Scientist Statement of Support: Ending Overfishing Is Climate Action

                                 
Atlantic cod, Paulo Oliveira / Alamy Stock Photo

Atlantic cod, Paulo Oliveira / Alamy Stock Photo

 

Having regard to:

  1. The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services1
  2. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate2
  3. Council of the European Union, Council’s Conclusions on Oceans and Seas3

We are calling on the European Commission, European Parliament and EU member states to recognise that ecosystem-based fisheries management is critical to the health of the ocean and its capacity to respond to climate change and that fishing limits must be set accordingly.

Fish are an important part of the marine ecosystem, playing a critical role in ocean health. Marine ecosystem goods and services are under severe pressure from fishing and human accelerated climate change.

Overfishing reduces fish biomass, impacts biodiversity, alters the marine food web and degrades marine habitats. This makes the marine ecosystem more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

In the EU it is estimated that at least 38 percent of fish stocks in the North East Atlantic and Baltic Sea4, and 87 percent in the Mediterranean and Black Sea5, are being overfished.

The combined effects of climate change and overfishing are accelerating the decline of ocean health. Ending overfishing would reduce the cumulative pressures on the ocean, increase its resilience and contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change. It would be decisive and important climate action and it can be taken today.

  1. IPBES, 2019: The global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany. 56 pages. https://ipbes.net/global-assessment
  2.  IPCC, 2019: IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/
  3.  Council of the European Union, OUTCOME OF PROCEEDINGS, General Secretariat of the Council, Brussels, 19 November 2019, 14249/19, Council conclusions on Oceans and Seas: https://www.consilium.europa.eu//media/41384/st14249-en19.pdf?utm_source=dsms-auto&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Oceans+and+seas+threatened+by+climate+change%3a+Council+adopts+conclusions
  4.  STECF, 2020: Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Monitoring the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (STECF-Adhoc-20-01)
  5.  STECF, 2019: Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Monitoring the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (STECF-Adhoc-19-01)

 

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