Climate Change: Our Fish Response to EU Council Conclusions on Oceans and Seas


Ending Overfishing is Climate Action!

Brussels, November 19, 2019:- Responding to today’s adoption by the Council of the European Union of its Conclusions on Oceans and Seas, Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard said:

“While the EU Council’s Conclusion on Oceans and Seas appears to reflect the urgency and commitment needed to address the threat of climate breakdown to the ocean and marine life, Our Fish believes that this provides an opportunity for EU Prime Ministers to execute a clear and deliverable climate emergency action as soon as next month – when EU fisheries ministers set annual fishing limits for next year, they must deliver on international and EU obligations to end overfishing by 2020.”

The EU Council’s Conclusions on Oceans and Seas finds that “that climate change is a direct and existential threat to life in oceans and seas globally” and states that “member states unanimously stress the need for immediate action against increasing threats on our oceans, seas and coastal areas.” After climate change, overfishing is the biggest stressor on ocean ecosystems, severely undermining the capacity of the ocean to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate. Rapid action to rebuild those fish populations will help restore ocean health, build resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis, and address the biggest threat to marine biodiversity.

“The Council’s request to the Commission for policy options that respond to IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere are also clear – the European Commission must ensure that all proposals for fishing opportunities throughout EU seas follow scientific advice, in order to rebuild fish populations and revitalise ocean health. Ending overfishing is a simple, deliverable action that the Commission and EU can define in the new Green Deal that delivers for the climate and for EU citizens. The Commission needs to make the Green Deal blue”, concluded Hubbard.


Contacts: Dave Walsh, Our Fish Communications Advisor, +34 691 826 764 or email



Prime Ministers can ensure their countries meet their international and EU obligations for 2020, by ending overfishing of all EU fish populations, when the AGRIFISH Council sets fishing limits for the North East Atlantic in December (16th-17th). Negotiations over 2020 fishing limits for fish stocks shared between the EU and Norway (eg. North Sea cod) are currently underway in London, will continue in Bergen the week of 2nd Dec, and aim to be confirmed by the AGRIFISH Council in December also.


Brussels, 19 November 2019 (OR. en) 14249/19; General Secretariat of the Council; Council conclusions on Oceans and Seas


Press release: Oceans and seas threatened by climate change: Council adopts conclusions

IPCC’s Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere


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.


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