Fish quotas: stocks in dire state | WWF

Fish quotas: stocks in dire state

Posted on 17 December 2001
Brussels, Belgium - WWF urges EU Fisheries Ministers, meeting today to decide on fishing quotas for next year, to accept the European Commission's cautious approach to setting next year's total allowable catches.

At the same time, WWF condemns the existing system for managing fishing in Europe, and calls for radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

The exact levels at which total allowable catches should be set for different fish stocks in different areas is a very complex matter.

Julie Cator, WWF European Fisheries Coordinator said, "Fisheries Ministers should support the realistic approach adopted by the European Commission, given the generally dire state of fish stocks across Europe. Ministers must take tough decisions to guarantee positive change."

"There can be no doubt that the last 20 years of managing fishing through annual quotas has failed everyone miserably - fishermen, communities, fish stocks and the marine environment," added Julie Cator. "Annual quota setting has been dominated by short-term interests and has not tackled the crisis in fish stocks effectively. The European Union must start thinking long-term and move away from this annual circus of crisis management."

WWF also calls on the Council to adopt the overdue long-term recovery plans for cod and hake that have been prepared by the Commission - and to agree an extension of the fleet reduction programme for next year as proposed by the Commission.

WWF supports a wide-ranging package of reform to offset the damage to communities and fish stocks caused by the failing quota regime.

WWF urges the European Union to adopt comprehensive measures including:

� recovery plans for all fish stocks that are below safe biological limits,
� reform harmful fishing subsidies,
� reduction of oversized fishing fleets and effort control to limit impact by the fleet,
� access controls to protect fragile and vulnerable parts of the marine ecosystem,
� technical measures to fish more selectively and reduce bycatch.

WWF has welcomed the realistic assessment of the problems facing the Europe's fisheries policy in the European Commission's Green Paper on the reform of the CFP, published earlier this year, and urges the Commission to press ahead with proposing a new, more sustainable CFP next year.

For more information:

Angelina Hermanns, Press Officer, WWF European Policy Office, tel +32 2 740 0925

Julie Cator, WWF European Fisheries Coordinator, tel +32 2 743 8807