EU Fishing Opportunities 2019: Ambition has no limits, fish stocks do.

EU Fishing Opportunities 2019: Ambition has no limits, fish stocks do.

Brussels, 21st August 2018: In response to the consultation on the European Commission’s Communication regarding fishing opportunities for 2019, the Our Fish campaign has made a submission expressing its disappointment at the Commission’s lack of ambition to ensure full and in time implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and urges the Commission to shift up a gear in order to avoid an unacceptable failure of the CFP, and to end overfishing in EU waters.

“Our Fish is surprised and disappointed to find that the Commission is playing down the continued overfishing in EU waters, while also diluting ambition to rebuild all fish stocks by 2020, as required by EU fisheries law (Common Fisheries Policy)”, said Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard

“Our Fish urges the Commission to advocate, unequivocally, for the full and timely implementation of the CFP by EU member state governments”, she continued |”The challenge of ending overfishing and applying the landing obligation by 2020 is only made greater by failure of EU Member States and the Commission to embrace ambitious and early implementation. Our Fish is ready to support and to encourage governments who tackle the challenge without complacency, delay or obfuscation over the coming months.”

“The Commission reports on progress to meeting the MSY target for stocks subject to consultations with coastal states as ‘being a challenge’. This is another example of a challenge that the Commission can, if it wants to, embrace and overcome – by increasing transparency in the Norway negotiations, including civil society participation, and ensuring the EU’s position is restricted by the CFP limit to end overfishing by 2020”, said Hubbard.

“The EU is currently failing to implement the landing obligation, however there are a number of tools available to the Commission and Member States to ensure that discarding is eliminated, data collection is improved, and effective control measures are implemented. Namely, the burden of proof must be reversed, so that the obligation to demonstrate fishing in compliance with the CFP must rest with those who are awarded access to the resource – obliging authorities to monitor fisheries is perverse and has contributed to engendering a culture of entitlement and non-compliance. “

“In 2013, the reformed CFP made the historic commitment to rebuild fish stocks and dependent communities. However, since then,marked lack of ambition for its implementation amongst EU governments. The benefits are clear, the incentives well known, and while it might be expected that some industry interests and decision-makers would be slow to embrace those benefits after decades of addiction to overfishing, the Commission should be playing the role of ‘rehabilitation doctor in chief’. While some progress has been made, the Communication from the Commission reads too much like an apology for anticipated failure. This is not acceptable – there is still 16 months to go”, said Hubbard.

“It is critical that the ambition of the reformed CFP is not lost as a result of the short-term challenges, or complacency, of implementation. We urge the Commission to uphold its crucial role in ensuring the CFP is fully implemented, and overfishing is ended, restoring the health of the ocean”, concluded Hubbard





The Our Fish submission can be downloaded here:

The European Commission’s consultation can be found here:



Dave Walsh, Our Fish Communications Advisor, +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Program Director, +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.


Follow Our Fish on Twitter: @our_fish