Press Releases

Global Ocean Leaders Urge Commissioner Vella To End EU Overfishing

Fish Love: Florence Keith Roach with European Eel

Brussels, 23 May 2018:- Nine global ocean conservation leaders have urged the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, to use his “power, position, and responsibility” to end destructive and wasteful EU overfishing, ahead of the 2020 Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) deadline, and before his mandate expires in 2019.

In a letter received by  Commissioner Vella on May 22, the nine ocean advocates expressed support for the Commissioner in his efforts to end overfishing in European waters, while acknowledging the challenges in overcoming the current status quo – where many stocks continue to be fished above scientific advice.

The letter’s signatories warn that the EU’s reputation as a global fisheries leader on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) has generated an expectation that the EU will get its own house in order – and that correspondingly, failure to end EU overfishing will undermine the success of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy.

“We strongly encourage you to seize the opportunity of the coming months to finally bring the destructive and wasteful act of EU overfishing to an end, in keeping with the CFP deadline”, reads the letter, signed by Kristian Parker of the Oak Foundation, Jane Lubchenco of Oregon State University, Rashid Sumaila of UBC Institute for the Oceans & Fisheries, Torsten Thiele of the Global Ocean Trust, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson of Ocean Collectiv, Pascal Lamy of the Jacques Delors Institute, Enric Sala of the National Geographic Society, Kristina Gjerde of the IUCN Global Marine & Polar Program and photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

“However, battling both the short-term interests and the lack of political will across several member states has delayed ending overfishing of EU stocks. Where science-based fishing limits have been set, healthier fish stocks have flourished, underscoring the power of reform. However, a recent analysis showed that in December 2017, contrary to the goals of the reform, 57 EU fishing limits were set above scientific levels. This unfortunate trend has resulted in only modest year-to-year improvements and – of grave concern to those who care deeply about fisheries – it risks failing to achieve the CFP’s goals by 2015 or 2020”, continues the letter.

“With the 2020 CFP deadline to end overfishing coming up fast, EU fisheries ministers are sailing perilously close to the wind”, said Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard. “Instead of safely reaching sustainable 2020 destination, the EU is in danger of floundering far from shore, thanks to myopic, short-term decision-making that favours the demands of big fishing industry players, over the long term health of fisheries. Commissioner Vella has taken the lead on setting a course towards sustainable EU fisheries, now fisheries ministers must join him in ending Europe’s addiction to overfishing.”

In 2017, an update of the World Bank’s Sunken Billions report estimated that better

management of global fisheries would unlock $83 (€70) billion in additional revenues worldwide. In the EU, millions of tonnes of fish have been discarded at sea [1], and over 40% of Atlantic fish stocks and over 90% of Mediterranean stocks are now overfished [2]. Researchers estimate that by ending overfishing, the EU could increase the amount of fish caught by up to 2 million tonnes per year, which could deliver an increase in net profits in the fishing and processing sectors by €965 million/year and an extra 92,000 jobs [3].

The letter’s authors state that “we stand ready to support faithful implementation of the CFP, for the sake of coastal communities, the ocean and future generations whose economies, livelihoods, culture and food security depend on our generation’s actions”.

The letter can be downloaded from the Our Fish website here.

Notes:

  • EU member state ministers with responsibility for fisheries will decide on fishing limits four times in the course of the autumn:
  1. In October 2018 for Baltic Sea fish stocks;
  2. In November 2018 for Deep Sea fish stocks;
  3. In November 2018 for a number of shared fish stocks with Norway; and
  4. In December 2018 for Atlantic and the North Sea
  • Deep Sea fishing limits are set every second year, so this year’s agreement will be the last before the Common Fisheries Policy target of reaching sustainable fishing limits by 2020 is reached.
  • The ban on discards (Landing Obligation) is of particular importance in 2018, as January 2019 signifies when it should be fully phased in. Key decisions on improving monitoring and control to address widespread non-compliance include:
    • Updating of Specific Control Inspection Programs for the Baltic, North Sea, Western Waters and Mediterranean regions, by the Commission and EU member states, voting in September 2018;
    • Review of the Control Regulation, proposal from Commission end of May, followed by a trilogue process.

[1] Based on figures from: European Commission, (2011). COMMISSION STAFF WORKING PAPER IMPACT ASSESSMENT Accompanying the document Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Common Fisheries Policy [repealing Regulation (EC) N° 2371/2002]. Viewed at: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/registre/docs_autres_institutions/commission_europeenne/sec/2011/0891/COM_SEC(2011)0891_EN.pdf

[2] Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Monitoring the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (STECF-Adhoc-18-01). Viewed at: https://stecf.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/43805/2092142/STECF+18-01+adhoc+-+CFP+Monitoring+2018.pdf

[3] Oceana (2017), Healthy Oceans Are Good For Business. Viewed at: http://eu.oceana.org/en/publications/reports/healthy-fisheries-are-good-business

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Our Fish Communications Advisor, dave@our.fish +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Program Director, rebecca@our.fish +34 657669425

About Our Fish

Our Fish works to ensure European member states implement the Common Fisheries Policy and achieve sustainable fish stocks in European waters.

Our Fish works with organisations and individuals across Europe to deliver a powerful and unwavering message: overfishing must be stopped, and solutions put in place that ensure Europe’s waters are fished sustainably. Our Fish demands that the Common Fisheries Policy be properly enforced, and Europe’s fisheries effectively governed.

Our Fish calls on all EU Member States to set annual fishing limits at sustainable limits based on scientific advice, and to ensure that their fishing fleets prove that they are fishing sustainably, through monitoring and full documentation of their catch.

http://our.fish

Follow Our Fish on Twitter: @our_fish

Why is Deadpool 2’s Josh Brolin naked, holding a fish?

Photo caption: Josh Brolin supports the Our Fish campaign to end European overfishing by posing with a fish for Fishlove © Fishlove/Alan Gelati

London 14 May 2018:- As the Marvel superhero movie Deadpool 2 opens in cinemas around the world, why is Hollywood star Josh Brolin, who plays Nathan Summers/Cable, posing naked with a fish on his Instagram account?

Brolin’s mysterious post, which has attracted more than 100,000 likes, shows the actor holding a sustainably caught wahoo (Ono) from Hawaii, as part of the Fishlove photography project, which raises awareness of unsustainable fishing practices that are destroying the earth’s marine ecosystem.

Brolin’s image is one of many to come in 2018, from Fishlove, in partnership with Our Fish, which campaigns to ensure European governments achieve sustainable fish stocks in European waters.

“The series we’re putting together now will feature some of the most recognisable faces on the planet,” says Nicholas Röhl, co-founder of Fishlove with Greta Scacchi, who has recently returned from his first trip to Los Angeles. “Fishlove is a visual petition by actors and well-known personalities who want overfishing to end,” he says.

Fishlove has already attracted the support of Sir Ben Kingsley, Sir Michael Gambon, Sir Richard Branson, Melanie Laurent, Fiona Shaw, Terry Gilliam, Kenzo, Dame Judi Dench, Emilia Fox, Mark Rylance, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Imelda Staunton – all of whom have posed with fish, in a call to save our seas from overexploitation.

“The Year 2020 sounds like a dystopian Hollywood movie – yet this is the deadline set by the EU for ending overfishing of fish stocks and we are now hurtling towards it, with our governments asleep at the wheel”,said Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard. “Overfishing and climate change are putting fish stocks under pressure, and threatening the health of ocean ecosystems and food security.”

“Even though a ban on discarding fish is being phased in, behaviour at sea hasn’t changed: there are still tens of thousands of tonnes of fish being thrown overboard in European waters. Every EU country must enforce the discard ban and put an end to illegal and unreported discarding, and end overfishing. Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and the UK are the most important players and must work together to reach European and international targets – and return European fisheries to a healthy state.”

