President Sarkozy's comments show a misguided and kneejerk political reaction to fishermen's demands and a lack of understanding of the challenge facing European fisheries.
The European Commission, scientists, environmentalists and many responsible heads of state are united in their concern for the fate of European fisheries and are trying to work together for their recovery in order to ensure the future long term sustainability of the sector. President Sarkozy's comments are irresponsible and dangerous for the future of our seas and the survival of European fisheries - his comments can lead other countries, such as Spain and Italy, to also disrespect European decisions on fisheries.
The Common Fisheries Policy has many improper features which have lead to overcapitalisation of the fleet, overcapacity and overfishing. The annual circus of quota setting is one of these improper features - but further weakening of the quota system, as suggested by President Sarkozy, may only make things worse in the long term. What are needed are long term policies to ensure the recovery of Europe's badly depleted fish stocks, strong fisheries control to prevent overfishing and illegal activities and measures to reduce the huge overcapacity of the European fleet.