EU ministers decide to continue overfishing in the Atlantic waters in 2018

Some progress made to rebuild EU fisheries, but fisheries ministers’ short-term industry interests win over sustainable fishing

Press Release Date: December 13, 2017

Location: Brussels


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

The Agriculture and Fisheries Council (Agrifish) late Tuesday night  agreed on fishing limits for the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea for 2018. The Council’s decision is based on the European Commission’s annual proposal for fishing limits which includes commercially important species, such as cod, hake, anglerfish, Norway lobster, sole, haddock, and horse mackerel.

After all-night negotiations, fisheries ministers decided to increase the number of stocks fished at sustainable levels from 44 to 53, a compromise far from a binding commitment to implement sustainable fishing for all fish stocks and stop overfishing by 2020.

EU fisheries ministers have today made some progress by putting more stocks on the path to sustainability and increasing the number of stocks exploited at sustainable levels from 44 to 53” , explained Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “However, time is running out and this number is still very low. The progress made so far is insufficient to show any chance of meeting the legally-binding obligation to stop overfishing for all EU stocks by 2020,” added Gustavsson.

Oceana recently published a study that proves there is a socio-economic case for rebuilding dwindling EU fish stocks to sustainable levels. Almost 5 billion euros extra a year could be pumped into Europe’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and nearly 92.000 full-time jobs could be created in the fishing and fisheries-related sectors. 

Under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), Member States are obliged to stop overfishing for all EU stocks by 2020 at the latest. According to a recent European Commission´s report, only 14 stocks in the Atlantic Ocean are known to be fully in line with the CFP objectives.

Read more: Joint NGO recommendations on fishing opportunities for 2018

Healthy fisheries are good for business