EU-Norway agreement the worst outcome for fish stocks in ten years


Our Fish Demands end to EU overfishing in Bergen

Brussels, 17 December 2018:- Our Fish is aghast at the decision by the EU and Norway to continue overfishing in the North Sea and Atlantic waters [1]. Of sixteen shared TACs (Total Allowable Catches) that were agreed, only two follow the scientific advice, and overall, the agreement represents the worst outcome for shared fish stocks in ten years.

“It is no surprise that decisions taken behind closed doors, with industry present, lack both  vision and accountability. The decision by the EU and Norway to continue overfishing is consistent with the cave-dweller approach that has blinkered European fisheries management for too long”, said Our Fish Program Director Rebecca Hubbard.

“The short-sightedness of this decision is magnified by last week’s climate COP in Katowice. The ocean is the origin of all life on earth, it is our largest carbon sink, yet it has been over-exploited for decades, jeopardising the whole ecosystem. Overfishing is the most destructive influence on the ocean that we have immediate control over. Yet EU Member States act as though they are oblivious to this connection, and are determined to blinker their vision by continuing to pander to a few short-term industry interests. It is a pathetic outcome.”

“EU ministers have again refused to implement the ban on discarding at sea, and failed to put in place a monitoring system that ensures illegal and unreported, discarding stops and the limits are followed”, concluded Hubbard.



Dave Walsh, Our Fish Communications Advisor, +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Program Director, +34 657669425



  • Only two of sixteen TACs were set in line with scientific advice;
  • Five of sixteen TACs are set above scientific advice considering exemptions from the landing obligation (discard ban);
  • Nine of sixteen TACs were set at least 25% above scientific advice.

[1] Agreed Record of Fisheries Consultations between Norway and the EU for 2019; Agreed Record of Conclusions of Fisheries Consultations between Norway and the European Union on the regulation of fisheries in Skaggerak and Kattegat for 2019

Civil society organisations had been refused entry to the annual meeting at Norway’s Fiskeridirektoratet (Fisheries Directorate) in Bergen – see video here, which was attended by the European Commission, government and fishing industry representatives from a number of EU member states, and Norway. The Our Fish campaign, in partnership with local brass band Kleppe Musikklag – who played tunes such as Europe’s The Final Countdown, and Norwegian-based street artist Sedin Zunic of Sea Invaders – who created his 2×2 artwork on a nearby building, gathered outside the meeting as it opened on November 26th, to remind delegates of their commitments to end overfishing by 2020, and to call for greater transparency during fisheries negotiations [3]. Officials arriving in Bergen airport had already been welcomed by startling images from the Fishlove campaign (pictured) calling for an end to overfishing and greater transparency.

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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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