European Commission green paper on overfishing


in Economics, Politics, Rants, Science

Artwork at the ROM

In addition to their illegal and deeply unethical fishing practices overseas, countries in the European Union have also been exploiting local stocks in an unsustainable way, encouraged partly by counterproductive government policies. All this is clearly articled in a green paper issued by the European Commission and described by the BBC. It mentions factors including subsidized fuel, and the willingness of politicians to inflate allowable catch numbers in defiance of scientific advice.

If we are ever going to get sustainable global fisheries, we are going to need governments with the fortitude and integrity to manage their own fish stocks, first. The sad examples set by Europe, Canada, and others are not encouraging on that front. Indeed, it continues to appear that reduced human consumption of fish will arise as the inevitable product of over-exploitation, not as the result of restraint motivated by long-term self interest (much less, any concern for marine ecosystems themselves). Hopefully, voters will eventually become cognizant of what is happening and demand that politicians abandon their damaging support for a fishing industry driven by the availability of short-term profits, rather than the management of a potentially sustainable resource.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

. April 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Blog index >> Fisheries

. April 21, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Boulogne, France (AHN) – Angry French fishermen blocked at least two ports on the English Channel to protest fishing quotas.

The indefinite Napoleonic-style blockade using underwater cables disrupted ferry and freight service.

Fishing fleets with 110 plus boats at the Calais and Boulogne ports were preventing ships from entering Tuesday.

At issue is European Union fishing quotas that French fishermen say are too tough. They say that small fishermen are being unnecessarily limited in what they can catch and they are angry at their government for not better standing up for their interests.

The protest was reportedly spreading to other ports.

Milan May 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm

The Economist has a good editorial criticizing the disaster that is the European Union’s fisheries policy:

Fishy tales

Apr 23rd 2009
From The Economist print edition
Only radical actions can save Europe’s fish—and its fishermen

“ASK insiders to describe the European Union’s fisheries policy, and you get a string of colourful metaphors. When fishermen want to catch more than scientists recommend, they are seeking “the right to cut their fingers off, one by one”, says one official. The December meetings at which ministers set catch limits are a “Barnum’s circus guided by short-termism”, says another. It is hard to disagree. Each December, supposedly rational politicians haggle for two days and nights to reach an irrational result. Quotas are often as much as 50% above those urged by scientists. National controls on fleets and harbours are so patchy that the EU’s Court of Auditors said in 2007 that real catch levels were “unknown”. Fishermen then exceed quotas with impunity.

On April 22nd the European Commission published a consultative green paper on the common fisheries policy (CFP), suggesting some radical changes. It is a remarkably honest, even angry document. Fully 88% of the EU’s stocks are overfished, it says. In the North Sea, 93% of cod are caught before they can breed. Most EU fishing fleets lose money or are barely profitable, despite direct aid and huge hidden subsidies such as tax-free fuel. In several countries the cost to public budgets of subsidising fishermen “exceeds the total value of the catches”. That means a taxpayer eating local fish has, in effect, paid for it twice.”

. May 25, 2009 at 10:23 am

EU begins fisheries policy review
By Chris Mason
BBC News, Brussels

European Union fisheries ministers are in Brussels to review rules on how much fish can be caught in EU waters.

The EU’s executive, the European Commission, says more than 80% of Europe’s fish stocks are now overfished. The global average is 28%.

The current Common Fisheries Policy, which sets quotas, aims to ensure Europe has a sustainable fishing industry and sustainable fish stocks.

It is widely accepted the current annual quotas have failed.

. May 25, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Consensus on EU fisheries change

By Chris Mason
BBC News, Brussels

European fisheries ministers have concluded a meeting in Brussels with a consensus to effectively scrap current rules that decide fishing quotas.

Environmentalists and fishermen alike have long argued the existing system – set annually – has failed the industry.

Fish caught over quota are dumped back in the sea even if dead, and in the UK alone numbers of fishermen have fallen by a third over the decade.

The European Union has until 2012 to draw up a new Common Fisheries Policy.

It is estimated the existing system of quotas means for every kilogram of cod caught in the North Sea, another kilogram has to be dumped overboard, dead or alive

. September 21, 2009 at 11:02 am

Fish policy blighted by ‘failure’

European rules which oversee Scotland’s fishing industry have been blighted by “systemic failures” and should be overhauled, a report argues.

The study, part of a government-commissioned inquiry on the Common Fisheries Policy, said it had resulted in “gladiatorial” battles over quotas.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said the report showed how the policy was crippling the industry.

Scotland is responsible for about 70% of key UK fishing quotas.

The interim report by the Inquiry into Future Fisheries Management said fishermen experienced the “worst aspects of the current regime” and suggested a move to regional management, giving countries more control over their own waters.

Mr Lochhead said the Common Fisheries Policy had been “discredited” by its “fundamental flaws”.

. October 27, 2016 at 2:59 pm

EU proposes total commercial fishing ban on Atlantic sea bass

Move would also cut Scottish whiting catches to zero, while Celtic cod and Irish sole face hefty reductions to prevent stocks collapsing

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