Oceana urges European fishing Ministers to guarantee the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources

Council of Ministers must go beyond the Commission’s proposal on fishing opportunities for 2011, which ignores 30% of scientific advice.

Press Release Date: December 13, 2010

Location: Madrid


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

The population status of many commercial species, including Atlantic cod and herring, is already alarming.

Oceana, the international marine conservation organization, strongly urges the Council of Ministers not to water down the European Commission’s proposal on fishing opportunities for 2011 during negotiations on December 13th and 14th. Because the current proposal is already insufficient to guarantee the sustainable exploitation of fisheries, Ministers must take bolder steps and go beyond the Commission’s proposed reductions.

Oceana is deeply concerned that pressure from fishing nations will incite the Council of Ministers to weaken the Commission’s proposal, thereby putting at risk the population status of fish stocks, and possibilities for their recovery.

By proposing a TAC[1] reduction for the EU’s most important species, the Commission has made an important although insufficient step toward better management of fish stocks. The Council of Ministers now has the responsibility to improve it,” said Xavier Pastor, Executive Director for Oceana in Europe.The priority is to take into account the scientific advice, because the path to ensure that fishery resources are exploited in a sustainable way is still very long”.

The Commission’s proposal, which was published in November, reduces total catches by 9.3% compared to 2010. Oceana applauds the reduction of TACs for some of EU’s most important species but is concerned that the proposal, which ignores 30% of scientific advice, will be insufficient to set the fishing opportunities at a level which guarantees sustainable exploitation of resources, and to reach the objective of having all stocks at levels of maximum sustainable yield by 2015.

According to Oceana, the state of conservation of some species, especially Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and herring (Clupea harengus), is very alarming, and the choice made to exceed or even go against ICES[2] recommendations, even closure of fisheries, is also particularly worrying. For example, some of the proposed TACs for megrim (Lepidorhombus spp.), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus), and plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) exceed scientific advice by 23%, 56%, 63% and 66%, respectively. In the case of sole (Solea solea), blue ling (Molva dypterigia) and hake (Merluccius merluccius), the proposed TAC increases are unjustified and ignore ICES recommendations.

Oceana recommendations on the 2011 European Commission proposal

[1] Total Allowable Catches

[2] International Council for the Exploration of the Sea