To Become a Global Ocean Leader, Germany Must End Overfishing

Atlantic cod, gadus morhua Arco Images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Atlantic cod, gadus morhua
Arco Images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Berlin, 15 May 2020:- Responding to news that Germany has joined the Global Ocean Alliance, Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard said:

“Our Fish congratulates Germany for joining the Global Ocean Alliance, which is leading the call for protection of 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030 [1]. It is noteworthy that Germany also specifically stated that it will introduce a drive for sustainable use of the ocean into the Global Ocean Alliance. This is absolutely necessary if the German government is serious about tackling the biodiversity and climate crisis. Our Fish looks forward to Germany demonstrating its commitment by leading an end to EU overfishing during 2020.”

“Over the last 20 years the EU has overfished an abhorrent nine million tonnes of fish, and as the fifth worst for overfishing among EU Member States, Germany is far from innocent [2]. With its new commitment to the Global Ocean Alliance, this must change; we hope that Germany will also show political leadership during its presidency of the EU Council by ensuring an end to overfishing across the European Union, consistent with the EU’s Green Deal”, concluded Hubbard.

Germany will have the Presidency of the EU Council for the second half of 2020, during which EU Member States will agree fishing limits (Total Allowable Catches) for the Baltic Sea, the Deep Sea and the North East Atlantic in 2021. The Common Fisheries Policy states that the EU will set annual fishing limits in line with Maximum Sustainable Yield by 2020 at the latest [3], however its estimated that 50% of fishing limits set for 2020 were above scientific advice [4].

Germany joins Belgium, Belize, Costa Rica, Finland, Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria, Palau, Portugal, Seychelles, Sweden and Vanuatu as a member of the alliance, which was initiated by the UK [5] in September 2019.



Dave Walsh, Our Fish Communications Advisor, +34 691 826 764,


[1] Germany joins Global Ocean Alliance for marine protection

– 13 May 2020

From the press release:

Federal Environment Minister Schulze commented: “The seas and oceans need our protection. We will achieve better results if at least 30 percent of the world’s marine areas are under protection. This would help reduce the adverse effects of human activities, preserve fish stocks and improve the oceans’ resilience against climate change. However, it is equally clear that, in addition to marine protected areas, we also need a sustainable use of all seas and oceans. Germany will now promote this together with its partners in the Global Ocean Alliance.”

The ” Global Ocean Alliance ” advocates a combination of protection and sustainable management of the seas and oceans so that both the marine environment and sustainable marine economy can thrive.

[2] Report: 20 Years of EU Overfishing Proves Need for Blue Ambition in Green Deal:EU countries have overfished 8.78 million tonnes during the last 20 years

29 April 2020:- The New Economics Foundation and Our Fish campaign today called on the EU and its Member States to include ending overfishing in their climate laws, after a new study found that EU countries have overfished by 8.78 million tonnes during the last 20 years [1]. According to the historical analysis released by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Netherlands and Germany top the “overfishing League” table, by gaining the highest percentage of quotas above scientifically advised levels for sustainable limits over a 20-year period (35%, 24%, 23%, 23% 22% respectively), while the UK, Denmark and Spain have received the most in terms of excess tonnage (1.78M tonnes, 1.48M tonnes and 1.04M tonnes respectively).

[3] Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC

[4] NEF 2020, Landing the Blame: Overfishing in the North East Atlantic 2020

[5] UK creates global alliance to help protect the world’s ocean


About Our Fish

Our Fish is working to end overfishing and restore a healthy ocean ecosystem. By collaborating with others, and deploying robust evidence, we are calling for an end to overfishing as a critical and significant action to address the biodiversity and climate crisis


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