fishing boat on rough ocean waters

Project

Ending Overfishing in Northwestern Europe

Overfishing is a serious concern in the waters of northwestern Europe.

Although this issue is not unique to the region—experts estimate that $83 billion is lost worldwide annually to overfishing and could be recovered through stock restoration—it persisted for years in large part because of the European Union’s reluctance to set fishing limits in line with scientific advice.

Although European ministers have followed the science in setting most of the 2018 fishing limits, they must do more: Under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, Member States are legally bound to end overfishing by 2020 to maintain sustainable fisheries.  

Progress toward that goal has varied, but it generally has been too slow to meet the 2020 deadline. Pew’s work is focused on bringing EU fisheries management in line with scientific advice to end overfishing and allow stocks to recover. In doing so, the EU would set a positive example for other governments and help ensure the future sustainability of fisheries in northwestern Europe and beyond.

Project Goals

To support effective implementation of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, we are working to ensure that overfishing ends in Europe’s northwestern waters by advocating that EU decision-makers:

  • Set fishing limits that will allow stocks to recover to sustainable levels.
  • Agree on long-term legislation that achieves the objectives of the CFP in each region.
  • Measure progress toward these aims, and make this information publicly available.
Overfishing in the EU
Overfishing in the EU
Video

How to End Overfishing in the EU

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Video

EU fisheries are in trouble. Currently, nearly 50 per cent of fish stocks are overfished in the North Sea and Northeast Atlantic—and more than 90 per cent in the Mediterranean Sea. We explain the dire consequences for both the European Union economy and marine environment if overfishing continues and lay out a plan of action for how fisheries ministers can end overfishing—and how you can help. Learn more at https://pewtrusts.org/endeuoverfishing.

Marine life
Marine life
Fact Sheet

10 Reasons to End Overfishing in Europe

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Fact Sheet

Management of fisheries in the European Union has improved over the past 15 years, but the fishing limits set by EU fisheries ministers too often exceed the levels advised by scientists. That prevents Europeans from realising many of the benefits of sustainable, productive fish stocks and fisheries.

Turning the Tide
Turning the Tide
Report

Turning the Tide

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Report

Turning the Tide depicts the historical richness and diversity of the seas of north-western Europe, how those traits spurred development along the seas’ shores, the effects of too much fishing, and the role of EU fisheries management.

edits
edits
Article

Handover of Petition to Karmenu Vella Signed by 81,343 EU Citizens

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Article

81,343 citizens call for an end to overfishing in the EU as Pew's Uta Bellion hands over the petition to EU Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella.

Our Work

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