Letter from 217 civil groups to EU Fisheries Ministers


To EU Fisheries Minister

cc.: Environment Ministers

Brussels, April 9, 2013

Dear Fisheries Ministers,

As negotiations on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) are entering the final and decisive stage we, the undersigned organisations, are writing to you to urge you to support the European Parliament’s aim to restore fish stocks by 2020 and end overfishing by 2015.

Thirty years of EU fisheries management under the CFP have resulted in serious depletion of fish populations, degradation of ecosystems, and damage to marine species and their habitats. Forty-seven percent of the assessed stocks in the Atlantic and 80 percent in the Mediterranean are overfished, along with five out of seven fish stocks in the Baltic.(1)  It is estimated that by allowing overfishing of EU stocks, governments are tacitly consenting to waste more than €3 billion of potential landing value every year, which could support more than 100,000 additional jobs.(2)

The EU is legally bound to restore fish populations to sustainable levels under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, Articles 61.3 and 119.1(a)). It also committed in 2002 to do so “where possible not later than 2015” (Article 31(a) of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development). Your head of government recently agreed to intensify not slacken efforts to achieve this goal at the Rio+20 Summit and to do the utmost to protect marine biodiversity.

You will be aware that recently, the European Parliament agreed by 502 votes to 137 to include a target to end overfishing by 2015 with a view to recovering and maintaining European fish stocks above levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield by 2020. Without such an ambitious yet achievable objective for the recovery of fish stocks the CFP is a policy without purpose. We deeply deplore that Council rejected such a goal in its General Approach.

However, the upcoming negotiations between Council and Parliament provide a perfect opportunity for you to show personal leadership and do all in your power to ensure that Council now endorses the Parliament’s approach. Similar stock recovery targets in Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Russia and the USA have resulted in a consistently improved state of fish stocks. We urge you to now build on their experiences and ensure the CFP becomes an effective tool for sound fisheries management, for the restoration of our common heritage, and for providing a sustainable and profitable future for fisheries dependent communities.

Yours sincerely,




Děti Země

Česká společnost ornitologická 

Koalice pro řeky

Hnutí Duha

Nireas Marine Reasearch

BirdLife Cyprus

People Uniting and Generating Aid for Development (PUGAD)

Danish Society for a Living Sea

Danmarks Naturfredningsforening

C-CONDEM Ecuador

Estonian Sportfishing Federation (ESFF)

Eesti Ornitoloogiaühing

BirdLife Finland

Finnish Association for Nature Conservation


SOS Grand Bleu

Centre d'Etudes pour le Développement d'une Pisciculture Autonome (CEDEPA)

Réseau Cétacés

Collectif Bar Européen

Noé Conservation


Association A l'écoute de l'Océan (AALÉCO)

Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO)

Souffleurs d'écume

Observatoire des Requins de Polynésie 


Association pour la Protection des Animaux Sauvages (ASPAS)

Mediterranean Shark Research Group

France Nature Environnement

Institut Océanographique Paul Ricard

Shark Angels France 

Surfrider Foundation Europe 

Expédition M.E.D (Méditerranée En Danger)

Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine


Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (NABU)


Sharkproject Germany e.V. 

Slow Food Germany

Brot für die Welt

Pro Wildlife

Forum Ökologisch-Soziale Marktwirtschaft e.V. (FÖS)


Reef Check

Fair Oceans

Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e. V. (BUND)

Gesellschaft zum Schutz der Meeressäugetiere e.V. (GSM)

Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH)

Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation

Professional Fisheries Association of Fourni Korseon “O Glaros”

CleanUp Greece

Samos Divers 

Development Center of Oinousses- Aegean 

Aegean Network of Ecological Associations

Scientific Association of Young Lawyers


Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (MEDASSET)

Iceland Nature Conservation Association (INCA)


Green Budget Europe (GBE)  


BirdLife Europe


The Pew Charitable Trusts

Coalition Clean Baltic

Seas at Risk

The Fisheries Secretariat

Coalition for Fair Fisheries Agreements


Youth and Environment Europe (YEE)

Black Sea NGO Network

Slow Food  


Sea Shepherd Conservation Society


BirdWatch Ireland

National SEA LIFE Centre Bray

Woodcock Smokery

Galway Atlantaquaria

Irish Wildlife Trust

Irish Seal Sanctuary

Liffey Valley Park Alliance

Voice of Irish Concern For The Environment

HD Interactive Publishing

An Taisce (The National Trust for Ireland)

