Oceana cautious os European Commision’s proposal for 2010 fishing opportunities

Oceana sees the efforts to reduce the catches of many stocks as positive, but notes that these small reductions are clearly insufficient as 8 out of 10 stocks assessed are overexploited

Press Release Date: April 22, 2010

Location: Madrid


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

In a press conference today in Brussels, the European Commission presented its proposal for the 2010 fishing opportunities for Europe’s main commercial fish stocks. Oceana, the international marine conservation organization, considers that if more quota reductions are not decided in accordance with scientific advice, it will be impossible to recover the most overfished stocks. In today’s press conference, the Commission reiterated that eight out of 10 stocks assessed are overexploited.

Every fall, the European Commission presents their TAC (Total Allowable Catch) proposals after evaluating scientific advice received from ICES, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. However, a complex system of preestablished rules often prevents the scientific recommendations from being followed, and sustainable levels of fish stocks are not reached. These Commission proposals will be debated and agreed by the Council of Fisheries Ministers in a meeting that will happen 14-15 December.

Ricardo Aguilar, Director of Science for Oceana in Europe said, The Commission seems to be fully aware of the necessity of reducing catches, but, even though they are aware, if they don´t take the correct actions then the situation of our fish stocks will remain the same. No real improvements will be achieved if TAC reductions are only around 15% for stocks that urgently need zero TACs or substantial reductions in catches”. Aguilar adds: “We have two months until the final agreement are made in the Fisheries Council. These are two months in which we must ensure that the right decisions get made and that the bad ones, such as increasing TACs for overfished stocks like the southern hake, do not.The final TACs adopted last year by the Fisheries Council were 48% higher than the catches considered sustainable according to scientific advice[1].

Specifically with regard to sharks, Oceana is cautious about the TACs proposed. For the spurdog, the proposed 2010 TAC has been reduced by 90%, but allows for a 10% “by-catch” TAC. However, scientists have warned that spurdog stocks are in danger of collapse, and Oceana urges a 100% TAC reduction (zero TAC) with a requirement to release by-catch specimens back in the water, consistent with what was published in the Commission’s proposal last year[2]. The other shark for which TACs exist is the porbeagle, but the Commission has not yet made a proposal for it. Oceana urges the Commission to propose a zero TAC, consistent with their proposal last year. In addition, Oceana reminds the Commission that they agreed to implement rigorous conservation measures for this species.[3]

The poor state of these two sharks is being addressed in international fora to ensure their conservation,”Instead of wavering, it’s time for the Commission and Fisheries Ministers to get real about safeguarding the future of these species.” commented Rebecca Greenberg, marine scientist with Oceana. “


[1] COM(2009) 224. Consultation on Fishing Opportunities for 2010. Brussels, 12 May 2009.

[2] Annex III COM(2008)709

[3] 5229/09 PECHE 7