Stocks in trouble according to disappointing world fisheries report card

According to FAO, 87% of world stocks are fully or over-exploited – a 2% increase since the 2010 report.

Press Release Date: July 9, 2012

Location: Madrid


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Today, the FAO released its biennial report on the “State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture”. According to the report, 57% of evaluated stocks are fully exploited with no room for expansion. As 29.9% of total stocks are overexploited, the report considers it unlikely that the Johannesburg international commitment to exploit stocks at levels that can produce Maximum Sustainable Yield by 2015 will be achieved. Oceana is greatly disappointed with the global inaction and weak commitments, most recently seen at the Rio+20 summit and is calling for urgent measures to protect global stocks.

Oceana Board Member and fisheries scientist Dr. Daniel Pauly noted that “not only does FAO summarize the situation of the world marine fisheries as ‘worsening’, but the bright spots, where strict restrictions have allowed stocks to recover are the same few countries (notably the USA and Australia) as in the last assessment, their ‘virtuous’ behavior apparently having found few imitators”.

This timely alarm sounds while EU debates are ongoing around the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. What’s at stake is whether Member States will stand for a sustainable fisheries management by 2015 or opt to disregard the EU’s international commitments.

Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe “How many more of these reports do world leaders and decision makers need to see? The state of European seas is nothing short of shameful. From the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and the Baltic, fish stocks have been systematically overfished, scientific advice has been ignored and habitats are being destroyed. These are simple facts – and yet over and over we see our decision makers unwilling to be brave enough to do the right thing.”

The EU has an opportunity this year to make good on their international commitments to restore their oceans with the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, which has now moved past the council of fisheries ministers and will soon be voted on by the European Parliament.

For more information: FAO Report