Last week was a good week for us at Oceana as we closed the month of September with a bang! It’s been a month of victories and good for our work here in Europe, and there is nothing more rewarding than realizing that our efforts are actually making a difference. We therefore thought we’d highlight a couple for you.
After months of research into the issue, we gathered it all into a report, which we made public earlier this week – and the news isn’t good. It now seems that the amount of subsidies to the fishing sectors of EU Member States is 3 times greater than what has previously been acknowledged by the European Commission.
Mercury contamination in popular fish, industrial waste leaking into our oceans, years long legal battles to gain access to public information being kept hidden by the government – it sounds like the plot of a movie, but unfortunately, it’s just what we’ve been dealing with in our latest battle against seafood contamination in Spain and in Europe.
Spain’s beautiful Costa Del Sol, a tourist destination for millions, is under threat from Repsol, and oil company with plans to prospect for gas in the area, and some incredible habitats and marine animals that we just recently documented as part of our latest Ranger Expedition are in danger of being destroyed.
The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna has been an important and emblematic part of Mediterranean culture for centuries, fascinating even ancient Greek and Latin philosophers because of its impressive size and fast speed. Yet these magnificent creatures, sometimes called tigers of the oceans, find themselves under strong fishing pressure and need our support.
The problem of discards is one of the greatest failures of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). If you follow our blog you’ll have read about it in the past. The numbers are disgusting – truthfully: 1.3 Million tons of marine fish (and other organisms) are discarded and dumped overboard (dead most often than not) by EU fishermen every year.
We estimate that since the beginning of the 21st century, 70 million tonnes of fish have been caught and afterwards discarded dead, 110,000 hectares of sea-grass meadows that were home to thousands of organisms have been destroyed and 99% of the species in danger of extinction still lack conservation plans.
The oceans are taking a beating, plain and simple. Here’s what Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana Europe has to say: