Bergen, Norway, 26 November 2018:- A 10-piece brass band playing EU’s Anthem of Europe, and a large mural of a young boy embracing a fish provided a surreal and provocative welcome for delegates arriving at this week’s consultation between the EU and Norway, where 2019 fishing limits for joint fish stocks in the North Sea and Atlantic waters will be decided [1,2].
Civil society organisations have been refused entry to the annual meeting at Norway’s Fiskeridirektoratet (Fisheries Directorate) in Bergen, which is being 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 this morning to remind delegates of their commitments to end overfishing by 2020, and to call for greater transparency during fisheries negotiations .
Officials arriving in Bergen Airport had already been welcomed by startling images from the Fishlove campaign calling for an end to overfishing and greater transparency. “After countless clarion calls to EU governments to end overfishing, it is clear that they are listening neither to scientific advice nor to their citizens. But they can’t ignore the message being trumpeted here today in Bergen”, said Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard. “We are calling on the EU and Norway to play a different tune this year – live up to your commitments, and stop this senseless overfishing – for the good of our oceans and our people.”
“Both the EU and Norway have signed up to international and national commitments on sustainable fishing because they know that ending overfishing is good for our ocean, economy, fishing communities and food security. But while they portray themselves as leaders in global ocean governance, behind closed-doors they agree to its continued destruction -it’s time the hypocrisy ended”, continued Hubbard. This year expert scientists from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), have advised huge cuts to the tune of around half of last year’s quotas, for Cod, Herring and Haddock. Scientists also advise a significant cut for Plaice and Sprat .
“Advice for such large cuts in fishing quotas come because scientists consider the stocks as unhealthy, or their natural limits as being pushed too far. If the EU and Norway ignore these warnings from scientists, and keep on endorsing fishing that is too hard and too fast, things will only get worse for fishers in the future”, said Hubbard. “While the EU and Norway appear to blame each other for setting fishing limits above sustainable levels – the EU can certainly only blame itself for failing to enforce its new law against discarding. Dumping thousands of tonnes of unwanted fish back to sea, dead and dying, will be illegal in all EU quota-fisheries from January 1st 2019, including shared stocks, but with nobody watching, this wasteful activity is unlikely to stop”.
“If Norway doesn’t demand remote electronic monitoring and stronger enforcement of rules at sea as part of negotiations with the EU, then they are turning a blind eye to reports of illegal, unreported discarding, and allowing the future health of their fish stocks to be undermined”, concluded Hubbard. “The works of Sea Invaders is dedicated to working for a plastic free ocean and healthy fish stocks”, said Sedin Zunic, who created a mural on a building near the Fisheries Directorate showing a young boy embracing a fish. “We must think about the new generation, and the future we leave for our children. I’m happy to support Our Fish, and their work to end overfishing. Our tasks are pretty similar – giving humans a wake up call for protecting our oceans.”
- NGO recommendations for 2019 fishing limits for EU-Norway shared fish stocks
- Letters Sent to EU Fisheries Ministers ahead of November 2018 EU-Norway meeting in Bergen
- Important: The 10-piece brass band, Kleppe Musikklag, played the follow music outside the Fiskeridirektoratet:
- The European Union (EU) shares with Norway the responsibility to manage several fish stocks mainly in the North Sea, including the Skagerrak and Kattegat. The fishing opportunities for these stocks, among other measures, are decided in an annual bilateral agreement between the EU and Norway. The European Commission negotiates the management for the shared stocks on behalf of the EU, based on a mandate from the Council of Ministers. https://our.fish/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/NGOs-recommendations-No-EU-shared-stocks_13112018.pdf
- The objective to manage fish stocks sustainably is clearly enshrined in international agreements, as well as in the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and Norwegian legislation, and must therefore also be met for all EU- Norway shared stocks.Through the 2002 United Nations (UN) Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, and in line with the requirements from the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA), the EU, its Member States and Norway have an international commitment to ensure fisheries management “measures are based on the best scientific evidence available and are designed to maintain or restore stocks at levels capable of producing maximum sustainable yield” (MSY).
- Our detailed recommendations for the Total Allowable Catches (annual fishing limits) for EU-Norway shared stocks :
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. Website: https://our.fish Follow Our Fish on Twitter: @our_fish
About Kleppen Musikklag: “We can, will and dare!” Kleppe Musikklag is a brass band from Askøy, outside Bergen. It was founded in 1965 and has an average age of 21 years. Kleppe Musikklag has a long tradition of combining social gatherings with music, fun and interaction with local communities. https://www.kleppemusikklag.net/
About Sedin Zunic Sedin Zunic was born in Bosnia and has been in love with the art of drawing his whole life. He creates his things, rather than buying them, and his art has become a natural part of who he is. Sedin came to Norway in 1993 and got introduced to the urban subculture in Kristiansand filled with graffiti and street art. Today he is the founder of CoolArt.no and Seainvaders.