A petition to end overfishing and discarding, and protect European marine environments, has over 179,000 signatures. View the petition

Images

Preview image is available here. For a high resolution image, contact Nicholas Rohl, Fishlove, nicky@fishlove.co.uk

Photographer AND caption MUST be added to any usage of this image: 

Photo caption: Josh Brolin supports the Our Fish campaign to end European overfishing by posing with a fish for Fishlove © Fishlove/Alan Gelati

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, dave@our.fish +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Program Director, rebecca@our.fish +34 657669425

Nicholas Rohl, Fishlove, nicky@fishlove.co.uk, +44 7941 492 305

About Fishlove

Fishlove was set up in 2009 by Nicholas Röhl, co-owner of MOSHIMO, and actress Greta Scacchi to raise awareness of the unsustainable fishing practices that are destroying the earth’s marine ecosystem.

Since then, the Fishlove images have succeeded in bringing the subject of over-fishing to the front covers and pages of the world’s media many times over. It is a visual petition of amazing people, including Sir Ben Kingsley, Sir Michael Gambon, Sir Richard Branson, Melanie Laurent, Fiona Shaw, Terry Gilliam, Kenzo, Dame Judi Dench, Emilia Fox, Mark Rylance, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Imelda Staunton, to save our seas.

In acknowledgment of the central role Fishlove has played in promoting fish conversation as part of the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy in 2013, a major and influential exhibition of the portraits was held at the European Commission in Brussels at the invitation of Maria Damanaki, then EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

Helena Bonham-Carter’s image with a tuna, released in 2015, is credited with having helped persuade the UK government to commit to establishing some of the largest, fully protected marine reserves on earth.

All of the fish shown in the photographs are commercially fished, although some species shown are regarded by scientists as being over-fished and threatened. Fishlove believes that the use of these fish in these photographs is justified so as to highlight what species could be lost if overfishing continues.

None of the fish depicted in the photographs have been specifically caught for the purposes of making these photographs, and would have been landed irrespective of whether these photographs were taken or not. Other than in very unusual circumstances, the fish photographed are eaten afterwards. The fish in this image was sourced from Santa Monica Seafood

Fishlove is produced by MOSHIMO, an independent Japanese restaurant in Brighton co-owned by Nicholas Röhl and Karl Jones. Famous for its Fishlove campaign, the restaurant has also won a prestigious PETA award for its promotion of plant-based eating.

https://fishlove.co.uk/

Follow on:

Twitter @fishlove2020 Instagram @fishlovecampaign Facebook @fishlovecampaign

 

About Our Fish

Our Fish works to ensure European member states implement the Common Fisheries Policy and achieve sustainable fish stocks in European waters.

Our Fish works with organisations and individuals across Europe to deliver a powerful and unwavering message: overfishing must be stopped, and solutions put in place that ensure Europe’s waters are fished sustainably. Our Fish demands that the Common Fisheries Policy be properly enforced, and Europe’s fisheries effectively governed.

Our Fish calls on all EU Member States to set annual fishing limits at sustainable limits based on scientific advice, and to ensure that their fishing fleets prove that they are fishing sustainably, through monitoring and full documentation of their catch.

http://our.fish

Follow Our Fish on Twitter: @our_fish

EU Eel Evaluation Roadmap: NGO submission

Evaluation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1100/2007 of 18 September 2007 establishing measures for the recovery of the stock of European eel.

“We strongly support the upcoming evaluation and welcome this opportunity to provide feedback on the effectiveness and implementation of the EU Eel Regulation.”

The population of European eel has declined dramatically since the 1970s*. Recruitment of juvenile eels remains extremely low despite the joint EU management framework, which has now been in place for 10 years. The state of European eel remains critical and further action is urgently needed.

Earlier evaluations indicate that the current EU management framework is insufficient and show that implementation of the regulation and of the national eel management plans has been delayed, piecemeal and focused on efforts with little discernible impact on the recovery of the European eel population. Notably, it has been very difficult to measure progress against the main target – at least 40% escapement of silver eels. While a strong focus of resources has been placed on restocking of eel, there is no evidence that this effectively contributes to future recruitment. Most countries maintain a directed fishery, and illegal catches and trafficking of glass eels remain a major problem.

Habitat loss and deteriorating water quality also affect eel. The latest assessment of the implementation of the Water Framework Directive shows poor status for around 60% of surface water bodies and a massive presence of migration barriers**.

Since the Eel Regulation came into force, some major changes in related EU policies have taken place. Notably, the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy resulted in the new commitment to restoring the biomass of all harvested fish stocks above levels capable of producing Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). MSY is also used as a key criterion to assess Good Environmental Status under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. We are therefore particularly pleased to see the evaluation’s focus on coherence with other EU legislation, as well as with international instruments.

We ask the European Commission to ensure that this evaluation of the effectiveness and coherence of the measures taken to aid the recovery of European eel assesses all aspects of eel management and potential options for the future, including:

  • The objective of 40% escapement of silver eels and whether it is in coherence with the precautionary principle and the MSY objective
  • The effectiveness of fisheries closures/restrictions for all life stages
  • The targets and indicators set in the national eel management plans, as well as the national monitoring to measure progress
  • Reporting and data collection obligations
  • Restocking practices and the associated overall effectiveness in terms of conservation
  • Progress on measures to address other major anthropogenic impacts on eel, primarily habitat restoration and removal of migration barriers
  • The use of public funds (EMFF) and whether it has aided eel recovery
  • The substantial illegal trade of European eel outside of and inside the EU and its effect on eel conservation
  • Control and enforcement issues related to the entire chain, from glass eel fisheries to consumption of eel products, including more coordinated action between the Member States’ enforcement agencies
  • The implementation of EU commitments within the framework of CMS and CITES

Bearing all of the above in mind, we look forward to a thorough evaluation of all aspects of the European eel management framework, and to future opportunities to engage with this process.

It is our hope that through implementation of urgent measures and better management and protection in the future, we can enable long-term recovery and sustainable exploitation of European eel, but we note that we are a very long way from there today. 

Submitted by: ClientEarth, European Anglers Alliance, FishSec, Good Fish Foundation, Our Fish, Pew Charitable Trusts, Seas At Risk and WWF

Download as PDF: Eel Evaluation Roadmap NGO submission

*www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2017/2017/ele.2737.nea.pdf
**www.eea.europa.eu/themes/water/status-and-monitoring/state-of-surface-waters

 

 

Background: EU begins evaluation of eel management

On 13 April 2018, the European Commission released a Roadmap for the upcoming evaluation of the Eel Regulation. The evaluation is set to help the Commission decide whether to review the regulation or focus on improving implementation. Stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on issues related to the implementation of the Eel Regulation until 11 May 2018, and then in a second consultation in October.

The so called Evaluation and Fitness Check Roadmap of Council Regulation (EC) No 1100/2007 of 18 September 2007 establishing measures for the recovery of the stock of European eel provides background on the issue and explains the process and focus for the evaluation. The intention is to inform stakeholders and enable them to participate effectively in the process as well as provide views and possible solutions for better eel management. It is the first step of a process that may take several years.

The evaluation process started in Spring 2018, with a final report expected in the first quarter of 2019. It consists of three parts: an external evaluation of the management framework, an ICES assessment of the biological aspects and a Commission review of the use of public funds to support implementation. The first public feedback period (open 13 April to 11 May) is intended to inform the initial phase of the evaluation, whereas the second public consultation in October will give stakeholders a chance to reflect on some of the initial results and provide views on potential measures.

First evaluation found significant delays

This will be the second EU evaluation since the Eel Regulation came into force in September 2007. The previous evaluation took place after the first national progress reports were submitted in 2012 and a report was presented to the Council and European Parliament in 2014 (in line with requirements in the regulation (Art. 9.2)).

