Saving our Oceans

Fisherman casting net over gilt-head bream (Sparus aurata) fish farm, the Frioul Island, Marseille, France.
© Larrey/WWF
Europe’s fish stocks and fishing sector are in crisis, with two-thirds of assessed stocks being overfished. Transforming the way Europe manages its fisheries is critical in addressing dwindling stocks and protecting the marine environment for future generations.
This is why WWF will be focusing its efforts on the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), which is the first EU binding law designed to make a significant contribution to the preservation, protection and restoration of marine ecosystems, including pollution reduction and minimisation.

The directive aims at achieving good environmental status (GES) in the EU marine waters by 2020 at the latest and has the potential to be one of the most progressive pieces of marine legislation anywhere in the world.

WWF’s European Marine and Fisheries programme – which is currently being developed - will be embedded in the WWF global approach to marine and fisheries work. It is aiming at scaling up the work in Europe in order to address the major role Europe is playing globally in the trade and consumption of seafood (EU is the world's largest import market for fish products) as well as linking the CFP reform processes and current and future legislatory obligations regarding good ocean governance to the global picture.


  • Rita Santos

    Senior Marine & Fisheries Policy Officer

    WWF European Policy Office,

    +32 2 761 04 22


 / ©: WWF

of Europe’s assessed fish stocks are overexploited
Europe’s fishing fleet is estimated to be 2 to 3 times the size needed to catch the available resources
The EU is the 4th largest producer of fish and aquaculture products in the world
The North Sea yields only 1/5th of the cod, plaice and sole it did 25 years ago
In the Mediterranean, over 90% of assessed stocks are overexploited
60% of fish consumed within the EU is caught abroad

The Global Ocean—From Decline to Recovery

Global Oceans Commission Report From Decline to Recovery - A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean
"The Ocean is under threat, and humanity’s approach to it is uncontrolled. Benign neglect by the majority, and active abuse by the minority, have fuelled a cycle of decline.” (Global Oceans Commission report, June 2014)

Download the report (June 2014) 


  • Healthy marine ecosystems supporting abundant fish stocks which in turn provide sustainable livelihoods for fishing industries and fisheries dependent communities around Europe and the world.