Introduction by Jo Hudson, Conservation & Research Assistant, London

As negotiations on the reform of the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy, or CFP, enter the final and decisive stage, more than 217 civil society groups are calling on EU fisheries ministers to support an end to overfishing and the speedy restoration of fish stocks.

The CFP is the instrument that manages fisheries and aquaculture within the EU’s Exclusive Economic Zone, and fleets that fish outside the EU. Unfortunately, the CFP has failed to prevent flagrant overfishing which in the long term means a loss in productivity and jobs for those involved in the industry. The CFP is currently undergoing a reform, and people all over the continent have been voicing their desire for a change in the way Europe manages its marine resources. The reform provides a chance for Europe to manage our marine resources in a way that is sustainable both environmentally and economically.

On February 6, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in support of ending EU overfishing by 2015 and the restoration of fish stocks by 2020. But the 27 fisheries ministers on the Fisheries Council have so far rejected these targets. They agreed only to end overfishing by 2020 and have not set a target for restoring fish stocks. As a member of OCEAN2012, we at Blue Ventures thought it imperative to add our support to the campaign and joined with 216 other civil society groups to lobby EU fisheries ministers to agree to a policy that will allow fish stocks to recover to sustainable levels. Below is the letter sent to EU fisheries ministers on April 9th.

To EU Fisheries Minister
cc.: Environment Ministers

Brussels, April 9, 2013

Dear Fisheries Ministers,
As negotiations on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) are entering the final and decisive stage we, the undersigned organisations, are writing to you to urge you to support the European Parliament’s aim to restore fish stocks by 2020 and end overfishing by 2015.

Thirty years of EU fisheries management under the CFP have resulted in serious depletion of fish populations, degradation of ecosystems, and damage to marine species and their habitats. Forty-seven percent of the assessed stocks in the Atlantic and 80 percent in the Mediterranean are overfished, along with five out of seven fish stocks in the Baltic.(1) It is estimated that by allowing overfishing of EU stocks, governments are tacitly consenting to waste more than €3 billion of potential landing value every year, which could support more than 100,000 additional jobs.(2)

The EU is legally bound to restore fish populations to sustainable levels under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS, Articles 61.3 and 119.1(a)). It also committed in 2002 to do so “where possible not later than 2015” (Article 31(a) of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development). Your head of government recently agreed to intensify not slacken efforts to achieve this goal at the Rio+20 Summit and to do the utmost to protect marine biodiversity.

You will be aware that recently, the European Parliament agreed by 502 votes to 137 to include a target to end overfishing by 2015 with a view to recovering and maintaining European fish stocks above levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield by 2020. Without such an ambitious yet achievable objective for the recovery of fish stocks the CFP is a policy without purpose. We deeply deplore that Council rejected such a goal in its General Approach.

However, the upcoming negotiations between Council and Parliament provide a perfect opportunity for you to show personal leadership and do all in your power to ensure that Council now endorses the Parliament’s approach. Similar stock recovery targets in Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Russia and the USA have resulted in a consistently improved state of fish stocks. We urge you to now build on their experiences and ensure the CFP becomes an effective tool for sound fisheries management, for the restoration of our common heritage, and for providing a sustainable and profitable future for fisheries dependent communities.