The first evaluation found that the status of the European eel remained critical and in need of urgent action and that the implementation of the Eel Regulation had suffered significant delays. It also found that most of the management measures taken were related to fisheries, whereas other measures such as improving habitats or controlling predators and parasites had been postponed or only partially implemented. Altogether, it was difficult to assess progress towards the main objective of increasing silver eel escapement due to all the delays and the long timeframes involved. It also highlighted that few countries had reached their restocking targets and there was concern that restocking practices may not contribute to increased escapement but instead sustained the fishing for eel.

This second evaluation is therefore crucial in terms of assessing the effects of management measures, as more time has passed. Also, since the previous Commission report, the reformed CFP (Regulation (EU) 1380/2013) objective of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) has been applied to stock management.

Effectiveness and coherence in focus

The emphasis of this evaluation is on the effectiveness and coherence of the measures taken to aid the recovery of European eel, in particular through the national Eel Management Plans. A number of areas are listed, including the design and implementation of restocking efforts, the management of glass eel fisheries, enforcement and monitoring both in marine and inland waters, coherence with other EU legislation and international instruments, including CITES and CMS, as well as the use of public money from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to aid implementation.

The Commission is now awaiting Member State reports on the use of EMFF funds, implementation of the Water Framework Directive and, in particular, the national eel management plans in order to gather the information needed for the external and internal evaluations. ICES has put out an extended data call on eel to support its work.

When the evaluation report is finalised in early 2019, the Commission will make its decision on the way forward, probably including an Impact Assessment of potential measures. If the regulation needs to be revised, this is a longer process with proposals for amendments that will need to be discussed and agreed between the Council and the European Parliament. It could take years, particularly considering that 2019 is the year of European Parliament elections, the appointment of a new European Commission and Brexit.

Meanwhile, European eel remains listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN, trade is restricted under CITES Annex II and efforts are ongoing to support its conservation under the Convention on the conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). European eel is still in need of urgent actions to support its recovery.

A Commission attempt last year to close all EU fishing of adult eels – arguably the most rapid way to aid increased reproduction – was not supported by the Member States. Instead, a joint Declaration on strengthening the recovery for European eel was agreed, committing Member States to step up their actions, including a review of current restocking practices and fighting illegal fishing and trade. In the context of fishing opportunities for 2018, a 3-month ban on fishing for European eel of 12 cm or more is to be implemented by the Member States between 1 September 2018 and 31 January 2019. .

Across the wide geographical spread of European eel, responses to its plight have been slow, patchy and largely ineffective. The first reports of substantial decline came already in the 1970s, but it took over three decades to get agreement on a management framework for the European Union and a listing under CITES Annex II to restrict trade.

The European eel regulation (EC 1100/2007) was finally adopted in 2007. It is a framework regulation with an overarching objective (Art. 2.4) – 40 % escapement of silver eel biomass compared to pre-anthropogenic levels – and an agreed set of measures to use. It requires Member States to create and implement Eel Management Plans for each “eel river basin”, and to submit progress reports every third year, beginning in June 2012.

The implementation of the eel management plans has been riddled with problems, including delays, a lack of reporting, a misuse of measures to support fishing rather than conservation and a very substantial illegal trade in glass eels with countries outside of the EU. Against this background, the upcoming evaluation is incredibly important.

Photo: Actress Florence Keith-Roach “98.4% of the European eel population is already GONE. Continuing to fish for them is like hunting pandas!”

Photo credit: @Fishlove/Jillian Edelstein, fishlove.co.uk. Check out this story on the collaboration between Our Fish and Fish Love.

Reaction: Why is the EU Pursuing Embarrassment Instead of Sustainable Fisheries Management?

Brussels, 25 April 2018:- Responding to findings published in the newly published STECF (Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries) report on progress towards implementation of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, which suggest that the EU will fail to meet its own 2020 deadline, Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard said:

“The STEFC report has confirmed what we already know – that the EU is not on track to meet its own 2020 deadline for sustainable fish stocks – yet the fishing industry keeps on lobbying for continued overfishing. Instead of achieving global stardom for sustainable fisheries management, the EU is in danger of international embarrassment, due to a lack of the leadership needed to deliver the reformed Common Fisheries Policy.”

The STECF report notes that stock status has significantly improved since 2003, but that the rate of progress has slowed in the last few years, with more than 50% of stocks remaining overfished or outside safe biological limits. The results are in line with what was reported in 2017, with progress achieved until 2016 too slow to ensure that all stocks will be rebuilt and managed according to scientific advice by 2020. The Mediterranean remains a particularly bleak picture, with business-as-usual maintaining severe overfishing and depleted stocks.

“With national political efforts being driven by fishing industry influences, it’s no surprise that EU-wide progress to end overfishing has slowed. Yet with recent low fuel prices helping EU fishing fleets make record profits, now is the time for the transition to pain-free fish stock recovery.”

“By failing to manage what is in effect an extractive industry, EU fisheries ministers are providing the fishing industry with the means for its own demise. Instead, they must end overfishing, in order to ensure the future health of EU fish stocks, the marine environment, and realise the social and economic benefits for all EU citizens, who are the rightful custodians of Europe’s seas.”

“This year, the EU Commission and member state Fisheries Ministers still have a chance to turn the ship around; they can increase the number of fish stocks they manage based on scientific advice, or face the uncomfortable realisation that they do not deserve to sit with global leaders at the sustainable fisheries table”.

ENDS

NOTES:

Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Monitoring the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (STECF-Adhoc-18-01)

According to the European Commission, “the implementation of the CFP requires the assistance of highly qualified scientific personnel, particularly in the application of marine and fisheries biology, fishing gear technology, fisheries economics, fisheries governance, ecosystem effects of fisheries, aquaculture or similar disciplines, or in the field of collection, management and use of fisheries and aquaculture data”. STEFC members “are nominated by the European Commission from highly qualified scientific experts having competence in these fields”.

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Our Fish Communications Advisor, dave@our.fish +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Program Director, rebecca@our.fish +34 657669425

About Our Fish

Our Fish works to ensure European member states implement the Common Fisheries Policy and achieve sustainable fish stocks in European waters.

Our Fish works with organisations and individuals across Europe to deliver a powerful and unwavering message: overfishing must be stopped, and solutions put in place that ensure Europe’s waters are fished sustainably. Our Fish demands that the Common Fisheries Policy be properly enforced, and Europe’s fisheries effectively governed.

Our Fish calls on all EU Member States to set annual fishing limits at sustainable limits based on scientific advice, and to ensure that their fishing fleets prove that they are fishing sustainably, through monitoring and full documentation of their catch.

http://our.fish

Follow Our Fish on Twitter: @our_fish

 

Save Our Seas: 172,120 EU Citizens Deliver Demand to Environment and Fisheries Ministers

Sofia, Bulgaria, 10 April 2018:- As the Council of EU Environment Ministers meeting opens today in Sofia, 172,120 signatures from EU citizens calling for the EU to protect our seas and end overfishing were received by State Secretary for Environment of Sweden, Per Ängquist.

A joint initiative by campaigning organisations Our Fish, Seas at Risk and WeMove.EU, the petition provides a platform for concerned EU citizens to call on EU member states to implement the laws they have already agreed upon to have clean and healthy seas, and to end overfishing by 2020 at the latest.

The text of the petition, launched in October 2017, reads:

“It’s time to stick to the commitment you made to save and protect our seas by 2020 under the EU Marine Directive. More needs to be done to end overfishing, and fish are not waste and should not be discarded. At least 30% of EU seas need to become Marine Protected Areas and further ambitious measures should be taken to achieve ecologically diverse, clean and healthy seas as prescribed by EU law.”

