Oceans | WWF
	© WWF

Saving our oceans

Europe’s seas remain in a critical state with most fish stocks heavily overfished, too many pollutants, biodiversity loss, degraded habitats, invasive species and declining coastal communities.
To better protect our ocean and ensure a sustainable use of marine resources by 2020, the EU has a comprehensive body of legislation and management tools, 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 make sure it achieves the good environmental status (GES) and sustainable management of fish stocks by 2020.

To ensure this we are advocating for:
  • better implementation and monitoring of the EU IUU regulation to end illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
  • establishing an ecological coherent network of multiannual management plans for the European Regional Seas;
  • increasing investments to collect and assess fisheries data;
  • sustainable fishing practices that guarantee the elimination of fish discard, fleet capacity in line with fishing opportunities, and a lower impact on the marine environment;
  • increased cooperation and involvement of stakeholders in the management of fisheries 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

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.