Oceans | WWF
	© WWF

Saving our oceans

Europe’s seas remain in a critical state with the two-thirds of assessed stocks overfished, too many pollutants, biodiversity loss, degraded habitats, invasive species and declining coastal communities.
To deliver ocean conservation and sustainable use of marine resources by 2020, the EU has a comprehensive body of legislation and management tools focused on distinct elements of ocean governance including: the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and its External Dimension, the key EU fisheries regulation, including the EU IUU regulation, Marine Spatial Planning Directive (MSP).

Source: Living Planet Report 2016

What is WWF doing?

The EU should prioritize explicit measures and policy objectives to make sure it achieves the good environmental status (GES) and sustainable management of fish stocks by 2020.

To ensure this we are advocating for:
  • ending illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing  through promoting harmonised implementation and monitoring of the key requirements of the EU IUU Regulation;
  • establishing an ecological coherent network of multiannual management plans (MPAs) for the European Regional Seas;
  • increasing investments in fisheries data collection and assessment;
  • promoting sustainable fishing practices by guaranteeing discard elimination, balancing fleet capacity with fishing opportunities, and minimising the impact of fisheries on the marine environment;
  • advocating cooperation and involvement of stakeholders in the management of fisheries and allow for an adaptive and participative approach to deliver tailored measures and to ensure the right level of stakeholder buy-in and compliance.
In addition, WWF is identifying priority actions to implement the sustainable development goal 14, dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of the seas, oceans and marine resources.  

Policy timeline

Our Oceans Team

Samantha Burgess
Head, European Marine Policy
+32 2 743 88 00

Sarah Fagnani
EU Policy Officer (Maternity cover)
+32 2 743 88 00

Eszter Hidas
Policy Officer, Transparent Seas Project
+32 2 761 04 25

Rita Santos
Senior Marine & Fisheries Policy Officer
+32 2 761 04 22

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) 

EU fish facts & figures

	© naturepl.com / Doc White / WWF
    2/3 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


  • 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.