Press Releases

New report highlights Germany’s blind-spot for sustainable fisheries

Bonn, 28 August 2017: Despite its reputation as Europe’s moral leader on environmental issues, Germany’s continues overfishing in the Baltic Sea, thus delaying potentially large environmental, social, and economic benefits for its coastal communities that would come from regaining healthy fish stocks, according to a report published today.

The report, Germany’s blind-spot for sustainable fisheries, co-authored by Our Fish and the New Economics Foundation, outlines how the incoming German Government can end overfishing and get in step with European fisheries law by setting fishing quotas according to scientific advice, and by helping small-scale low-impact fishers with a fairer quota allocation system. Federal elections are due to take place on September 24th.

“The German government has repeatedly supported overfishing of western Baltic cod, leading the public to believe that this is because of ‘socio-economics’. However the figures tell a different story – not only would following scientific advice for fishing quotas bring higher economic returns sooner, but the current allocation of quotas benefits destructive trawlers that have the biggest environmental impact and the smallest contribution to jobs”, said Our Fish Program Director Rebecca Hubbard.

Germany’s blind-spot for sustainable fisheries“Of Germany’s two main fishing fleets who share western Baltic cod, the small-scale low-impact sector has access to just 35% of the quota and employs 747 people, whereas the heavily damaging trawl sector has 59%, but employs one fifth the number of people.” (1)

“By setting fishing limits at sustainable levels and changing the quota allocation system to prioritise small-scale low-impact fishers, the new German government can better ensure the economic viability and ecological sustainability of coastal communities.”

Western Baltic Cod stocks have spent years teetering on the edge of collapse, yet Germany has consistently set fishing limits above scientific advice (2,3). German officials will be meeting with representatives from all EU Baltic states at BALTFISH in Copenhagen this week to discuss their position on Baltic fishing quotas for 2018. Advice from the trawl industry-dominated Baltic Sea Advisory Council is pushing for western Baltic cod fishing quotas to be more than 3,000 tonnes above the upper end of scientific advice (4).

“The incoming German government needs to address this blind spot for sustainable fisheries by applying proper scrutiny to its national fisheries management. Germany needs urgent reform of how it allocates fisheries quotas if it is to comply with the spirit of the EU Common Fisheries Policy and play a leading role in ending overfishing of Europe’s waters”, concluded Hubbard.

The report, Germany’s blind-spot for sustainable fisheries can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/DEFishBaltic0817

END

NOTES:

  1. New Economics Foundation & Our Fish (2017), Germany’s blind post for sustainable fisheries.
  2. Western Baltic cod has been overfished for a number of years, so that even after a strong 2016 year class, stocks are still at the second lowest biomass levels since the early 1980s, and outside of safe limits for repopulating to a healthy state. ICES (2017), ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort, Baltic Sea Ecoregion. Published 31 May 2017. Cod.27.22-24
  3. New Economics Foundation (2017), Landing the Blame – Overfishing in the Baltic 2017.
  4. BSAC recommendations for the fishery 2018, retrieved from http://bsac.dk/BSAC-Resources/BSAC-Statements-and-recommendations/BSAC-recommendations-for-the-fishery-2018

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, [email protected] +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Program Director, [email protected] +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://www.ourfish.eu

 

 

 

21 NGOS write to EU Commissioner Vella asking for Closure of Adriatic Jabuka/Pomo Pit

‘Overshoot day’ for over-exploited Adriatic Sea

21 NGOS write to EU Commissioner Vella asking for Closure of Jabuka/Pomo Pit

Rome, August 2, 2017:- August 2 was Earth Overshoot Day, the day of “over-exploitation of the Earth”, when our exploitation of natural resources exceeds what our planet can generate in one year. A day that unfortunately, arrives earlier every year.

It was also overshoot Day for the resources of the Mediterranean Sea, and in particular the over-exploitation of the Adriatic : it is enough to think that Italy’s Fish Dependence Day (the day when a country uses up its share of fish and becomes dependent on the import of fish from abroad) fell on March 31, on a date earlier than previous years.

In response, 21 NGOs representing thousands of citizens (including international, Italian, Greek, Croatian and Slovenian associations) have written to European Commissioner Vella asking him to close trawling in the Jabuka/Pomo Pit between Italy and Croatia, one of the most important areas for the reproduction of species of fish in the Adriatic, such as hake and Norway lobsters (scampi).

