Brussels — The European Commission released today its annual proposal on catch limits (TACs) for the North East Atlantic waters in 2017. Oceana considers the Commission’s proposal a step in the right direction but stresses more effort and political will is needed to eradicate overfishing. The proposal covers over 70 fish stocks, including commercially important species such as cod, hake, anglerfish, Norway lobster, sole, haddock and horse mackerel. Some of the stocks are in an alarming condition, including cod in West of Scotland, sole in the Irish Sea or Norway lobster in the Southern Bay of Biscay.
“European Atlantic — including the North Sea — fish stocks are still far from sustainable levels; today nearly half are overfished. Deviation from scientific advice is simply irresponsible governance. The potential of stock recovery is huge not only for the environment, but also for jobs in the fishing industry,” underlines Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “EU fisheries ministers have a proven track record of ignoring science and allowing overfishing. This destructive short-termism has to stop now.”
The Common Fisheries Policy governs the management of this shared natural resource and has a legally binding deadline for ending overfishing in Europe by 2020 at the latest. A final decision for 2017 fishing limits will be negotiated between the European Commission and the 28 fisheries ministers during a meeting of the Council of the EU on 12th-13th December in Brussels. For years Oceana has been denouncing the significant gap between sustainability commitments on paper and actual political decisions taken by ministers representing EU Member States, who consistently disregard scientific advice received from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).