Pew Cautiously Welcomes the Fisheries Committee’s Vote on EU Fleet

Contact: Mike Walker, 32 (0) 476 622575


Brussels, Belgium - 03/31/2009 - Uta Bellion, director of the Pew Environment Group’s EU Marine Programme, issued the following statement in response to the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee’s vote today in favor of a proposal for a more effective control system of the EU fleet.

“Today’s vote by the Fisheries Committee is a step in the right direction to ensure better control and enforcement of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in EU waters and beyond. Unless there is meaningful control, overfishing will persist, resulting in less fish in the longer term and fewer fisheries-dependent jobs.

“We cautiously welcome the decision of the committee members and expect their peers to improve on it in the upcoming plenary vote.”

The Pew Environment Group furthermore calls on EU Member State governments to ensure swift adoption of the proposed EU control system ensuring:

  • The harmonisation of sanctions systems and levels;
  • Additional measures enabling the Commission to take swift action to ensure implementation of the CFP by Member States and the expansion of the Community Fisheries Control Agency’s mandate;
  • The full integration of environmental requirements into all aspects of the CFP and the introduction of conditionality of public aid with respect to such requirements by the fisheries sector.
Pew is of the view that the control proposal must be considered in conjunction with a substantial reduction of the capacity of the EU fleet. “Overcapacity of the EU fleet constitutes a major obstacle to rational and sustainable management of fishing activities and is one of the underlying drivers of illegal fishing. This must be addressed urgently, to ensure that EU fishing operations will become economically, socially and environmentally viable and to eliminate the incentive to bend or break the rules,” Bellion stated.

The Pew Environment Group is contributing to the discussion around the control system by conducting workshops in Paris (March 10th), Madrid (March 31st) and Genoa (April 18th). The three workshops are bringing together representatives of government, the fishing industry, the European Commission, scientists, economists and civil society to discuss the importance of strengthening fisheries control to combat the problem of illegal fishing.

Note to the Editor:

  1. Pew Environment Group’s comments on the Commission proposal for a Council Regulation establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) are available at http://www.pewenvironment.eu/resources/Control_Reg_Position.pdf (PDF).
  2. Details of the Pew Environment Group workshop in Madrid on fisheries control are available at: http://pewenvironment.eu/newsroom/media-advisory-23mar2009.html.
  3. The Pew Environment Group commissioned research on the cost of IUU Fishing in EU Fisheries, briefing note, and Member State specific information is available at http://www.pewenvironment.eu/resources/costsofIUU.html.
  4. The Court of Auditors’ Special Report No 7/2007 on the control, inspection and sanction systems relating to the rules on conservation of Community fisheries is available at http://eca.europa.eu/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/673627.PDF (PDF)/
The Pew Environment Group’s European Marine Programme supports the European Union in ending global overfishing and reducing destruction of the world´s oceans.

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