The Pew Trust publishes “10 reasons to end over-fishing in Europe”

The Pew Trust has published, September 2016, 10 reasons why over-fishing of EU stocks should be brought to an end. The 10 points are as follows:

  1. Fish stocks would be allowed to recover.
    Too many assessed stocks in EU waters remain outside safe biological limits. Ending over-fishing would finally allow these stocks to rebuild and thrive.
  2. Fishermen would benefit.
    Ending over-fishing in the north-eastern Atlantic alone could potentially create additional annual revenue of €4.6 billion for the EU fishing fleet and support more jobs in the sector. Healthy fish stocks contribute to a more stable business environment and require less time and fuel for fishing. More profitable fisheries in turn reduce the need for taxpayers to support the industry through subsidies.
  3. It would help restore the health of our marine environment.
    Fishing activities can take a toll on the marine environment beyond the removal of fish. Among the common negative impacts are damage to the seafloor and corals, as well as unintended catch of animals such as seabirds, dolphins, and turtles. Healthy fish stocks require less intensive fishing activity, limiting harm.
  4. Europeans could eat more locally caught and sustainable fish.
    Europe currently depends heavily on seafood imports from non-EU countries; almost half of fish consumed in the EU comes from external waters. This also has repercussions for developing countries where fish is a key source of protein for large parts of the population.
  5. The ocean would be more resilient.
    The ocean is under a variety of stresses, ranging from changing water temperatures to pollution and acidification. Healthy fish stocks play a key role in keeping marine ecosystems balanced and represent an investment in the future because they can help the ocean resist these kinds of stresses.
  6. Fisheries management would be easier.
    Managing fisheries with a high likelihood of collapse is complicated, risky, and demanding. It requires detailed and timely information. Healthy fisheries, on the other hand, are less sensitive to changes, uncertainties, or mistakes in data, making management easier.
  7. It’s the law.
    In 2013, EU decision-makers agreed on a reformed Common Fisheries Policy that requires an end to over-fishing by 2015 where possible, and by 2020 at the latest for all stocks. Failing to end over-fishing in line with this legal requirement would undermine EU citizens’ trust in European institutions.
  8. It would bring greater transparency.
    Setting fishing limits that do not exceed scientific advice would make EU fisheries management more rational and predictable. Discussions could centre on maximising the socio-economic benefits of healthy fisheries.
  9. Case studies around the world—and closer to home—show the benefits.
    Other countries, such as the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, have already made major progress toward ending over-fishing and are starting to reap the benefits. The EU has its own examples, such as hake in northern European waters, which prove that it is possible to end over-fishing and illustrate the potential gains.
  10. Decision-makers have both the power and the responsibility to do so.
    Many contemporary problems, such as climate change, are extremely challenging to address, but ending overfishing depends largely on better decisions by EU fisheries ministers. Political will is needed to implement the CFP reforms and to set fishing limits that do not exceed scientific advice.

Source: The Pew Trusts, September 2016. For the full details, see


Marinet observes: This initiative by The Pew Trust is most welcome, and we hope it will encourage EU Governments to action.

However we note that the implementation so far by EU Governments of the CFP Reforms in terms of limiting quotas and actual catch levels have been very limited, see the Marinet report on a series of New Economics Foundations analyses.

Marinet has also published its own perception of what fisheries policies are necessary for the UK Government to adopt following Brexit. In summary, these are:

  1. All fishing quota to be allocated to the British Registered Fishing Fleet.
  2. Under 10 metre boats are given 50% of the quota.
  3. All fishing catch is landed in UK ports and, where possible, a Black Fish public monitoring presence will provide the Marine Management Organisation with reports.
    See for further details about Black Fish’s Citizens Investigation Network:
  4. The economics of the reformed fishing industry to be regionalised, and for the maximum value for each fish landed to be encouraged through the use of appropriate fishing gear and localised end use customers.
  5. All UK fishing vessels to desist from global fishing, and where possible operate only within UK seas.
  6. Establish close links with Norway and Iceland Fishing Agencies for the management of the NE Atlantic.

For a full Marinet commentary on post Brexit policies, see

Also, it must be noted that EU policies for ending over-fishing relate to North East Atlantic fish stocks. At the present time the EU has no coherent policies to end over-fishing in the Mediterranean where the decline in fish stocks is probably more serious than in the NE Atlantic. Hence there is currently a deep schizophrenia in EU fisheries policies when it comes to “recovery plans”.

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