Fishing in the Adriatic produces 50% of all Italian fishery products, but catches have collapsed by 21% between 2007 and 2015 from overfishing. In particular, hake has an over-exploitation rate five times higher than the sustainability limits, although catches have almost halved between 2006 and 2014. This is worse for scampi – catches by the Italian fleet have collapsed by 54% from 2009 to 2014.

The current situation is a serious problem for the environment, but also for the economy and small-scale fishing, given that 75% of the marine resources are captured by 20% of the large industrial fishing vessels, while 80% of the small fishermen catch just 25% of the fish.

“We ask for Commissioner Vella’s intervention in order to protect the Jabuka/Pomo Pit and to establish a Fishery Restricted Area (FRA)” said Domitilla Senni, CEO of MedReAct.

In line with the scientific recommendations of international bodies, and with the commitment of the EU during the Convention on Biological Diversity to ensure the conservation of 10% of its coastal and marine areas by 2020, FRAs are essential for the protection of sensitive habitats – and the species that populate them – from overexploitation due to excessive fishing activity.

In May this year, the Scientific Advisory Committee of the General Fisheries Commission of the Mediterranean (GFCM) validated the proposal for the establishment of a closed area for demersal fishing in the Jabuka/ Pomo Pit by MedReAct and the Adriatic Recovery Project. “We are now waiting” continued Senni, “for the European Commission to propose the establishment of an FRA for the Jabuka/Pomo Pit closed to bottom trawling and other demersal fisheries at the next GFCM Conference (Montenegro, 16-20 October 2017), according to the advice by the Scientific Advisory Committee”.

The establishment of a closed trawl area in this area will also be the first test case for the European Commission in the implementation of the MedFish4Ever Declaration, adopted in March this year in Malta to recover Mediterranean fisheries.

Letter from 21 NGOs to Commissioner Vella:
https://tinyurl.com/y8y46s3d

More information, contact:

Domitilla Senni, +39 349 822 5483
Medreact:https://medreact.org

The Adriatic Recovery Project is an alliance of civil society organizations and research organizations to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems and the essential habitats for Adriatic fish species. The project is funded by Oceans5, supported by Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and coordinated by MedReAct – a non-governmental organization engaged in the recovery of Mediterranean marine ecosystems – in collaboration with Legambiente, Marevivo, Stanford University and the Maritime Polytechnic.

Baltic Sea fishing fleets toying with access rights in quest to overfish Baltic Cod

Baltic Sea fishing fleets toying with access rights in quest to overfish Baltic Cod

Copenhagen, 14 July 2017:– Responding to recommendations for 2018 fishing opportunities made by the Baltic Sea Advisory Council (BSAC), Our Fish Campaign manager Rebecca Hubbard said today that the German and Danish bottom trawling industry must stop trying to use obfuscation to shield scrutiny of its overfishing and its attempts to disenfranchise eastern Baltic countries of their fisheries rights.

“Big fishing industry players from the  richer western countries of the EU, like Denmark and Germany, are not only threatening to decimate the Western Baltic Cod stock by setting fishing limits far above scientific advice, they are also threatening the eastern Baltic states’ access to fresh, locally caught fish and historic access rights, by adding eastern cod quota to the western quota”, said Hubbard.

The Council of EU fisheries ministers set 2017 fishing limits for Western Baltic Cod stocks 352% higher than scientific advice, despite the fact that they were teetering on the edge of commercial collapse (1,2).

The Baltic Sea Advisory Council, dominated by large scale fishing interests, is encouraging the same approach this year with their recommendations for a Total Allowable Catch of 8,597 tonnes – 62% higher than the upper recommended limit by International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). This includes an extra 3,000 tonnes under the auspices of eastern Baltic cod mixing in the western Baltic zones. The Latvian fishing association voted against this quota transfer in the Advisory Council (3,4,5).

“Almost every year, for the last eleven years, the Baltic Sea Advisory Council has argued for higher western Baltic cod fishing limits than ICES scientists advise, claiming that these are due to socio-economic concerns for their industry. In reality, overfishing is a driver of these socio-economic problems, and the large scale trawling interests that dominate BSAC use coastal passive gear fishers as a human shield – an excuse to increase fishing limits for themselves, who are also responsible for the historic overfishing“, says Hubbard adding,  “This happens while the small, passive gear fishers, more dependent on healthy fish stocks due to their lower fishing capacity, are left to fight over the scraps of a dying fishery.”

