Pew’s work focuses on the effective implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy in Europe’s northwestern waters. At the end of 2013, the European Union agreed to a new conservation-oriented fisheries policy that includes legally binding targets to end overfishing and drastically reduce discards in its waters by 2020. The policy formally took effect in January 2014.

The EU exerts enormous influence over international fisheries and ocean policy. It has the world’s third-largest fishing fleet and is the biggest importer and exporter of fish. Those factors have often led to governmental measures that encourage overexploitation of wild fish stocks. The new Common Fisheries Policy requires that the EU implement its policies wherever its fleet fishes.

Why Europe’s northwestern waters?

This region is made up of the North, Celtic, and Irish seas and the Atlantic Ocean west of Scotland. They are geologically diverse, ranging from the deep fjords and sheer cliffs that mark the Norwegian and Scottish coastlines to the sandy beaches and wide, highly productive mudflats farther south. The region’s ecosystems have been hit hard, however, by the area’s dense population and heavy industrialization, including commercial shipping and energy development.

For more than a century, the fish stocks in Europe’s northwestern waters have been heavily exploited and overfished. That has left many populations, such as cod, low or depleted. Although some stocks have shown signs of recovery in recent years, the EU still has some way to go to reach the Common Fisheries Policy’s objectives by 2020.

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Contact Information

Phone: +32 2 274 16 35 Address: Avenue des Arts 40, 7th Floor, 1040 Brussels, Belgium

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Phone: +32 2 274 16 35 Address: Avenue des Arts 40, 7th Floor, 1040 Brussels, Belgium