So far, EU member states have been slow to implement the new CFP, and many are carrying on with business as usual. To ensure we have fish in the future, EU member states must enforce the laws they co-authored. To ensure sustainable fish stocks for our future, European citizens – including low impact, small scale fishers – must hold both the fishing industry and our governments to account. Europe’s seas deserve better.
If properly implemented, the reformed CFP could make a big difference:
- By putting a stop to political horse-trading over annual fishing limits and ensuring that future quotas are science-based, thus healthy and sustainable stocks.
- By distributing fishing quotas more fairly amongst fishers, with preference to those that can ensure better environmental, social and economic outcomes.
- By stopping wasteful discarding unwanted fish at sea and driving increased selectivity of fishing gear, thus avoiding the trashing of marine habitats and the unnecessary destruction of marine life.
- By fully documenting all the fish that is caught. This will create a better understanding of how much fish is being taken out of the sea, which will help sustainable management of stocks.
What Does Our Fish Want, and By When?
We want EU member states to properly and fully implement the CFP for sustainable European fisheries.
- Set fishing limits during the October, November and December Council meetings for all European fishing opportunities according to independent scientific advice provided to achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield by 2015 (or at the latest by 2020, only if faster action will jeopardise the fishing fleet).
- Immediately establish systems to properly monitor and enforce the discards ban (Landing Obligation), and ensure full documentation of all catches.
About Fully Documented Fisheries
If we don’t measure it, we can’t manage it. And if we don’t monitor and enforce it, it won’t happen. Counting and fully documenting what fish we catch is paramount to making sure our management is spot on, because if the numbers are wrong to begin with, all our efforts to restore and sustain our fisheries will be for naught. Just like we accept monitoring and enforcement on the road from speed cameras to prevent dangerous speeding, monitoring of fish catches is also necessary.
Monitoring at ports and at sea is critical. For at-sea monitoring, on-board inspectors and reference fleets are important, and Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) technologies like closed circuit tv provide a cost-effective, risk management approach to confirm what fish is being caught. Electronic monitoring can focus on the times and areas where the fish are being caught and processed, and also helps to aid data collection, confirm anecdotal evidence from fishers and demonstrate sustainability outcomes.