The eastern Baltic cod stock has fallen from an extraordinary peak of 400,000 tonnes in 1984 to just under 57,000 tonnes in 1992, and ICES advice for 2018 recommends a commercial catch around 26,000 tonnes (6). BSAC are recommending this be set 20% higher at over 30,000 tonnes in the eastern Baltic zones, plus an additional 3,000 tonnes be added to the western Baltic cod quota to account for mixing of eastern cod in the western Baltic Sea.

“Just because eastern Baltic cod are in the western Baltic, does not mean we increase the western Baltic cod fishing limit – they are different stocks with finite limits that cannot be continuously disregarded without repercussions”.

“The only thing that these obtuse quota maths add up to is a relentless pursuit to overfish by Danish and German bottom trawlers. This push for overfishing and quota grabbing  comes as a warning for how Denmark will likely approach the Presidency of BALTFISH, that began on  July 1st. It appears that Danish quota barons are still steering the boat on fisheries management in the region and nothing but a shipwreck will stop them”, concluded Hubbard.

ENDS

Notes

31 May 2017: Baltic Sea Ministers Must Act To Stop Cod Collapse

https://our.fish/en/2017/05/31/baltic-sea-ministers-must-act-stop-cod-collapse/

Eastern Baltic states have very little quota access to western Baltic cod, however Denmark has the largest share of western Baltic cod (46%) and the second largest share of eastern Baltic cod (23%). Poland has the largest share of eastern Baltic cod (33%), while Latvia and Lithuania get 9% and 6% respectively. These percentages don’t change with the level of fishing limits annually, as they are based on historic access to the fishery known as “relative stability”, so if eastern Baltic cod is now getting counted in the western Baltic zones where eastern Baltic states have no access to quota, relative stability will be affected.

  1. Western Baltic cod has been overfished for a number of years, so that even after a strong 2016 year class, stocks are still at the second lowest biomass levels since the early 1980s, and outside of safe limits for repopulating to a healthy state. ICES (2017), ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort, Baltic Sea Ecoregion. Published 31 May 2017. Cod.27.22-24
  2. New Economics Foundation (2017), Landing the Blame – Overfishing in the Baltic 2017.
  3. Baltic Sea Advisory Council recommendations for the fishery 2018 http://bsac.dk/BSAC-Resources/BSAC-Statements-and-recommendations/BSAC-recommendations-for-the-fishery-2018
  4. When BSAC recommendations are compared with ICES recommendations, they have been consistently above the science http://bsac.dk/BSAC-Resources/BSAC-Statements-and-recommendations; http://www.ices.dk/publications/library/Pages/default.aspx
  5. Information on Danish fleet: https://stecf.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/43805/1034590/2015-07_STECF+15-07+-+AER+2015_JRCxxx.pdf
  6. ICES (2017), ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort, Baltic Sea Ecoregion. Published 31 May 2017. cod.27.25-32

 

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, [email protected] +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Campaign Manager, [email protected] +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 brings together organisations from across Europe to speak with a common voice: overfishing of our waters 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://www.ourfish.eu

 

Onboard monitoring needed to prove North Sea Cod not illegally discarded

Onboard monitoring needed to prove North Sea Cod not illegally discarded

London, 7 July 2017 :-  Responding to reports that the UK’s North Sea cod fishery has achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards, Our Fish campaign manager Rebecca Hubbard said:

“With North Sea cod set to hit UK supermarket shelves again, both retailers and the MSC must demonstrate to consumers that not only are these cod stocks sustainable, but that illegal discarding is not taking place in the fishery”.

According to a report published by Undercurrent News, the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) “should be certified in accordance” with the MSC standard, based on an assessment by  ME Certification, the conformity assessment body, for its North Sea Cod fishery. (1)

“Given the historically high levels of discarding in the North Sea Cod fishery, fishing vessels should at least have onboard electronic monitoring to give assurance that no illegal and unreported discarding is taking place. Failure to implement such monitoring would not only undermine credibility in the fishery, it will undermine the progress made to revitalise the fishery itself”, added Hubbard. (2)

In order to avoid  the waste of thousands of tonnes of unwanted fish and marine resources each year, the reformed Common Fisheries Policy introduced the Landing Obligation in December 2013, making it illegal for fishermen to throw away certain species at sea, and requiring that all catches are counted against their quotas. It has been phased-in since 2015, and will be entirely implemented across European seas by 2019, with North Sea Cod coming under the Landing Obligation this year. However reports of weak implementation and poor enforcement suggest that there is a high level of illegal and unreported discarding, especially in bottom trawl fisheries. (3,4,5)

