Uta Bellion, director of the Pew Environment Group's EU Marine Programme, issued the following statement in response to the publication of the European Commission's Communication on 2011 fishing opportunities in EU waters. The Commission proposes moving towards maximum sustainable yield by reducing fishing mortality in equal steps from the 2011 fishing year until 2014.
“We commend Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Commissioner Damanaki for insisting that scientific advice be followed when setting the total allowable catch (TAC) for EU fisheries. However, today's Communication falls far short of the EU commitment to the United Nations to manage deep-sea fisheries sustainably."
“The Common Fisheries Policy's first guiding principle is that fishing opportunities must be set at sustainable levels to maintain healthy stocks. While the Commission adhered to this standard when it advised closure of the porbeagle fishery last year, the overall trend has been to acquiesce to short-term interest and set TACs at levels that contribute to overfishing."
“For deep-sea fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic, the scientific advice is that all species, including endangered species of deep-sea sharks, are outside safe biological limits. This must be the basis for the setting of TACs and quotas. To propose anything less represents a serious failure on the part of the Commission to follow through on the EU's commitment.”