Oceana: EU Ministers fail first test of new fisheries policy targets

Breach between scientific advice and adopted catch limits continues, 46% of 2014 catch limits are set above scientific recommendations

Press Release Date: December 18, 2013

Location: Madrid


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

Yesterday in the evening EU Fisheries Ministers reached a political agreement on 2014 fishing opportunities for the main commercial fish stocks for EU vessels in the North East Atlantic. Only one year is left before the deadline, established in the newly reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), to have sustainably exploited fish stocks. While acknowledging some progress in the management of these resources, like the increase in the number of stocks exploited at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) rate, Oceana is disappointed by the Ministers’ incoherent decisions to do not close the breach between scientific advice and adopted catch limits.

 “The Council receives scientific advice for most of the stocks affected by these decisions. This is a critical step to ending the overexploitation of European fisheries resources, which currently affects four out of ten stocks in the NE Atlantic,” stated Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe. Whereas the Council has made progress by adopting certain catch limits that will increase the number of stocks exploited at MSY levels to 30, it is regrettable that 46% of stocks will remain exploited beyond the sustainable limits recommended by scientists, a figure similar to 2012. Time is running out to meet the CFP deadlines, and Member States must show a stronger commitment than the tepid stance we saw yesterday”.

Report: Oceana fishing opportunities recommendations for 2014