Yours sincerely,

Děti Země
Česká společnost ornitologická
Koalice pro řeky
Hnutí Duha
Nireas Marine Reasearch
BirdLife Cyprus
People Uniting and Generating Aid for Development (PUGAD)
Danish Society for a Living Sea
Danmarks Naturfredningsforening
C-CONDEM Ecuador
Estonian Sportfishing Federation (ESFF)
Eesti Ornitoloogiaühing
BirdLife Finland
Finnish Association for Nature Conservation
SOS Grand Bleu
Centre d’Etudes pour le Développement d’une Pisciculture Autonome (CEDEPA)
Réseau Cétacés
Collectif Bar Européen
Noé Conservation
Association A l’écoute de l’Océan (AALÉCO)
Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (LPO)
Souffleurs d’écume
Observatoire des Requins de Polynésie
Association pour la Protection des Animaux Sauvages (ASPAS)
Mediterranean Shark Research Group
France Nature Environnement
Institut Océanographique Paul Ricard
Shark Angels France
Surfrider Foundation Europe
Expédition M.E.D (Méditerranée En Danger)
Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine
Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V. (NABU)
Sharkproject Germany e.V.
Slow Food Germany
Brot für die Welt
Pro Wildlife
Forum Ökologisch-Soziale Marktwirtschaft e.V. (FÖS)
Reef Check
Fair Oceans
Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e. V. (BUND)
Gesellschaft zum Schutz der Meeressäugetiere e.V. (GSM)
Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH)
Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation
Professional Fisheries Association of Fourni Korseon “O Glaros”
CleanUp Greece
Samos Divers
Development Center of Oinousses- Aegean
Aegean Network of Ecological Associations
Scientific Association of Young Lawyers
Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (MEDASSET)
Iceland Nature Conservation Association (INCA)
Green Budget Europe (GBE)
BirdLife Europe
The Pew Charitable Trusts
Coalition Clean Baltic
Seas at Risk
The Fisheries Secretariat
Coalition for Fair Fisheries Agreements
Youth and Environment Europe (YEE)
Black Sea NGO Network
Slow Food
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
BirdWatch Ireland
National SEA LIFE Centre Bray
Woodcock Smokery
Galway Atlantaquaria
Irish Wildlife Trust
Irish Seal Sanctuary
Liffey Valley Park Alliance
Voice of Irish Concern For The Environment
HD Interactive Publishing
An Taisce (The National Trust for Ireland)
Coastwatch Europe
North West Traditional Fishermen
Posidonia MED
Tethys Research Institute
LIPU-BirdLife Italy
5 Terre Academy
Legambiente Onlus
Federazione Italiana Pesca In Apnea (FIPIA)
Fondazione Cetacea
Gruppo Ricercatori Italini sugli Squali razze e chimere (GRIS)
Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
Centro Turistico Studentesco e Giovanile (CTS)
Green Life
The Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute BDRI
Latvian Anglers Association
Lithuanian Fund for Nature
Lietuvos Ornitologų Draugija
Nature Trust
BirdLife Malta
Greenhouse Malta
Sharkman’s World Organization
Norwegian Society for Conservation of Nature
Sociedade Portuguese para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA)
SCIAENA (Associação de Ciências Marinhas e Cooperação)
Observatório do Mar dos Açores (OMA)
Grupo de Estudos de Ordenamento do Território e Ambiente (GEOTA)
Liga para a Protecção da Natureza (LPN)
Associação Portuguesa para o Estudo e Conservação dos Elasmobrânquios (APECE)
Naturalists’ Club
Fundacja Sprzątanie Świata-Polska
Fundacja Nasza Ziemia
Ogólnopolskie Towarzystwo Ochrony Ptaków
Polish Ecological Club (Polski Klub Ekologiczny Zarząd Główny)
Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Rzeki Łeby
Klub Gaja
Fundacja Z Naszej Strony
Fundacja Zielony Instytut
Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Rzek Iny i Gowienicy
Asociatia pentru dezvoltare durabila „Prut-Dunare” Galati
Centrul Gifted Education
SOS/BirdLife Slovakia
Živá Planeta
CEEV Živica
Eco Vitae
Ecologistas en Acción
Agrupació per a la Protecció del Medi Ambient (APMA)
Asociación de Amigos de los Humedales del Sur de Alicante (AHSA)
Associació de Naturalistes de Girona
Coordinadora per a la Salvaguarda del Montseny
Fundació ENT
GEN-GOB Eivissa
FUNDECOL, Fundación de Defensa Ecológica
Grup Ecologista Les Agulles
Marea Azul, Movimiento Alterno de Recuperación de Ecosistemas Afectados
Associació Catalana d’Oceanografia (ACOIO)
Institut de Medi Ambient (Universitat de Girona)
Observatorio del deute en la Globalització (ODG)
Grup de Medi Ambient de Montcada i Reixac
Iberian Biodiversity (IBBIO)
Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Medio Ambiente (IIDMA)
Fundación Lonxanet para la Pesca Sostenible
Xarxa de Custòdia del Territori
Grup de treball de Custòdia Marina
Mare Nostrum
Asociación Defensa Derechos Animal (ADDA)
AEMS Rius amb Vida
Amigos de la Tierra
BIOSFERA Associació d’Educació Ambiental
DEPANA, Lliga per a la Defensa del Patrimoni Natural
Foro Social de Canjas
Gent del Ter
Kenna Eco Diving
Oceanográfica: Divulgación, Educación y Ciencia
Plataforma “El Chorlitejo” para la defensa del Litoral del Sureste de Gran Canaria
Redmanglar Internacional
L’Ateneu Juvenil, Cultural i Naturalista de Girona
Submarinistas en Acción
Asociación el Muellito del Roque
Animal Latitude
Ben Magec
Associació Salut i Agroecologia (ASiA)
Asociación Ondine
Xarxa de Consum Solidari
Swedish Elasmobranch Society
Swedish Society for Nature Conservation
Nederlandse Elasmobranchen Vereniging
Sea First Foundation
North Sea Foundation (Stichting De Noordzee)
The Black Fish Foundation
New Economics Foundation
Paint a Fish
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Blue Ventures
Sustainable Fish City
Women’s Environmental Network (WEN)
The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT)
Sustainable Inshores Fisheries Trust (SIFT)
Marine Conservation Society (MCS)
The ART of Science
Salmon & Trout Association
Moshi Moshi
Zoological Society of London (ZSL)
Scottish Creelers and Divers
The Gaia Foundation
Shark Trust
Share The World’s Resources
Pisces Restaurants, Fishers & Retailers CIC
Frankie’s Fish & Chips
Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST)
Shark Research Institute

(1) EU Commission (2012), communication from the commission concerning a consultation on fishing opportunities for 2013, COM (2012) 278 final.
(2) Nef (new economics foundation) (2012), Jobs Lost at Sea

Full document:
Contact: Mike Walker [email protected] +32 476 622575

For more information on OCEAN2012 please click here

We are a member of OCEAN 2012, whose mission is to ‘ensure that the 2012 reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy stops overfishing, ends destructive fishing practices and delivers fair and equitable use of healthy fish stocks.

Posted by Blue Ventures

Blue Ventures is an award winning marine conservation charity. We rebuild tropical fisheries with coastal communities. On our Beyond Conservation blog you can hear voices from the front line of marine conservation written by our staff and volunteers.

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