“European Union member countries wrote and signed up to laws that could protect our oceans and end overfishing by 2020 if correctly implemented. But so far they are blatantly ignoring their own promises, while our marine ecosystems continue to be destroyed. With only a couple of years left to act, the challenges are getting bigger every day”, said Alice Belin, Marine Policy Officer for Seas At Risk.

“EU Environment and Fisheries Ministers are making decisions that impact on our ocean, our food, and our communities. It’s time those decisions started following scientific advice and EU law, rather than the narrow profit-based interests of a small number of fishing industry heavyweights,” said Our Fish Program Director Rebecca Hubbard.  

Over 40% of fish stocks in the North-East Atlantic are still overfished, while a staggering 90% of EU fish stocks in the Mediterranean are overfished. Throughout EU waters millions of fish are still being wasted at sea, despite the EU discard ban introduced in 2014.

Wildlife protection is a joke: We still only have 9% of seas in Marine Protected Areas around Europe and not 30% as recommended by scientists. Most of the existing protected areas are “Paper Parks” with only a small percentage fully protected.

“People from all over Europe are calling on the EU Environment and Fisheries Ministers to take urgent action – immediately – if they are to achieve the ecologically diverse, clean and healthy seas they promised by 2020. This must include ending overfishing, and protection of at least 30% of EU seas”, said Jörg Rohwedder, Senior Campaigner at WeMove.EU.

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Our Fish Communications Advisor, dave@our.fish +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Program Director, rebecca@our.fish +34 657669425

Alice Belin, Seas At Risk, Marine Policy officer abelin@seas-at-risk.org +32 2 893 0921

About Our Fish

Our Fish works to ensure European member states implement the Common Fisheries Policy and achieve sustainable fish stocks in European waters.

Our Fish works with organisations and individuals across Europe to deliver a powerful and unwavering message: overfishing must be stopped, and solutions put in place that ensure Europe’s waters are fished sustainably. Our Fish demands that the Common Fisheries Policy be properly enforced, and Europe’s fisheries effectively governed.

Our Fish calls on all EU Member States to set annual fishing limits at sustainable limits based on scientific advice, and to ensure that their fishing fleets prove that they are fishing sustainably, through monitoring and full documentation of their catch.
http://our.fish

Follow Our Fish on Twitter: @our_fish

About Seas At Risk
Seas At Risk is an umbrella organisation of environmental NGOs from across Europe that promotes ambitious policies for marine protection at European and international level. http://www.seas-at-risk.org/

Seas At Risk on Twitter: @SeasAtRisk

About WeMove.EU

WeMove.EU is a citizens’ movement, campaigning for a better Europe; for a European Union committed to social and economic justice, environmental sustainability and citizen-led democracy. We are people from all walks of life, who call Europe our home – whether we were born in Europe or elsewhere.
https://www.wemove.eu

WeMove.EU on Twitter: @wemoveEU

Notes:

Petition: https://act.wemove.eu/campaigns/save-eu-seas

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVOxQe0Zu5A

Photos: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/m6s2u2hcgaz84o2/AAD-srbLxAbl20oo-TNHqbvya?dl=0

 

 

Letter from NGOs to Danish Fisheries Minister Karen Ellemann

The following letter was sent to Denmark’s Minister for Fisheries and Equal Opportunities and Minister for Nordic Cooperation on February 21st, 2018.

Download PDF Version of NGO letter to Minister Ellemann re LO monitoring and control

Minister Karen Ellemann

Minister for Fisheries and Equal Opportunities and Minister for Nordic Cooperation, Denmark

Via email: flnminister@um.dk
21 February 2018
Re: Ending illegal, unreported discarding of fish by the Danish fishing industry

Dear Minister Ellemann,

We are writing to you to express our concern regarding the illegal and unreported discarding being carried out in the Baltic Sea by the Danish fishing fleet, as recently documented by scientists and NGOs, and reported by DR (1,2). We appreciate your acknowledgement of the problem, and we urge you to implement the solutions needed to reduce wasteful and illegal discarding, including significantly increasing at-sea monitoring and control.

Discarding of fish not only wastes resources, it increases fishery costs, threatens endangered species, and impacts our food webs. The growing awareness of these threats to Europe’s oceans led to almost 900,000 people supporting a ban on discards during the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, and motivated the European Parliament and the EU Council to legislate the Landing Obligation in 2013, in order to eliminate discards and drive change in fishing practices.

The failure to properly enforce the discard ban in the Baltic Sea not only jeopardises the sustainability of fish stocks and undermines scientific advice, it introduces illegal activity into our fisheries. This must change: it is not acceptable for the fishing industry to continue to indulge in blatant law breaking, threatening the future of both our fisheries and those that depend on it for their livelihoods.

Scientists and experts from countries with effective discard bans have recommended that EU member states substantially increase at-sea monitoring and control to ensure compliance of their fleet (3). However, following the Landing Obligation coming into force in the Baltic Sea, Denmark actually decreased at-sea inspections from 2015 to 2016 by ten per cent (4). Although widespread non-compliance with the landing obligation in the Baltic Sea is known by fisheries managers and control officers, just two fines were given for discarding in three years, demonstrating the inadequacy and dysfunctional nature of the current control system.

Demersal trawlers and seines were responsible for 97% of discards of Eastern Baltic cod in 2016 (5), yet commercial adoption of selective gears has been slow. Denmark’s trawl industry has had three years to adapt to the introduction of the Landing Obligation in the Baltic Sea; the ongoing discarding equates to nothing less than wilful, illegal, unreported activity, and can no longer be brushed aside with excuses.

The EU Control Regulation is currently under review and provides an opportunity to introduce the compulsory use of Remote Electronic Monitoring in the entire EU fleet, ensuring a fair playing field and improving compliance with the law.

Denmark has been a leading developer of remote electronic monitoring (fully documented fisheries) projects in the past, and improvements in technology, decreases in costs, and its adoption by governments in other parts of the world means implementation is not only achievable, but likely to be more efficient and effective than current monitoring systems (6). It also enables vessels to demonstrate they are operating in accordance with best practice and improves data collection to support stock assessment and management decisions.

Now, we believe the Danish government has an obligation and the opportunity to take the lead on ensuring that EU fisheries rules are respected by all stakeholders. We are confident that as the new Minister of Fisheries in Denmark you can drive better practices within our fisheries, and be an example for other European nations.

We urge you to act now, so that Denmark can:

  1.  Ensure undersized fish are not caught in the first place, by requiring the use of more selective gear types;
  2. Implement proven, cost-effective monitoring onboard all vessels above 10m length and in segments with an increased risk of discarding (EFCA classification) in the Danish fishing fleet, e.g through the installation of Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) and closed-circuit video surveillance;
  3. Increase inspections and control at sea; and
  4. Begin re-allocating quota to those in the fishing industry who have minimal impact, such as small-scale passive-gear fishers, and are complying with the law.

We would welcome an opportunity to discuss these issues with you in further detail. To arrange a meeting, please contact Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish.

Yours sincerely,

Rebecca Hubbard
Program Director,Our Fish

Birgitte Lesanner
Head, Greenpeace Denmark

Bo Øksnebjerg
CEO, WWF DK

Conrad Stralka
Executive Director, BalticSea2020

Jan Isakson
Director
Fisheries Secretariat

Henning Mørk Jørgensen
Water Policy Officer
Danmarks Naturfredningsforening

Erik Bjørn Olsen
Seniorconsultant, Levende Hav

Copies to:

Ib Poulsen, Danish People’s Party
Trine Torp, Socialistisk Folkeparti
Simon Kollerup, Socialdemokratiet
Andreas Steenberg, Medlemssekretær (RV)
Ida Auken, Radikale Venstre
Soren Egge Rasmussen, Enhedslisten
Maria Reumert Gjerding, Enhedslisten
Christian Poll, Alternativet

Footnotes:
1 https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/penge/forskere-fiskere-smider-ulovligt-1300-ton-torsk-ud

2 Our Fish, 2017, Thrown Away: How illegal discarding in the Baltic Sea is failing EU fisheries and citizens. http://our.fish/en/2017/11/13/thrown-away-how-illegal-discarding-in-the-baltic-sea-is-failing-eu-fisheries-and-citizens/

3 Agreed record of fisheries consultations between Norway and the European Union for 2018.
https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/sites/fisheries/files/2018-agreed-record-eu-norway-north-sea-12-2017.pdf

4 Danish Agrifish Agency, 2016, Annual report on inspection of commercial and recreational fisheries 2016, Ministry of Environment and Food in Denmark.

