WWF asks Fish Ministers to make bold decisions
Brussels, Belgium – WWF, the conservation organization, asked Ministers meeting today in Luxembourg at the European Union Fisheries Council to make bold decisions on the reform the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
In a letter handed to Ministers entering the meeting, the Director General of WWF International, Claude Martin, said "Bold decisions can and must be made. Business as usual is not an option. Taking decisive, planned steps towards sustainability is an attractive option compared to the disastrous and far-reaching social, economic, and environmental consequences of maintaining current levels of overfishing and inappropriate harmful subsidies."
Claude Martin also drew the Ministers attention to three recent bold decisions on marine protection and fisheries management: the Swedish Government’s decision to ban cod fishing in Swedish waters in the Baltic; the Australian Government’s announcement of a 6.5 million hectare marine reserve in Antarctic waters – an area more than twice the size of Belgium; and the establishment by Mozambique – one of the world's poorest nations – of 1,500 km2 of marine protected area, previously plagued by unsustainable fishing, as part of the new Quirimbas National Park, as well as a doubling to 1,400 km2 of the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park into areas where industrial trawlers are a threat to the critically endangered dugong.
The negotiations on CFP reform are moving inevitably towards compromises, but WWF insists that there can be no compromise on sustainability.
Claude Martin warned Ministers that the reform must deliver a transformation of the subsidies regime; the introduction of multi-annual management plans; fairer and more ecologically sound access arrangements with third countries; credible decisions to reduce fishing capacity and effort.
The letter reminded Fisheries Ministers that the European Union has already made a number of clear pledges to reform of its Fisheries Policy (Gothenburg Summit 2001, World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg 2002) and to sustainability in general (Amsterdam Treaty).
WWF activists dressed as fish greeted the Ministers arriving at the meeting with music, a spectacular fish banner, a fish shaped coffin and a short poem: "We’re fishes, We’re delicious, Don’t be vicious, Our Wish is that you won’t overfish us."
WWF is one of many organizations calling for substantial reform of the CFP – others include the European Anglers Alliance representing six million recreational anglers, Unilever (Europe’s largest fish producer), Birdlife International with 2.5 million members, Seas At Risk, Levende Hav, and FIG (the Federation of Galician Ecological Groups).
For further information:
Julian Scola, WWF Fisheries Campaign, tel +32 486 117 394 (mobile);
Olivier van Bogaert, Press Officer, WWF International, tel +41 22 364 95 54