Report | May 31, 2010

Deep sea species: The European Union must decide between science and the private interest of the fishing industry

The European Commission proposal with regard to the setting and distribution of quotas for deep-sea marine species (Com (2004) 746) represents a significant step forward in complying with the European Union’s commitments and the new Common Fisheries Policy.

The proposal follows a number of scientific recommendations, many of which have been repeatedly ignored for years, and even applies the precautionary principle to stocks for which information is scarce but whose tendencies are showing disturbing signs.

Of equal importance is the call it makes to non-EU states, with which fishing grounds and stocks are shared, to adopt similar and complementary measures. The fleets with the largest catches of these deep-sea species come from Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, not forgetting Russia, which was a pioneer in this type of fishery, although its fishing potential is currently considerably depleted.

Oceana welcomes the Commission proposal and wishes to contribute to this important debate by offering a series of comments on the Commission’s proposal along with a reminder of the most recent scientific recommendations.

We trust that, in the debates of the EU Council of Fisheries Ministers, scientific knowledge and not private interests will prevail in guiding political decisions.