5 ICES, 2017. Report of the Baltic Fisheries Assessment Working Group (WGBFAS). ICES CM 2017/ACOM:11.

6 WWF, 2017, Remote Electronic Monitoring: Why camera technology is a cost-effective and robust solution to improving UK fisheries management. https://www.wwf.org.uk/sites/default/files/2017- 10/Remote%20Electronic%20Monitoring%20in%20UK%20Fisheries%20Management_WWF.pdf

EU Parliament Votes to Ban Electric Pulse Fishing – Our Fish Response

EU Parliament Votes to Ban Electric Pulse Fishing – Our Fish Response

Brussels, 16 January 2018: – Responding to news that MEPs voted 402 to 232 for a prohibition on electric pulse fishing in European waters as part of Technical Measures Regulation, Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard said:

“Today’s vote by the European Parliament to stop the aggressive expansion of electric pulse fishing is a huge win for European seas, low impact fishers and the public. It also shows that new fishing methods must be studied on the basis of independent science before they can be pushed out for commercial use. Instead of developing another industrial fishery with high exploitation capacity, EU governments must get back to the urgent job of ending overfishing, and delivering truly sustainable fisheries management that benefits our marine ecosystems and coastal fishing communities.”

Notes:

French-based NGO BLOOM has led the campaign to end electric pulse fishing in Europe, with 18 NGOs and fishing groups. For more information see http://www.bloomassociation.org/en/media/blooms-press-releases/

European Parliament press release: New fisheries rules: add a ban on electric pulse fishing, say MEPs

See also: Electric fishing: new revelations on a European scandal

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Our Fish Communications Advisor, dave@our.fish +34 691826764
Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Program Director, rebecca@our.fish +34 657669425

About Our Fish

Our Fish works to ensure European member states implement the Common Fisheries Policy and achieve sustainable fish stocks in European waters.

Our Fish works with organisations and individuals across Europe to deliver a powerful and unwavering message: overfishing must be stopped, and solutions put in place that ensure Europe’s waters are fished sustainably. Our Fish demands that the Common Fisheries Policy be properly enforced, and Europe’s fisheries effectively governed.

Our Fish calls on all EU Member States to set annual fishing limits at sustainable limits based on scientific advice, and to ensure that their fishing fleets prove that they are fishing sustainably, through monitoring and full documentation of their catch.

http://our.fish

Follow Our Fish on Twitter: @our_fish

Electric fishing: new revelations on a European scandal

8 January 2018: As the European Parliament prepares to vote on whether to restore the 1998 ban on electric fishing or to authorise its wide use throughout Europe, a group of NGOs and fisher organizations[1] have sent a joint letter to the European Commission revealing a compromising document, which questions the morality of its 2006 proposal to lift the ban on electric fishing.[i] The letter reveals that expert scientific advice to the Commission was blatantly ignored and requests the European Commission immediately withdraw all provisions concerning electric fishing from its legislative proposal on the Technical Measures Regulation,[ii] which will be voted by the European Parliament on 16 January 2018.

Electric fishing consists of equipping trawl fishing nets with electrodes. When they are dragged along the seabed, an electrical current sends shocks into the sediment that cause a muscular convulsion in fish, forcing them out of the sand and into the fishing net. This indiscriminate fishing method enables the fishing industry to catch fish more easily, and to save on fuel, but at the cost of huge destruction to marine ecosystems, and to small-scale fisheries.

In December 2006, the European Commission proposed to grant derogations allowing Member States to practice electric fishing, despite the 1998 prohibition to use destructive fishing methods such as fishing with explosives, poison or electric current. The EU Council immediately adopted the Commission’s proposal.[iii] The resulting Regulation[iv] justified this decision by referring to supposedly favourable scientific advice.[v] In this case, the scientific justification was of particular importance because the EU institutions were preparing to break their own law by lifting a ban. Electric fishing is widely recognized as destructive and has already been banned in most fishing nations throughout the world, including China.

With no precise reference, locating the scientific advice among thousands of pages of scientific reports was virtually impossible, but BLOOM eventually found the document: a STECF (Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries) Report from 6–10 November 2006.[vi] Contrary to the December 2006 European Regulation, which considers that “fishing with beam trawl using electrical pulse current should be allowed“, the scientific advice dated one month earlier warns against “a number of issues that need to be resolved before any derogation can be granted“.[vii] Thus, not only has the scientific body of the European Commission never approved such derogations, but it even explicitly advised the European Commission against granting any. Under the pressure of Dutch fishing lobbies, the European Commission decided not only to ignore its own committee of experts but also to falsely claim scientific guidance in support of its decision to revoke the ban on electric fishing.

This move and the Council decision to adopt the Commission’s proposal constitute a political scandal and a direct violation of the Code of Conduct for Commissioners[viii] which states that “The Members of the Commission must indeed discharge their duties in the general interest of the Union, without seeking nor taking instructions from any government or from any other body”. Whether it is the Commissioner or the Commission’s services that are responsible for this proposal and subsequent proposals to grant derogations is irrelevant: the Commission needs to act urgently to fix the problems it has thus created.

Disastrous socio-economic and environmental consequences

This dubious 2006 decision has had serious consequences for both marine ecosystems and humans. Not only is the seabed impacted by huge industrial nets but marine organisms are brutalized – electrocution causes fracture of the spine, bruising and burns. Artisanal fishers are direct victims of electric trawling. The platform for European artisanal fishermen “LIFE” (Low Impact Fishers of Europe) has gathered fisher testimonials online about the state of the marine environment after the passage of electric trawl nets. In the North of France, gillnetters are aware that the vote on 16 January will affect the very survival of many small fishing businesses.Haut du formulaire While artisanal gillnetters generate a maximum fish discard rate of 6%,[ix] they are penalised by European institutions that, against all objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy, favour electric trawling even though it generates 10 times more discards (50-70%).[x]

But that’s not all.

A political and financial scandal

The 2006 Commission and Council decision also has very serious financial implications. By giving a hitherto prohibited, destructive fishing method the status of “experimental”[xi] and “innovative”[xii] fishing, the Dutch industrial lobbies have been able to claim millions of euros of public money to equip their beam trawl fleet with electrodes. A simple semantic shift has allowed massive public funding for one of the least-sustainable fishing methods.

Missing critical pieces

As things stand, the scale of the financial scandal cannot be fully grasped because the Netherlands fails to publish the file of public subsidies allocated from 2007 to 2014,[xiii] making it impossible to calculate the total subsidies granted to electric fishing since the introduction of derogations. However, BLOOM has managed to estimate the subsidies allocated since August 2015. In just over two years, at least 5.7 million euros of public subsidies have been allocated for the development of industrial electric fishing fleets in the Netherlands, of which 3.8 million euros come from European funds (67% of the total).[xiv] These public subsidies have been allocated under the titles of “research”, “innovation” and “best practices”.

Also missing is an answer from the European Commission to the complaint that BLOOM filed against the Netherlands about the illegal allocation of licences by Dutch authorities (much higher than regulatory thresholds). How are Members of the European Parliament supposed to decide on a dossier when crucial elements are not disclosed by European institutions?

