Oceana asks EU to adapt Eastern Atlantic fishing fleet to match current status of stocks

Current management should be updated in accordance with the Common Fisheries Policy.

Press Release Date: April 14, 2011

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

Fishing effort over managed and non-managed stocks must be reduced while the number of species subject to Total Allowable Catches must increase.

Today the European Fisheries Council exchanged views on the review of fishing effort management in Western waters (a part of North-East Atlantic). Oceana is urging Member States to reduce fishing efforts according to stock status and real fishing opportunities, regulate access conditions to outermost regions, and implement specific effort rules in Biological Sensitive Areas (BSA).

The current effort regulation in Western waters was established in 1995 to avoid an increase in fishing effort and to safeguard balance at the time of the full integration of Spain and Portugal into the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). However, this management regime resulted in an insufficient decrease in the allocation of maximum allowable effort in 2003, has not reset the level of the average annual effort to the period between 1998 and 2002, and furthermore, does not evolve year by year with management targets or quota allocations for deficient stocks.

“The EU should modify the current fishing effort regime, in accordance with the stock status, catch composition and fishing techniques”, stated Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “While the TACs for many species have been reduced in recent years, the allocation of maximum allowable effort has not changed. In most cases the overcapacity is so vast that the Member States don´t use the yearly effort allocation”.

In the Western waters some demersal fisheries such as cod, hake, megrims, haddocks, or monkfish are subject to parallel management through Total Allowable Catches (TACs), based on scientific advice. However, there are several other demersal and benthic valuable commercial species, such as squid, red mullet, sea bass, scallops, edible crab and spider crab, that are not subject to TACs and are managed incompletely using only fishing effort. This stock management deficiency is of particular concern in the case of species where the number of individuals captured depends on the season and gear use (i.e. number of pots) and not on the annual kW-days.

“Oceana calls on the EU to increase the number of stocks managed, following a double system of control using both fishing effort and catch, and to increase the number of BSAs in the region with technical measures that will improve the status of some important stocks,” added Ricardo Aguilar, Director of Research for Oceana Europe.

Learn more: Total Allowable Catches