Ministers urged not to block CFP reform | WWF

Ministers urged not to block CFP reform

Posted on 11 June 2002
Luxembourg - WWF activists dressed as fish today presented European Fisheries Ministers, arriving for a meeting of the European Union�s Fisheries Council in Luxembourg, with a letter calling on Governments not to block reform of Europe�s failed Common fisheries policy (CFP).

The letter, addressed particularly to the Fisheries Ministers of Spain, France and Portugal, and signed by thousands of WWF supporters, states �I would respectfully point out that:

1. Your country will not lose a single Euro in fishing subsidies under the European Commission�s recently published proposals.
2. Most small-scale fishermen do not benefit from the public aid for building new or modernising boats. Instead, the Commission�s recommendation to redirect this money to socio-economic aid for fishing areas is more likely to benefit the majority of smaller scale fishermen, depending of course on how your government decides to invest the money.
3. Public money would still be available for improving on-board safety for the well-being of fishermen, for more selective techniques which would protect juvenile fish and make fish stocks more abundant, and for improvements to the quality of production.�

"The truth is that fish stocks are severely depleted and cannot sustain Europe�s fishing fleet at its current size," said WWF European Fisheries Campaign Director, Karl Wagner. "Tough decisions have got to be made � and that is what some politicians find so unacceptable. Decisions with serious implications for employment in fishing communities are not easy. There is a case for more measures to help the coastal areas most affected by restructuring."

According to WWF, Europe faces a tough question: what should be done to create abundant fish stocks that can maintain a viable fishing industry? In the conservation organization's view, holding onto subsidies that most fishermen do not benefit from is not the answer. It makes more sense for coastal communities to work together to restructure of the industry.

"The alternative is to allow what happened in Canada to repeat itself on this side of the Atlantic," adds Karl Wagner. "In Canada, politicians ignored scientific advice until the world�s richest cod fishery collapsed ten years ago. Thirty thousand jobs were lost practically overnight and the fishery has still not recovered. We are heading for exactly the same catastrophe unless radical action is taken now."

WWF is calling on Ministers, meeting today for a presentation of the Commission�s proposals, to consider very carefully the Commission�s proposals before condemning them.

WWF urges the Ministers to take a long, cool and rational look at how to ensure a healthy future for fish stocks and the marine environment on which fishing and fishing communities depend.

For more information:

Julian Scola, Communications Manager, WWF European Fisheries Campaign tel +32 486 117 394

Angelina Hermanns, Press Officer, WWF European Policy Office, tel +32 2 740 0925, mobile: + 32 497 258 042