Green Paper last chance for green fisheries
BirdLife reaction to European Commission’s Green Paper on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy
The European Commission has unveiled its eagerly anticipated ‘Green Paper on the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)’ in preparation for the CFP’s next fundamental round of reform in 2013. BirdLife International has welcomed it as an encouraging start for urgently needed radical changes.
The Green Paper opens with its vision of what the CFP would need to look like in 2020, when ‘rampant overfishing’ would be a thing of the past. The European Commission recognises that this aspiration is ‘a far cry from the current reality of overfishing, fleet overcapacity, heavy subsidies, low economic resilience, and decline in the volume of fish caught by European fishermen’. Last year the European Commission painted a picture of the EU’s fisheries underperforming spectacularly compared with the rest of the world: 80% of the Community’s stocks are overfished compared with a global average of just 25%.
Dr Euan Dunn, RSPB’s (BirdLife in the UK) Head of Marine Policy, said that: "The Green Paper is the last opportunity for turning round a discredited policy which has failed fishing communities and fish stocks, and in the process has inflicted far too much collateral damage on the wider marine environment".
"It’s high time to put a healthy marine environment at the very top of the CFP’s objectives" —Tatiana Nemcova, BirdLife’s Senior EU Advocacy Officer
Dr Dunn added: “It’s scandalous that, by the Commission’s own admission, catch limits decided by the Fisheries Council have exceeded scientific advice by about 48% in recent years. Total Allowable Catches in the reformed CFP must be set at or below the levels recommended by the scientists”.
Tatiana Nemcova, BirdLife’s Senior EU Advocacy Officer, said: "The Green Paper offers some radical solutions for putting European fisheries back on the road to recovery. It’s high time to put a healthy marine environment at the very top of the CFP’s objectives, and to have binding targets for reducing the size of the fleet”.
The Green Paper is the start of a tortuous dialogue which will culminate in the adoption of the new CFP Basic Regulation at the end of 2012. Up until then, the options tabled by the Green Paper will be fiercely discussed.
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Credits: BirdLife European Division, RSPB (BirdLife in the UK)