Letter

More Than 120 Groups Urge EU Ministers to End Overfishing

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Organisations across the European Union are encouraging EU member state ministers responsible for fisheries to end most overfishing in 2015 as required by the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

These ministers meet in Brussels on Dec. 15 and 16 to set 2015 fishing limits for stocks in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters. More than 40 per cent of assessed stocks in these waters are known to be overfished.

Despite the legal requirement in the CFP, the ministers legislated overfishing when deciding in recent months on catch limits for Baltic and deep species.

According to the CFP, ministers can only request a delay in the requirement to end overfishing in 2015 if they have specific evidence that the social and economic sustainability of the fishing fleets involved would be seriously jeopardised by such a decision. Moreover, they must explain how fishing pressure would be progressively and incrementally reduced to sustainable levels as soon as possible—and not later than by 2020.

In total, 125 organisations have signed a letter to the ministers, urging them to redouble their efforts to meet the 2015 deadline to end overfishing. Any delay would prolong environmental degradation and bring socioeconomic hardship for the fishing sector. With fewer fish, there can only be less fishing in the long term.

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