As the world’s largest market for seafood products, the European Union must lead by example with respect to driving sustainable fisheries, both within its territorial waters and worldwide.
Why it matters
Globally, over 60% of assessed fish stocks remain overfished or fully fished. The effective implementation of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) would ensure that all fishing activities carried out by the EU fleet are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. Improved compliance with fisheries rules by all stakeholders both in and out of EU waters to help fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, deliver more robust traceability of seafood products sold in the EU, and achieve fully-documented, low-impact fisheries that take bycatch, marine ecosystems and sensitive species into account will help to secure not only the long-term viability of the fisheries sector, but boost ocean resilience in the face of the climate and biodiversity crises.
Despite a wide range of tools available to improve fishing operations, implementation of the CFP is facing significant challenges, as numerous fish stocks remain overexploited and hundreds of thousands of marine species are threatened by unsustainable practices, which puts the long-term future of fisheries and fair standards of living for coastal communities at risk.
What WWF is doing
At the WWF EPO, we use our Brussels-based presence and positive relationships with all stakeholders, including the EU institutions (European Commission, European Parliament and Council of the European Union) to strengthen legislative measures of key marine and fisheries files. We offer evidence-based solutions for improved practices and for successful implementation of the legislation to achieve the targets currently in place, and ensure coherence between the EU’s environmental, climate and fisheries policies.
As part of the EU Fisheries Control Coalition
, WWF EPO joins forces with eight other civil society organisations to ensure that the ongoing revision of the fisheries Control Regulation will bolster fully documented fisheries activities and bring transparency to our seafood supply chains.
The EPO is also working with companies specialised in ocean data and seafood traceability, as well as other civil society organisations focusing on ocean conservation and digital transitions. Our aim is to provide fishers and authorities with new technologies to improve monitoring and control of fishing fleets, facilitate the uptake of modern fisheries management measures by operators, and spur advancement in making information available to consumers through better traceability of seafood products.