Today is the second day of the 2012 EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting where officials are negotiating catch limits, fishing times, net sizes and other fishing issues and decisions are (hopefully) made for the following year.
The EU holds the annual two-day fisheries meetings every December. This year, the committee of the European Parliament will also vote on reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.
“It is 48 hours of solid, sweaty negotiations. It is known as a three-shirter session,” UK fisheries minister Richard Benyon told the Observer last week.
“Our aim is to stick to the advice of our scientists while trying to get the maximum sustainable yields from the seas round Europe,” said Benyon “Cod stocks are relatively healthy and we believe we don’t need to make further reductions in numbers we take from the sea.”Benyon, along with other nations and several conservationist groups, support reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy that would include changing the annual meetings to a five-year plan.
The EU made a commitment in 2002 to restore fish stocks to maximum sustainable yield (MSY) by 2015 and many are urging for decisions to be made to get the EU to meet this goal.
“We have been overfishing Europe’s waters for far too long and stocks have plummeted. Unless we change the Common Fisheries Policy drastically, some species will disappear completely,” said World Wildlife Fund‘s Giles Barlett.
We’ll update you after the meeting comes to a close. In the meantime, here are some important things to know about the state of EU fisheries:
- 62% of fish stocks in the Atlantic and 82% of fish stocks in the Mediterranean are currently overfished
- catches in the North Sea decreased from 3.5m tons in 1995 to less than 1.5m in 2007
- catch limits set last year by fisheries ministers exceeded scientific advice by an average of 41%
- restoring 43% of stocks in the north-east Atlantic would generate an additional €3.2bn (US$4.2bn) a year and support over 100,000 new jobs
To learn more:
- Check out this article about the EU common fisheries policy: Change to EU Fisheries Policy: “it is like paying someone to rob you…”
- Read this article from The Guardian: Overfishing is a solvable environmental challenge for the EU
- And this one from The Observer: Britain to oppose new EU controls on cod catches
- Read the news release from the European Commission: Preparation Agriculture and Fisheries Council, 18 and 19 December 2012
Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.