Late night deal on fisheries misses necessary decisive action on fish stocks
“This reform fails to end overfishing and ensure recovery of fish stocks within a reasonable timeframe. We are nowhere close to the ambitious and radical reform that the EU Commission was claiming”, said Dr. Sergi Tudela, Head of the Fisheries Programme at WWF Mediterranean.
Trojan efforts to reach a deal on this issue by MEP Ulrike Rodust and her parliamentary negotiating team resulted in an unambitious proposal agreed to by the Irish Presidency, led by Member States with large fishing industries, which preferred to defend a business-as-usual approach delaying stock recoveries. The new EU-CFP reform cannot continue a 40-year pattern of negotiations and self-congratulation while fish stocks continue to shrink.
WWF Mediterranean is particularly concerned by the following issues:
The agreement made last night fails to include the main pillar expected for this reform, the recovery of fish stocks by 2020 at the latest. As recently reported, full recovery for some stocks could take up to 100 years under the adopted text.
The current text also allows the commercialization of juvenile fish for the production of fishmeal. The impact of the legal commercialization of undersized fish is potentially very harmful in the Mediterranean, where juvenile fish will end up on the black market for direct human consumption or in fish meal for aquaculture. This will also work as a disincentive for the much needed implementation of measures towards avoiding juvenile catch such as time-area closures and improved gear selectivity.
One of the main elements of this reform is the provision for development and implementation of management plans for all European fisheries. However, without a clear time frame for its implementation and without the creation of co-management committees for the development of the plans by all stakeholders involved in the fishery as originally proposed by the European Parliament, this reform lacks the strength necessary to make a real impact on fish stock recovery.
“In the Mediterranean, with almost 90% of fish stocks considered as overfished, the adopted text is highly insufficient to bring fish stocks back to sustainable levels”, concluded Tudela.
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