The volume of landings could increase from 3.23 million tonnes to 5.04 (56% more).
  • The value of landings could go up from 3.42 billion euros to 5.25 (53 % more).
  • Jobs in fishing industry could increase from 36,437 to 49,456 (36% more).

Oceana study covers 81% of the total landings of the EU fishing fleet in North East Atlantic waters, so the actual increases would be higher than the numbers above.

Potential increases in landings (Statu Quo versus Maximum Sustainable Yield). Source: Oceana

Learn more: Joint NGO recommendations on fishing opportunities for 2019

#AGRIFISH #StopOverfishing #CFPReality

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[1] Council decisions will be legally binding for the UK during the whole of 2019.