Towards sustainable fisheries policy in the EU2

Fleet overcapacity and consequent overfishing are severe problems for European marine ecosystems. Around seventy-five per cent of EU fish stocks are over-exploited compared with only twenty-five percent worldwide, whereas less fishing pressure would allow stocks to recover, delivering greater yields and economic prosperity into the future. Fourteen  per cent of overfished fish stocks are even outside safe biological limits that poses a risk to their recovery. Besides overexploitation of commercial fish stocks and loss of jobs, current fishing practices also threaten other components of marine ecosystems, such as seabirds, marine mammals, reptiles and bottom habitats. In fact, BirdLife estimates that 200,000 seabirds die annually in the gears of European fisheries. Birdlife Europe has been engaged in EU marine and fisheries policy for decades and our focus will increasingly be on these issues to support healthy seas.

BirdLife, together with other environmental NGOs, has been successfully addressing the EU Common Fisheries Policy reform and aims to ensure that fisheries management contributes to achieving good environmental status, protects species and habitats, supports low-impact fishing methods and sustains fishing communities.