41% of stocks in the North Sea are overfished. In a recovery scenario, the North Sea region could see an increase of 90% more fish annually.
The European Parliament today adopted in its final vote the North Sea Multi-Annual Plan (NSMAP). The plan covers nearly one-third of all fish catches in EU waters, and includes demersal species, such as: cod, haddock, whiting, sole, plaice and Norway lobster. According to Oceana, the final deal is not acceptable, as it does not fully implement the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and still allows for overfishing of certain stocks in the region.
On 8 December 2017, a political agreement on the European Commission’s proposal for the NSMAP was reached through so-called “trilogue” negotiations. The EU lawmakers have completely failed to meet the legally binding requirements set by the CFP and the Parliament missed an opportunity to defend its own position adopted at the plenary vote in September 2017. The Parliament also ceded to the Council’s pressure and low ambitions on the matter.
"Today’s decision on the North Sea Multi-Annual Plan comes below expectations. 41% of stocks in the North Sea region are still overfished, while if sustainably managed, all the North Sea stocks could produce 1.45 million tonnes more fish annually (a 90% increase) in the next 10 years. Economies depending on fisheries should have a longer lifespan than a political mandate," argues Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana Europe.
The North Sea, which is home to Europe’s richest fishing ground, requires stronger and more ambitious commitment towards sustainable management of its resources, for the sake of the environment, as well as the future of the fishermen.
The next EU multiannual management plans currently negotiated (for the Atlantic western and for the western Mediterranean) should ensure a better and sustainable management to all EU fish stocks, fulfilling the CFP obligation to stop overfishing by 2020. All fisheries plans should prioritise full stock recovery by protecting juvenile fish through establishment of fish stock recovery areas and by applying science-based exploitation rates. Only by guaranteeing an integrated ecosystem-based management approach, can stocks replenish and the long-term profitability of the fishermen’s livelihood be secured.
Learn more: Joint NGO position on the outcome of NSMAP negotiations