A report from the Scheveningen Control Experts Group highlighted the high risk of illegal discarding by the trawl sector in the North Sea and a recent scientific report found that bottom trawl fisheries like the UK North Sea Cod are at high risk of failing MSC certification or failing to continue to be certified in the case of poor implementation of the Landing Obligation through not meeting monitoring requirements. (6,7)

“While the gradual recovery of North Sea Cod provides evidence that fish stocks can recover, we could see stronger recoveries if fisheries ministers stopped setting fishing limits above scientific advice, and instead enforced the reformed Common Fisheries Policy rules they have already signed up to”, concluded Hubbard. “ICES estimates that over 18 million kilos of North Sea Cod could be discarded in 2018. Failure to stop this discarding will threaten the success of improving fisheries, like North Sea Cod, and introduce illegality into the seafood supply chain.” (2)

ENDS

Notes:

  1. The Assessment body, ME Certification, has recommended that the Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) (a group of Scottish and English fishing vessels) North Sea cod fishery is certified in accordance with the MSC standard. There is a 15-working-day period during which a previously involved stakeholder may lodge a notice of objection to this determination (COB 18 July 2017). https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2017/06/27/scottish-north-sea-cod-fishery-meets-msc-standard-says-certification-body/ & Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) North Sea cod  https://fisheries.msc.org/en/fisheries/scottish-fisheries-sustainable-accreditation-group-sfsag-north-sea-cod/@@assessments
  2. ICES (2017), ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort.  Greater North Sea Ecoregion cod.27.47d20. Published 30 June 2017.
  3. European PArliament Public Hearing on the State of Play of the Implementation of the Landing Obligation and Allocation of Quotas by the Member States http://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/117542/Veronika%20Veits_DG%20Mare.pdf
  4. European Court of Auditors (2017) no 08, Special Report – EU fisheries controls: more efforts needed
  5. ICES (2017), ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort, Baltic Sea Ecoregion. Cod.27.25-32. Published 31 May 2017.
  6. Scheveningen control expert group, 2016, Report on Control and Monitoring of the demersal Landing Obligation: Risk assessment and risk treatment.
  7. Blyth-Skyrme, R. & L. Borges (2016). Assessing the implications of the Landing Obligation on MSC certified fisheries in Europe. A report for Funding Fish, August 2016.

 

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, [email protected] +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Campaign Manager, [email protected] +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 brings together organisations from across Europe to speak with a common voice: overfishing of our waters 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://www.ourfish.eu

Photo credit: Arco Images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

 

EU Council Must Get Real on Blue Growth

EU Council Must Get Real on Blue Growth

Brussels, 3 July 2017:-  Following publication of the EU Council conclusions on Blue Growth in the marine and maritime sector, Our Fish Campaign manager Rebecca Hubbard said: (1,2)

“Instead of making grandiose claims to marine sustainability, the Council of the EU’s aspirations for Blue Growth should focus on practical and achievable targets, like of ensuring that EU governments correctly implement the reformed Common Fisheries Policy”.

“Unfortunately, putting the word ‘sustainable’ 26 times in a document is no guarantee of EU member states commitment to delivering either sustainable fisheries or healthy seas”, added Hubbard. “Our Fish would prefer to see real, concrete acts by EU governments, such as setting annual fishing limits according to scientific advice and enforcement of existing fishing rules that will clear the path for real blue growth in EU waters.” (3)

“By rebuilding most of the commercial EU fish stocks just in North Atlantic waters in line with legislation, we could provide 2,052,639 tonnes of additional fish per year (enough to feed 89.2 million EU citizens), €1,565 million additional gross revenues per year, €824 million additional net profits per year, and between 20,362 and 64,092 new jobs each year. (4)

ENDS

Notes

  1. Council conclusions on Blue Growth, 26 June 2017
  2. Council Reinforces Support for Blue Growth, Politico, 26 June 2017
  3. Council conclusions on Blue Growth. Out of 26 mentions, 21 refer to development, growth or economy
  4. New Economics Foundation (2015), Managing EU fisheries in the public interest: Results from the Bio-Economic Model of European Fleets.

