Europe's fishing grounds were once among the most productive in the world, but forty years of the CFP have resulted in serious depletion of fish populations, ecosystem degradation and damage to species, habitats and sites protected by EU environmental legislation. Fishing has become unsustainable, increasingly unprofitable and reliant on public subsidies. This in turn has led to deprivation in coastal communities and an ever growing reliance on imported fish.
According to Commission figures, Europe's fishing fleets are far too large. The majority of fishers in Europe are fairly small‐scale, operating on vessels less than 12m length. Current EU policies primarily benefit more destructive, indiscriminate, and fuel‐intensive fishing fleets, at the expense of more environmentally sustainable fishing methods.
The reform offers you the opportunity to recover the well‐being of our seas and dependent fishing communities:
The CFP should end overfishing, reduce damage to ecosystems and re‐build an EU fishing sector that is environmentally sustainable, and socially as well as economically viable. Only such a reform will guarantee Europe's consumers a rich variety of responsibly and locally‐caught fish into the future.
The proposal to revise the EU's core legislation for fisheries management will be part of a package that includes measures on the EU's domestic and external fisheries policy, common market rules and a new financial instrument.
For the first time, the European Parliament has co‐decision in fisheries policy. We are looking to you and your colleagues to support a new CFP which achieves healthy fish stocks and contributes to achieving good environmental status for EU waters under the 2008 Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Only if stocks recover can the CFP deliver a secure future for fish, fishers, and consumers alike.
Our organisations are present in Brussels and at national, regional and local level across every Member State of the European Union. Together, we speak on behalf of several million supporters for whom the future of our seas is a major concern.
We stand for CFP reform that:
1) Get the objective right: no fishing without healthy seas
Healthy seas and productive fish stocks are a precondition for the well‐being of the fishing sector. A perverse culture of short‐term decision‐making aimed at cushioning the economic and social impacts of reduced fishing opportunities has compromised the long term sustainability of fish stocks, undermining the survival of the sector.
We call on MEPs to:
2) Ensure long term management of fisheries and the implementation of the ecosystem‐based approach, in line with science
The 2002 reform committed the EU to an ecosystem‐based approach to fisheries management, but implementation has been painfully slow, incoherent and reactive. The new CFP must make ecosystem‐based fisheries management fully operational across all regions and within a set timeframe. As prescribed in US legislation, catch limits must not be set above scientifically recommended levels.
We call on MEPs to:
We consider that operational and management decisions should be made by institutions and stakeholders at a regional, Member State and local level. These decisions must be consistent with the overarching objectives, targets and timelines
of the CFP and the agreed multiannual plans, where details of fish mortality targets, harvest control rules, bycatch limits and wider management issues should be set out.
3) Prioritise access to the fishery within the limits of the resource
The size and capacity of the EU fleet is estimated to be up to 2 to 3 times above the sustainable level. This overcapacity drives overfishing, making the fleet economically unviable. Without targeted and legally binding measures to adjust the fleet in line with the available resource the reform is meaningless.
We call on MEPs to:
To view references and contacts, please download the complete fact sheet in the Downloads section above.