Pressure Mounts for EU Fisheries Commissioner to Put Environment First

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Today OCEAN2012, the pan-European campaign to stop overfishing in Europe, handed over 28,500 signatures to European Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, calling on her to prioritise the health of the marine environment in the reform of the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

oceans2012.jpg“From all over Europe people are urging Commissioner Damanaki to conserve valuable marine habitats and ensure the economic vitality of vulnerable coastal communities,” said Uta Bellion, director of the Pew Environment Group's European Marine Programme and OCEAN2012 coordinator. “Putting the environment first means following scientific advice and imposing strict criteria on those seeking access to fisheries resources.”

OCEAN2012 is proposing that access to fishery resources be based on a set of transparent criteria for sustainable fishing, which must include:

  • More selective fishing methods, gears and practices that reduce unintentional catches of non-target species and lessen the impact on the marine environment;
  • Vessels and fishing methods that consume less energy per tonne of fish caught; 
  • Working conditions that comply with relevant international standards, particularly the 2007 International Labour Organization Work in Fishing Convention; and
  • A good record of compliance with the rules of the CFP.

“The marine environment is a common good. It is in the public interest that activities which impact the state of marine fish stocks, and the larger ecosystem, are carefully managed,” said Bellion. “Under the reformed CFP, those who fish in the most sustainable way should be given priority access to fishing grounds.”