Oceana: Fishing opportunities for 2014 mark first test for reformed Common Fisheries Policy

Recovery of Mediterranean stocks is stalled, with 88% of stocks still overexploited.

Press Release Date: May 31, 2013

Location: Madrid


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

Yesterday, the European Commission released a communication on the state of European fish stocks, and its guidelines for proposing fishing opportunities for 2014. Oceana is concerned by the stark imbalance between the state of European fish stocks in the Atlantic, where they have seen a marked recovery and 39% are considered overfished, and in the Mediterranean, where stocks are buried in a cycle of overexploitation and 88% remain overfished. The marine conservation organisation urges Member States to set fishing opportunities according to MSY, and to follow a precautionary approach.

”Although there has been a strong improvement in the status of the Atlantic stocks, the stalemate of overexploitation in the Mediterranean is a disgrace,” stated Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “The main instruments we have for recovering fish stocks are catch limits and effort restrictions. Setting these at sustainable levels will be the first test of the recent agreements reached under the CFP.”

With negotiations on the new Common Fishery Policy entering their final phase, Member States and the Parliament have agreed to rebuild stocks, phase out discards and strengthen the environmental protection components of the legislation. The decisions made when setting fishing opportunities for next year will show just how willing Member States are to apply the principles they have agreed to. 

Javier Lopez, Marine Scientist at Oceana, concluded: “Reaching sustainable catch levels by 2015 should be the guiding principle in setting fishing opportunities for 2014, and should anticipate the formal adoption of the new CFP. This is the major step that the EU should take now, not only to ensure consistency with recent policy decisions but also to replenish European seas.”