In every aspect, electric fishing shames Europe.

Fishermen and NGOs demand urgent action

On the basis of these revelations, the undersigned organizations[2] sent a formal letter to the European Commission calling the December 2006 decision to lift the ban on electric fishing in Europe “arbitrary, harmful and illegitimate”. They ask the European Commission to expeditiously withdraw all provisions relative to electric ‘pulse’ fishing from its legislative proposal on the “Technical Measures” Regulation, which was addressed to the European Parliament and Council.

Today, the Commission does not have to stand by a past, unacceptable and immoral arbitration. Removing all references to electric fishing in its legislative proposal is the only way to give credibility to European institutions and to implement the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to which the European Union has fully subscribed.

The European Commission has a duty to repair the problems it has created.

***

Haut du formulaire

On 10 January 2018, BLOOM will co-host an event at the European Parliament entitled: “Electric Fishing: The European Exception”

Press conference: 9-9.30 (News Room ASP “Anna Politkovskaya”)

Surprise “Artivist” performance: 9.45 am in front of Forum Bar on 3rd Floor (Altiero Spinelli Building)

Multi-stakeholder Press Conference: 10-12.30 (Room ASP 01G3)

For Parliament press accreditation, click here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/fr/press-room/accreditation

More information

For more information, read “Electric ‘Pulse’ Fishing: Why It Should Be Banned

To understand the detailed construction of European law on electric fishing, read this page.

To learn more about electric fishing, visit this page
BLOOM’s European petition asking MEPs to definitively ban electric fishing in Europe.

 

MEDIA CONTACTS (languages spoken in brackets)

BLOOM

Claire Nouvian (French – English – Spanish) – Chair and Founder
Frédéric Le Manach (French – English) Scientific Director
Inès de Agueda (Spanish)
Domitilla Senni (Italian)
Contact Bloom Association: https://www.bloomassociation.org/en/contact/

LOW IMPACT FISHERS OF EUROPE (LIFE)

Jerry Percy (English) Director, +44 1437 751242 or +44 7799 698 568 director@lifeplatform.eu

IRISH ISLANDS MARINE RESOURCE ORGANISATION (IIMRO)

Jerry Early (English) Chair, +35 3878 054 246 jerry@iimro.org

THE COMMUNITY OF ARRAN SEABED TRUST (COAST)

Howard Wood OBE (English) Spokesperson, +44 1770 700466 howard@arrancoast.com

GILLNET FISHERS OF THE NORTH OF FRANCE (French only)
Stéphane Pinto (French) Representative of gillnetters of the “Hauts de France” Region, +33 (0) 6 11 96 09 74
Frédéric Drogerys (French) Representative of the port of Dunkerque, +33 (0) 6 86 76 28 82 

PLATEFORME DE LA PETITE PECHE ARTISANALE

Ken Kawahara (French) spokesperson, +33 6 25 10 32 95 ken.kawahara@plateforme-petite-peche.fr

UK FISHERS (English)

Lowestoft Fish Market Alliance

Paul Lines +44 (0)7860 518 908 paulenviroserve@btinternet.com

Thanet fishermen / Queenbourgh fishermen

Tom Brown +44 (0)1843 594 223 Thbtfa@gmail.com

Fishermen United

James White +44 (0)7799 552 355 Jwhite283@googlemail.com

 

Leigh and Southend fishermen

Daryl Godbold +44 (0)1702 554 543

Mersea Island Fishermen 

Andrew Craig + 44 (0)7977 514 069

Info@designcatamarans.com

IRISH WILDLIFE TRUST

Pádraic Fogerty (English) Campaign officer, 087-2959811; 01-8236145

irishwildlife@iwt.ie

THE BLACK FISH

Valeska Diemel (German) Germany Director, +49 157 300 869 53 valeska@theblackfish.org

END ECOCIDE ON EARTH

Valérie Cabanes (French), spokesperson, +33 (0)6 89 85 28 70 (via WhatsApp) valerie@endecocide.eu 

NOTRE AFFAIRE A TOUS

Marie Toussaint (French), Chair, +33 6 42 00 88 68 (via WhatsApp) mariev.toussaint@gmail.com

OUR FISH

Rebecca Hubbard (English), Program Director, +34 657 669 425 rebecca@our.fish 

BLUE MARINE FOUNDATION

*** 

Haut du formulaire

[1] BLOOM, End Ecocide on Earth, the Irish Wildlife Trust, Blue Marine Foundation, the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST), the Black Fish, Our Fish, Notre Affaire à Tous, Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE), Gillnet Fishers of the North of France, Thanet Fishermen, Queenbourgh Fishermen, Leigh and Southend Fishermen, Mersea Island Fishermen, Lowestoft Fish Market Alliance, Irish Islands Marine Resource Organisation (IIMRO), Plateforme Petite Pêche Artisanale Française, Fishermen United.

[2]

Notes and references:

 

[i] Electric fishing has been banned in Europe since 1998 by Article 31 of Council regulation (EC) No 850/98.

[ii] On 11 March 2016, the European Commission released its legislative proposal to reform the Technical Measures Regulation (COM(2016) 134 final).

[iii] Important note: the decision to grant derogations came through as part of a TAC and quota Regulation in which it had absolutely nothing to do. See http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32007R0041&from=EN

[iv] Council Regulation (EC) No 41/2007.

[v]In the light of advice from STECF, fishing with beam trawl using electrical pulse current should be allowed in ICES zones IVc and IVb south under certain conditions” (Council Regulation (EC) No 41/2007). The STECF (Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries) is the scientific body of the European Commission that is supposed to help the latter implementing the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the EU.

[vi] STECF (2006) 23rd Report of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (Second Plenary Meeting), Barza d’Ispra, 6-10 November 2006. Available at: https://stecf.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/43805/99464/2006-11_23rd+report+of+the+STECF.pdf

[vii] The STECF concludes that “although the development of this technology should not be halted, there are a number of issues that need to be resolved before any derogation can be granted” (page 59, STECF 2006). Noteworthy, a Dutch researcher was an active relay of the demands of the Dutch industrial lobbies within the STECF. The minutes of the meetings show the zeal of the latter in favour of electric trawls: “[He] disagreed with the recommendation made to limit the use of electro-trawls to one vessel. He also asked for a list of topics to address in further work and a definition of the conditions under which a positive recommendation for introducing the technology in the beam trawl fleet might be made” (2006 report of the ICES-FAO working group on fishing technology and fish (WGFTFB), CM 2006 / FTC: 06, page 7). This intense lobbying probably explains the incongruous mention in the official opinion of the STECF, which says that: “the development of this technology [electric fishing] should not be halted“.

[viii] https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/code-of-conduct-for-commissioners_april2011_en.pdf

[ix] Kelleher (2005) Discards in the world’s marine fisheries: an update. Fisheries Technical Paper 470, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome (Italy). 152 p.

[x] See Cappell et al. (2016) MSC sustainable fisheries certification — Off-site surveillance visit — CVO pulse sole and plaice fishery — Public comment draft report. Acoura Marine Ltd, Edinburgh (UK). 261 p. Also see Baarseen et al. (2015) Verkenning economic impact aanlandplicht op Nederlandse kottervloot. Flynth & LEI Wageningen UR. 69 p.

[xi] While 22 derogations were granted at the end of 2006, Dutch fishers secured 20 additional licenses in 2010 via the Council, specifically under the guise of scientific research (using Article 43 of Council Regulation (EC) No 850/98).