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, [email protected] +34 69182676

Rebecca Hubbard, Campaign Manager, [email protected] +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 brings together organisations from across Europe to speak with a common voice: overfishing of our waters 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://www.ourfish.eu

Baltic Sea Ministers Must Act To Stop Cod Collapse

Copenhagen, Wednesday 31 May, 2017 – Responding to advice on Baltic fish stocks released today by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), campaign group Our Fish called on Baltic Sea Fisheries Ministers to take urgent action to prevent the collapse of the region’s cod fisheries.

The ICES advice on Baltic fish stocks for 2018 demonstrates that the Baltic’s cod stocks are still severely overfished, despite a year of strong breeding by the western Baltic cod (1). ICES also reported that over 11 million undersized Eastern Baltic cod will be caught as unwanted catch – with a large majority of these illegally thrown back dead or dying (2,3).

“To avoid collapse of the Western and Eastern Baltic cod stocks and secure future generations of fish, Baltic Sea Fisheries Ministers must not only heed this year’s catch advice from ICES, but also allow fishers to develop more selective fishing gears and remove the wasteful forms of bottom trawling currently in use, which are threatening both our fish stocks and our coastal fishers”, said Our Fish Campaign Manager Rebecca Hubbard.

“Western Baltic cod has been so intensively overfished, teetering on the brink of collapse for 10 years, that even after a strong 2016 year class, stocks are still at the second lowest biomass levels since the early 1980s, and outside of safe limits for repopulating to a healthy state (1). Our Fish is calling on Baltic Ministers to use this rare opportunity to rebuild the stock and adopt the most cautious scientific advice for 2018”.

The ICES advice forms the scientific basis for deliberations over Baltic Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits that are set at the annual EU Agrifish Council meeting in October. Despite their important role in applying the Common Fisheries Policy and ending overfishing, these Agrifish Council meetings have been criticised for their lack of transparency and accountability, and persistent failure to set fishing limits according to the law (3)(4). Last year 4 out of 10 fish stocks were set above scientific advice, with governments knowingly perpetuating overfishing and the decline in social and economic values (5).

The eastern Baltic cod stock once represented a goldmine for fishers, but catches have been plummeting for 30 years. From an extraordinary peak at 400,000 tonnes in the 1984 to just under 57,000 tonnes in 1992, this year ICES advice recommends a catch just over 22,000 tonnes – one eighteenth of its former peak (3).

“In recent years, Denmark and Germany  have strongly advocated for overfishing, ignoring ICES advice (5,6). If  Danish Minister for Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen and German Minister of Food and Agriculture Christian Schmidt do not stop this senseless plunder, at least 10% of which is being thrown away as discards, mainly from destructive bottom trawlers, they may be responsible for the commercial collapse of this once great fishery, instead of the sustainable and secure future for coastal fishers which it could be,” concluded Hubbard.

ENDS

NOTES:

Western Baltic cod is suffering from age-truncation, a reduction in the age when fish become mature[8]. The proportion mature at age 2 in 1994 was 35%, whereas the most recent estimate for 2016 is 71% mature at age 2 [2]. Similar to the eastern Baltic stock, this age-truncation is a result of overfishing over the long term, with larger, more fecund ‘mother’ cod selected out.

The total commercial catch advice for western Baltic cod, based on the Baltic Multi Annual Plan, is a range from 1 376 tonnes to 3 541 tonnes. ICES has assessed 1 754 tonnes goes to recreational catch (1).

The eastern Baltic cod fish stock has been so fundamentally altered over time that a lack of reliable data makes stock assessments unreliable, and ICES advises a precautionary approach (3).

For the eastern Baltic cod, in accordance with the precautionary approach (due to a lack of reliable data), the EU portion of the TAC corresponding to ICES advice should not exceed 26 071 tonnes (3).