Coastwatch Europe

North West Traditional Fishermen



Posidonia MED

Tethys Research Institute

LIPU-BirdLife Italy

5 Terre Academy 

Legambiente Onlus

Federazione Italiana Pesca In Apnea (FIPIA)

Fondazione Cetacea

Gruppo Ricercatori Italini sugli Squali razze e chimere (GRIS)


Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn

Centro Turistico Studentesco e Giovanile (CTS)

Green Life

The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI

Latvian Anglers Association

Lithuanian Fund for Nature

Lietuvos Ornitologų Draugija


Nature Trust

BirdLife Malta

Greenhouse Malta


Sharkman's World Organization

Norwegian Society for Conservation of Nature 

Sociedade Portuguese para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA)


SCIAENA (Associação de Ciências Marinhas e Cooperação)

Observatório do Mar dos Açores (OMA)


Grupo de Estudos de Ordenamento do Território e Ambiente (GEOTA)

Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN)

Associação Portuguesa para o Estudo e Conservação dos Elasmobrânquios (APECE)

Naturalists' Club

Fundacja Sprzątanie Świata-Polska

Fundacja Nasza Ziemia 

Ogólnopolskie Towarzystwo Ochrony Ptaków

Polish Ecological Club (Polski Klub Ekologiczny Zarząd Główny)

Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Rzeki Łeby 

Klub Gaja

Fundacja Z Naszej Strony 

Fundacja Zielony Instytut


Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Rzek Iny i Gowienicy

Asociatia pentru dezvoltare durabila „Prut-Dunare” Galati

Centrul Gifted Education


SOS/BirdLife Slovakia


Živá Planeta

CEEV Živica

Eco Vitae

Ecologistas en Acción

Agrupació per a la Protecció del Medi Ambient (APMA)

Asociación de Amigos de los Humedales del Sur de Alicante (AHSA)

Associació de Naturalistes de Girona


Coordinadora per a la Salvaguarda del Montseny

Fundació ENT

GEN-GOB Eivissa

FUNDECOL, Fundación de Defensa Ecológica 

Grup Ecologista Les Agulles

Marea Azul, Movimiento Alterno de Recuperación de Ecosistemas Afectados

Associació Catalana d'Oceanografia (ACOIO)

Institut de Medi Ambient (Universitat de Girona)

Observatorio del deute en la Globalització (ODG)

Grup de Medi Ambient de Montcada i Reixac 

Iberian Biodiversity (IBBIO) 

Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Medio Ambiente (IIDMA)

Fundación Lonxanet para la Pesca Sostenible

Xarxa de Custòdia del Territori

Grup de treball de Custòdia Marina

Mare Nostrum

Asociación Defensa Derechos Animal (ADDA)

AEMS Rius amb Vida

Amigos de la Tierra

BIOSFERA Associació d'Educació Ambiental

DEPANA, Lliga per a la Defensa del Patrimoni Natural

Foro Social de Canjas

Gent del Ter

Kenna Eco Diving

Oceanográfica: Divulgación, Educación y Ciencia

Plataforma “El Chorlitejo” para la defensa del Litoral del Sureste de Gran Canaria


Redmanglar Internacional

L’Ateneu Juvenil, Cultural i Naturalista de Girona


Submarinistas en Acción

Asociación el Muellito del Roque

Animal Latitude


Ben Magec 

Associació Salut i Agroecologia (ASiA)

Asociación Ondine 

Xarxa de Consum Solidari

Swedish Elasmobranch Society

Swedish Society for Nature Conservation


Nederlandse Elasmobranchen Vereniging

Sea First Foundation

North Sea Foundation (Stichting De Noordzee)

The Black Fish Foundation

New Economics Foundation

Paint a Fish



Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

Blue Ventures

Sustainable Fish City

Women’s Environmental Network (WEN)

The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT)

Sustainable Inshores Fisheries Trust (SIFT)

Marine Conservation Society (MCS)

The ART of Science


Salmon & Trout Association


Moshi Moshi

Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

Scottish Creelers and Divers

The Gaia Foundation

Shark Trust

Share The World's Resources

Pisces Restaurants, Fishers & Retailers CIC

Frankie’s Fish & Chips

Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST)

Shark Research Institute


(1) EU Commission (2012), communication from the commission concerning a consultation on fishing opportunities for 2013, COM (2012) 278 final.

(2) Nef (new economics foundation) (2012), Jobs Lost at Sea

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