Sustainable Fisheries: The EU Is Running Out Of Time To Preserve Its Oceans

Date: June 11, 2019

Source: Forbes

Author: Ana Garcia Valdivia

Every 8 of June since 2008 we celebrate the World Oceans Day to remind the major role that oceans have in everyday life and create awareness about the impact of human actions on the seas. This year, the fight against plastic pollution and marine litter has occupied a central place within European policies. However, many marine species continue to face another dangerous threat: extinction by overfishing.

Despite the efforts, sustainable fishing is still a pending subject in the EU, especially in the Mediterranean Sea, where most of the fish stocks are overexploited.

The alarming situation in the oceans: thousands of species endangered

The situation is very serious. One million species worldwide are in danger of disappearing in the coming decades according to the latest IPBES report commissioned by the United Nations. Among the causes of this massive extinction, climate change, pollution and the overexploitation of land and seas -including overfishing- stand out.

According to the WWF ‘Living Blue Planet’ report, 29% of commercial fish stocks are now classed as overexploited and 61% as fully exploited. “In the space of a single generation, human activity has severely damaged the ocean by catching fish faster than they can reproduce while also destroying their nurseries. Profound changes are needed to ensure abundant ocean life for future generations,” has pointed out Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.

EU’s Common Fisheries Policy: sustainable fishing by 2020

Since 2015, sustainable fishing limits have been established along European oceans in the framework of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to allow maintaining the marine population in the long term. The objective is bringing commercial fishing pressure to sustainable levels by 2020. “Next year is a crucial year. All Member States agreed that by 2020 all stocks must be managed sustainably. For this, we need to step up our actions and deliver on what we set out to achieve,” stated last week Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the Environment, Maritime Affairs, and Fisheries.

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