  1. ICES (2017), ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort, Baltic Sea Ecoregion. Published 31 May 2017. cod.27.22-24
  2. Limited observer data indicates that undersized cod represent more than 10% of the total eastern Baltic cod catch in tonnes (equivalent to 11 million individuals), while landings of undersized cod are very low and discarding still takes place, despite the Landing Obligation being in place since 2015. ICES (2017). Report of the Baltic Fisheries Assessment Working Group (WGBFAS), 19-26 April, 2017, ICES HQ, Copenhagen, Denmark. ICES CM 2017/ACOM:11.
  3. Anecdotal evidence suggests fishers are modifying selectivity properties of their gear to increase catch rates of all cod, leading to a higher number of undersized fish being caught. ICES (2017), ICES Advice on fishing opportunities, catch, and effort, Baltic Sea Ecoregion. Published 31 May 2017. cod.27.25-32
  4. https://corporateeurope.org/power-lobbies/2017/05/fishing-influence
  5. http://transparency.eu/project/overfishing-in-the-darkness/
  6. New Economics Foundation (2017), Landing the Blame – Overfishing in the Baltic 2017.
  7. New Economics Foundation (2016), Landing the Blame – Overfishing in the Baltic Sea 2016.
  8. Marteinsdottir G, & Begg G.A. 2002. Essential relationships incorporating the influence of age, size and condition on variables required for estimation of reproductive potential in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 235: 235–256.

 

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, [email protected] +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Campaign Manager, [email protected] +34 657 669 425

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 brings together organisations from across Europe to speak with a common voice: overfishing of our waters 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://www.ourfish.eu

 

Electric Pulse Fishing: EU Agrifish Council must make comprehensive impact assessment

Brussels, 11 May 2017:- Campaign group Our Fish today called on EU Fisheries Ministers at the Agrifish Council meeting in Brussels to require the highest level of environmental impact assessment for electric pulse fishing in European waters, or return to a total prohibition of the method.

During the meeting, EU Fisheries Ministers will consider technical measures for European fisheries management, including how to limit and regulate “innovative fishing gears” such as electric pulse fishing. There is currently limited understanding of the environmental impacts of this fishing method.

A release of the Draft Technical Measures, show that the Council have weakened the proposal by removing requirements for full environmental impact assessments of electric pulse fishing on sensitive habitats and non-target species, evaluated and confirmed by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) (1).

“By failing to uphold stringent environmental impact assessments for electric pulse fishing , the Agrifish Council is in danger of abandoning the precautionary principle in favour of pandering to the demands of the fishing industry”, said Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Campaign Manager. “Our Fish is calling on the EU Fisheries Ministers at the Agrifish Council to ensure the highest level of environmental impact assessment on habitats and non-target species from electric pulse fishing , by reinserting the need for STECF review, or return to a total prohibition”, said Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Campaign Manager.

Electric pulse fishing is a form of trawling that emits electric pulses into the seabed to shock fish off and out of the seafloor, where they are caught by trawl net. The Dutch fishing industry has been advocating for the development of electric pulse fishing in European waters, despite significant concerns from fishermen, conservation organisations and politicians for unknown impacts on habitats and marine life (2,3).

Until 2007, fishing using electrocution was prohibited in European waters, however the dramatically reduced fuel costs, compared to conventional beam trawling, has motivated the Dutch fishing industry to lobby for its development. After experimental exemptions were granted, the practice has spread throughout the North Sea.

Combined with historically low price of fuel, electric pulse fishing fishing makes for a more profitable haul. The Dutch fishing industry and government claim that electric pulse fishing is environmentally sustainable and less damaging than beam trawl fishing (4).

“Considering how beam trawl fishing steamrolls seabed habitats and catches vast quantities of other non-target species, saying that electric pulse fishing is ‘better’ doesn’t make for a ringing endorsement”, said Hubbard. “There have been limited thorough studies on the impacts of electrocution trawl fishing on sensitive habitats, and non-target species, especially animals that rely on electroreception, and on fish eggs and larvae . The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea has reported on the significant gaps in knowledge and the need for more thorough research and regulatory framework (5)”.

ENDS

Notes

(1). Release of Draft Technical Measures (Politico) http://www.politico.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Council-Technical-Measures.pdf?utm_source=POLITICO.EU&utm_campaign=baeffc217c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_04_27&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_10959edeb5-baeffc217c-190010205

(2). A shocking way to catch fish: electric pulse beam trawling http://lifeplatform.eu/a-shocking-way-to-catch-fish-electric-pulse-beam-trawling/;

Bloom: Pulse Fishing  https://www.bloomassociation.org/en/pulse-fishing/;

Bloom: French Environment Minister calls for a true European ban on pulse fishing 

https://www.bloomassociation.org/en/french-environment-minister-calls-for-a-true-european-ban-on-pulse-fishing/

(3). Project Pulsefishing

https://pulsefishing.eu/en/project-pulsefishing/node/50;

Agreement to double pulse trawl licences

https://www.government.nl/latest/news/2014/02/18/agreement-to-double-pulse-trawl-licences

(4). Ibid.