[xii] Due to a strong demand by the Dutch and thanks to the help of Commissioner Damanaki, 42 additional licenses were granted again in 2014 as part of a pilot project to reduce bycatch/discards (using Article 14 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013). For more details, see Kraan et al. (2015) Perceptions of European stakeholders of pulse fishing. Report number C098/15, IMARES Wageningen UR, IJmuiden (The Netherlands). 44 p. See page 7.

[xiii] Under the “European Fisheries Fund” (EFF).

[xiv] Data from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for the period 2015-2020. Available at: http://www.rvo.nl/sites/default/files/2017/05/20170430_Openbaarmaking_EFMZV_2_v1.csv

AGRIFISH: EU Fisheries Ministers Show Unsurprising Lack of Ambition to End Overfishing

Brussels, December 13, 2017:- Despite a legal commitment to end overfishing in European waters by 2015, or progressively by 2020 at the latest, EU fisheries ministers today agreed to forgo legal, scientific and moral obligations, and continue legalised overfishing for a number of fish stocks in the North Sea and Atlantic, according to campaign group Our Fish.

During the annual AGRIFISH Council meeting, which took place between December 11th and 13, EU fisheries ministers negotiated fishing limits for more than 120 fish stocks in the North Sea and Atlantic. In its initial summary statements, the Council announced that total allowable catch (TAC) for 53 fish stocks are now in line with scientific advice (a sustainable catch rate), up from 44 in 2017, equivalent to approximately two-thirds of the stocks that have sufficient scientific data to assess maximum sustainable yield (MSY).  

“While there appears to have been some progress towards reining in overfishing, EU fisheries ministers displayed an unsurprising lack of ambition to deliver sustainable management for all EU fish stocks”, said Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard. “These late night AGRIFISH meetings still demonstrate a dangerous culture, with EU fisheries ministers treating the law as flexible, making decisions behind closed doors, and cherry picking winners and losers, instead of ending overfishing of all fish stocks.

“With just two years left until the 2020 deadline, fisheries ministers need to invoke some political courage to act on behalf of EU citizens, and the future health of European fish stocks – not just the interests of a few big industry players”, continued Hubbard.

“One of the biggest problems we are facing in European seas, is that despite a landing obligation coming into force, discarding isn’t sufficiently controlled. When discarding isn’t controlled and top-ups are added to total allowable catches, stocks are not safe”, said Sascha Müller-Kraenner, executive director of Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe). “Four years after the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy was agreed, we would have expected increased efforts by Germany’s agriculture minister Christian Schmidt to tackle the problem of overfishing – as obliged by law.”

Celtic Sea
During the Council meeting, ministers failed to recognise the Celtic Sea as a region that should be protected from overfishing. The EU Council set the quotas for whiting, cod and haddock significantly above the EU Commission’s proposal, including an extraordinary 23% increase for Haddock.

European Bass
Despite the fact that fisheries ministers did take some responsibility to limit bycatch of European bass in industrial trawlers, the big step to safeguard the future of seabass was missed. Scientists have been advising a zero catch for the European bass for the last two years, due to a plunge in stocks since 2010, to a level where the future of bass is severely endangered.

“Although fisheries ministers have theoretically taken a first small step towards adopting stronger measures to minimise the biggest threat to bass – being caught as bycatch by trawlers – effective monitoring and control of these measures will be key to put seabass back on the path towards recovery”, said Frederieke Vlek, Netherlands Campaigner for Our Fish.  

Turbot
“For turbot, which has a combined TAC with brill, fisheries ministers have stretched fishing limits too far.  With the new TAC set at 5924 tonnes in total, fisheries ministers are putting the turbot stock at risk, and are failing to ensure the stability that the stock requires, with unclear consequences for brill”, said Vlek.

European Eel
With just 2% of stocks remaining, fisheries ministers crowned the critically endangered European eel as the biggest loser. Scientists have, for decades, recommended a zero catch, while the European Commission has call for a ban on fishing of adult eels.  

“How low do European eel stock levels need to sink to for EU fisheries Ministers to take action or responsibility”, asked Nils Höglund, Policy Officer at Coalition Clean Baltic.

“By fiercely defending the continuation of fishing for a critically endangered species, while disregarding the reformed Common Fishery Policy rules, Ministers are neither protecting the eel, or those who fish for it – instead, they are sending the message that it’s ‘ok to fish for endangered species’ and that we should teach our kids that it’s a good idea to eat that which we need to protect”.

“[Danish fisheries minister] ]Karen Ellemann and her colleagues in the Council have made a bad call for the environment and Danish fishermen by missing out on this opportunity to safeguard European eel with a ban”, said Birgitte Lesanner, head of campaigns at Greenpeace Danmark. “Unlike politicians, consumers and some supermarkets have already been doing a good job for years, by saying no to eel on their dinner tables and in their stores.”

“The only responsible thing would have been to ban all fisheries on adult and baby eels in Europe. Ensuring sustainable fisheries is not only possible, it is also a really good deal for our environment as well as for the economy of the fishermen.”

ENDS

Photo & Video

Throughout the AGRIFISH negotiations, Our Fish has been posting video & audio interviews with MEPs, NGOs, politicians and others, along with  live broadcasts and other content to “Our Fish Eye” – visit http://bit.ly/ourfisheye

Download photographs of #endoverfishing projections in Brussels

Additional information

See also:

 Celebrities Pose Naked With Fish For Fishlove Campaign To End Overfishing

Commissioner Vella statement following AgriFish conclusions

Video: Agrifish (Fisheries) Council Highlights

Petition:

Over 112,000 people have signed a new petition from Our Fish, Seas At Risk, WeMove.EU and others, calling on EU fisheries and environment ministers to implement European law, end overfishing and protect our seas. Thousands have tweeted their support and the campaign is growing, as the 2020 deadline looms.

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Our Fish Communications Advisor, dave@our.fish +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Program Director, rebecca@our.fish +34 657669425

Andrea Kuper, Ann-Kathrin Marggraf, Deutsche Umwelthilfe press office, presse@duh.de, +49 30 2400867-20

Nils Höglund, Policy Officer, Coalition Clean Baltic, nils.hoglund@ccb.se, +46708 679249

Christina Koll, Communications for Greenpeace i Danmark, christina.koll@greenpeace.org, +4528109021

Birgitte Lesanner, head of campaigns, Greenpeace Danmark, Birgitte.Lesanner@greenpeace.org, +4523951214

About Our Fish

Our Fish works to ensure European member states implement the Common Fisheries Policy and achieve sustainable fish stocks in European waters.

Our Fish works with organisations and individuals across Europe to deliver a powerful and unwavering message: overfishing must be stopped, and solutions put in place that ensure Europe’s waters are fished sustainably. Our Fish demands that the Common Fisheries Policy be properly enforced, and Europe’s fisheries effectively governed.

Our Fish calls on all EU Member States to set annual fishing limits at sustainable limits based on scientific advice, and to ensure that their fishing fleets prove that they are fishing sustainably, through monitoring and full documentation of their catch.

http://our.fish

Follow Our Fish on Twitter: @our_fish

Celebrities Pose Naked With Fish For Fishlove Campaign To End Overfishing

Brussels, 10 December 2017:- As Europe’s fisheries ministers head to Brussels to debate 2018 fishing quotas, actors and celebrities have called for an end to overfishing by appearing naked with fish from Europe’s seas, in the latest release of images from the striking Fishlove campaign.

Actors and celebrities including Imelda Staunton, Jessie Buckley, Bobby George, and Rula Lenska have posed with fish species to highlight the ongoing disaster of overfishing and the urgent need for the EU to follow scientific advice on quotas. Actress and director Florence Keith-Roach has been photographed with a European eel, which has become virtually extinct through overfishing and the use of hydropower.

The portraits were published by the UK’s Sunday Times on December 10th, and are now available for broader publication (view image previews here; for usage and access to high resolution, contact Nicholas Rohl).   