(5). Request from France for updated advice on the ecosystem effects of pulse trawl lhttps://www.ices.dk/sites/pub/Publication%20Reports/Advice/2016/Special_Requests/France_Effects_of_pulse_trawl.pdf

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, [email protected] +34 691826764

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 brings together organisations from across Europe to speak with a common voice: overfishing of our waters 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://www.ourfish.eu

 

EU: Despite Reformed Common Fisheries Policy, We’re Still Overfishing

Photo: Light painting projection by marine conservation campaign group Our Fish reading “60% of EU Fisheries are unsustainable” outside the Brussels Seafood Expo, which opens on April 25.

Brussels, 25 April 2017:- As Europe, the world’s largest trader of seafood and fisheries products, this week welcomes thousands of seafood traders to the Global Seafood Expo in Brussels, the Our Fish campaign called on European member state governments to switch from overfishing to sustainable fisheries by properly implementing the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). [1]  

“Here at the Global Seafood Expo in Brussels, EU countries are paying lip service to sustainability, while off our coasts, Europe’s fish stocks are still being plundered in favour of short-term profit and clientelism, disregarding industry’s long-term viability and the health of our seas”,  said Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Campaign Manager.

“The European Union already agreed to a solid pathway for eliminating overfishing by voting for the reformed Common Fisheries Policy. Yet three years after the reform, six out of ten  EU fisheries in the North East Atlantic are still considered unsustainable”, continued Hubbard. “If EU member states really want to market sustainable fish by 2020, they must not only enforce the reformed CFP, but also restructure the fishing industry to allow for the recovery of fish stocks and secure long term solutions for its viability”.[2]

The recently published EU STECF report Monitoring the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy found that around 6 out of 10 fisheries in the North East Atlantic managed by European nations are still considered unsustainable and do not meet the Common Fisheries Policy. According to the STECF report, in the last ten years the unsustainability of Europe’s fisheries dropped from 90% to 60%. However, the report does not regard this improvement sufficient to reach the CFP’s target of sustainability by 2020. [2]

“The industrial fishing lobby group Europêche claims that improvements in fish stocks reported by STECF is a ‘success story’ and that returning our fisheries to ‘greatness’ is due to ‘decades of self sacrifices’ a stance which conveniently ignores that industry has opposed the decreased fishing efforts required to achieve these improvements at almost every turn”, concluded Hubbard. [3]. “Once it’s finished congratulating itself for its moderate gains, the fishing industry needs to look at what it can do to make EU fisheries 100% sustainable by 2020”.

The STECF reports that fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea have worsened, with the highest levels of fishing pressure in the last ten years recorded in 2011 and 2014. [2] Industrial trawlers from Italy, Spain and France have the greatest impact on fish stocks and benthic ecosystems (along the seabed). [4] .

“After 20 years of decline, Mediterranean fisheries are now at a critical state, with 96% of EU fish stocks overfished. Despite the CFP reform, and recent commitments such as the Malta Declaration, EU countries are not taking the necessary urgent action – starting from  a substantial reduction of fishing effort and capacity in the Italian, Spanish and French trawl fleets – to save this globally significant marine environment and it’s diverse fishing communities for the next generation,” concluded Hubbard. [5,6]

ENDS

 

Notes:

[1] EUMOFA, 2016, The EU Fish Market 2016 Edition 

https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/eu-fish-market-2016-edition_en

[2] Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Monitoring the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (STECF-17-04))

https://stecf.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/43805/55543/2017-04_STECF+17-04+-+Monitoring+the+CFP_JRCxxx.pdf

[3] Success story for European fisheries and policies http://europeche.chil.me/post/137153/success-story-for-european-fisheries-and-policies

[4] Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Western Mediterranean Multi-annual Plan STECF-15-09. 2015.  

[5] Oceana (2016). Mediterranean Sea, A key EU fishing region in a bleak state of overfishing

[6] European Commission, Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) June 2016 – Study on the evaluation of specific management scenarios for the preparation of multiannual management plans in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

Photographs:

Download photographs of light paintings outside the Brussels Seafood Expo here:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vjtkjyv32cobirl/AACj4aUTf6jBFAVGbAAlvYZSa?dl=0

 

Contacts

Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, [email protected] +34 691826764

 

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 brings together organisations from across Europe to speak with a common voice: overfishing of our waters 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://www.ourfish.eu