Fish Love: Imelda Staunton with Blonde Ray

“It breaks my heart to think about what we are doing to our seas through overfishing, especially when you realise how easy the solution is”, said award-winning British actress Imelda Staunton, Oscar nominee and Harry Potter star, posing with a blonde ray, one example of a species that is caught and discarded as bycatch. “All it needs is for our politicians to have the courage to follow the scientific advice, and our seas will spring back to health and life for the benefit of all.”

Fisheries ministers are also set to discuss a ban on fishing for adult eels – listed as critically endangered by the IUCN  – in European waters during the Brussels council meeting. With less than 2% of its original population left, European eel populations have undergone such a dramatic decline that scientists have called for a complete ban for all fisheries and to reduce all human induced mortality to zero. There is only one stock of European eel on the planet – the fish all start and end their lives in the same place, the Sargasso Sea in the south west corner of the north Atlantic.

Fish Love: Florence Keith Roach with European Eel

“98.4% of the European eel population is already GONE. Continuing to fish for them is like hunting pandas” said actress Florence Keith-Roach. “EU member states must help save this species from extinction by supporting a ban on eel fishing in European seas.”

“European countries have the power to end overfishing – and with just two years left until the 2020 deadline, what’s needed is political will to act on behalf of EU citizens”, said Rebecca Hubbard, Program Director for Our Fish. “The benefits of ending overfishing are already known and accepted – sustainable fishing means healthier fish stocks, more jobs and profit for fishers, and a healthier marine environment. It’s high time that European fisheries ministers start representing all EU citizens, not just the interests of a few big industry players, and start following the laws they have already signed up to.”

“Ministers have for years set fishing quotas too far from scientific advice and not in line with EU agreed law”, said Nils Höglund, Policy Officer for Coalition Clean Baltic. “The eel has been sidelined and slowly disappearing in front of our eyes for decades, although scientist have spent 17 years calling for eel mortality to be as close to zero as possible. We fish and eat a critically endangered species – 98% of which are gone – but lack the stomach to discuss what we we have done to the eel. The issue of overfishing on the EU Council’s table on December 11th. Ministers should be guided by the agreed principles of ending overfishing; one of their decisions is easy: take the European eel off the table and leave it in the water!”

Fish Love: Bobby George with Wolf Fish

Petition:

EU fisheries ministers need to take urgent action now if they are to achieve ecologically diverse, clean and healthy seas as they promised by 2020. This must include ending overfishing and protecting at least 30% of our seas.  Environment and Fisheries Ministers are meeting in December and we need them to get the clear message that this has to change – 112,000 people have already sent that message! Send yours now

ENDS

IMPORTANT CREDIT INFORMATION

All images MUST be credited with @Fishlove/Jillian Edelstein, fishlove.co.uk

All images MUST carry the following caption:

Fishlove portraits expose the naked truth – the EU needs to deliver on its promise to end overfishing of all fish stocks. #EndOverfishing @fishlove2020

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, dave@our.fish +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Program Director, rebecca@our.fish +34 657669425

Nicholas Rohl, Fishlove, nicky@fishlove.co.uk, +44 7941 492 305

 

About Fishlove

Fish LoveFishlove was set up in 2009 by Nicholas Röhl, co-owner of MOSHIMO, and actress Greta Scacchi to raise awareness of the unsustainable fishing practices that are destroying the earth’s marine ecosystem.

Since then, the Fishlove images have succeeded in bringing the subject of over-fishing to the front covers and pages of the world’s media many times over. It is a visual petition of amazing people, including Sir Ben Kingsley, Sir Michael Gambon, Sir Richard Branson, Melanie Laurent, Fiona Shaw, Terry Gilliam, Kenzo, Dame Judi Dench, Emilia Fox, Mark Rylance, Emma Thompson, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Imelda Staunton, to save our seas.

In acknowledgment of the central role Fishlove has played in promoting fish conversation as part of the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy in 2013, a major and influential exhibition of the portraits was held at the European Commission in Brussels at the invitation of Maria Damanaki, then EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

Helena Bonham-Carter’s image with a tuna, released in 2015, is credited with having helped persuade the UK government to commit to establishing some of the largest, fully protected marine reserves on earth.

All of the fish shown in the photographs are commercially fished, although some species shown are regarded by scientists as being over-fished and threatened. Fishlove believes that the use of these fish in these photographs is justified so as to highlight what species could be lost if overfishing continues.

None of the fish depicted in the photographs have been specifically caught for the purposes of making these photographs, and would have been landed irrespective of whether these photographs were taken or not. Other than in very unusual circumstances, the fish photographed are eaten afterwards.

Fishlove is produced by MOSHIMO, an independent Japanese restaurant in Brighton co-owned by Nicholas Röhl and Karl Jones. Famous for its Fishlove campaign, the restaurant has also won a prestigious PETA award for its promotion of plant-based eating.

https://fishlove.co.uk/

Follow on:  

Twitter @fishlove2020 Instagram @fishlovecampaign Facebook @fishlovecampaign

 

About Our Fish

Our Fish works to ensure European member states implement the Common Fisheries Policy and achieve sustainable fish stocks in European waters.Our Fish

 

Our Fish works with organisations and individuals across Europe to deliver a powerful and unwavering message: overfishing must be stopped, and solutions put in place that ensure Europe’s waters are fished sustainably. Our Fish demands that the Common Fisheries Policy be properly enforced, and Europe’s fisheries effectively governed.

Our Fish calls on all EU Member States to set annual fishing limits at sustainable limits based on scientific advice, and to ensure that their fishing fleets prove that they are fishing sustainably, through monitoring and full documentation of their catch.

http://our.fish

Follow Our Fish on Twitter: @our_fish

 

About Coalition Clean Baltic

Coalition Clean BalticCoalition Clean baltic works to promote the protection and improvement of the environment and natural resources of the Baltic Sea Area.

CCB was established in Helsinki, in February 1990 when environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGO’s) from the countries of the Baltic Sea Region became united to co-operate in activities concerning the Baltic Sea environment. CCB is a politically independent, non-profit association and at present, is a network of 19 organizations from Belarus, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Ukraine and Sweden. Combined, the CCB member organizations have over 850 000 members in all countries surrounding the Baltic Sea.

http://ccb.se/

Additional information

IMPORTANT CREDIT INFORMATION

All images MUST be credited with @Fishlove/Jillian Edelstein, fishlove.co.uk

 

All images MUST carry the following caption:

Fishlove portraits expose the naked truth – the EU needs to deliver on its promise to end overfishing of all fish stocks. #EndOverfishing @fishlove2020

 

Quote from Imelda Staunton

“55% of European fish stocks are still being overfished, despite a commitment – and a law – to end overfishing.”

It breaks my heart to think about what we are doing to our seas through overfishing, especially when you realise how easy the solution is. All it needs is for our politicians to have the courage to follow the scientific advice, and our seas will spring back to health and life for the benefit of all.”

Quote from Bobby George

“My religion is nature and too many fish are being taken out of the sea. I found the Wolf Fish very slippery and slimy and could hear him say ‘Please release me! Let me go!”

Quote from Jessie Buckley

“There is not plenty more fish left in the sea! We all need to find our voice to stop the greedy few from exploiting our sea to extinction. This is why I did my Fishlove portrait with a sturgeon.”

Quote from Florence Keith-Roach

98.4% of the European eel population is already GONE. Continuing to fish for them  is like hunting pandas!

Quote from Rula Lenska

“I did a Fishlove portrait with a brill because I’m frustrated that we’re not moving fast enough to conserve fish stocks. Ending overfishing is a win for everyone… and it’s so easy to achieve: even the Americans are doing it! Holding a cold fish to my bare chest took a lot of nerves, but was also huge fun and strangely satisfying because I think it will make a difference!”