Our Fish calls on EU to end over-fishing

Posted: 20 March 2020 | | No comments yet

Our Fish has released feedback to the EU Farm to Fork Strategy which states that there will be no “sustainable” EU seafood until the EU ends over-fishing.

Our Fish calls on EU to end over-fishing

The European Commission is developing a Farm to Fork Strategy, to help achieve the goals of the EU’s Green Deal.

Our Fish has released an official submission, which can be found as official feedback to the Farm to Fork strategy on the European Commission website.

“The EU has committed to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and to being a frontrunner in its implementation”. Goal 14.4 states, “By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics.”

The EU has failed to do this, Our Fish claimed, which is said to have denied consumers and fisheries dependent communities of healthier fish populations, and is undermining ocean health.

Changing the approach to fisheries management from one of maximising resource extraction, to maximising ecosystem health and functioning would provide a more reliable and abundant source of protein, the group suggested. Our Fish has claimed that The Farm to Fork Strategy is an opportunity to:

Implement in full of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP):

  • All harvested fish populations in the EU are fished below maximum sustainable yield (FMSY), in order to protect and restore wild fish populations to healthy levels
  • Increase monitoring and enforcement of the Landing Obligation, to reduce unwanted catches and eliminate waste of fish and marine life
  • End destructive, carbon-intensive fishing activities through implementation of Article 17, allocating more quota to fleet segments that have minimum environmental impact and maximum social and economic benefits.

Prioritise an up-to-date Fisheries Control Regulation that includes strong focus on increasing resources to monitoring and enforcement of CFP rules, specifically:

  • Require full documentation of all catches of fish and bycatch of threatened and protected species through remote electronic monitoring and CCTV on all vessels > 12m, and for vessels < 12m that are high-risk of non-compliance with the CFP
  • Improve transparency so that all member states’ reports on implementation of the fisheries control system are publicly available
  • Improve and digitise traceability of seafood products to make them traceable from point-of-catch to point-of-sale, in order to combat IUU fishing and achieve healthy fisheries
  • Standardise enforcement measures and sanctions for fisheries infringements.

Protect marine biodiversity, ocean ecosystem services in order to improve ocean resilience in the face of extreme climate change:

  • Require an environmental impact assessment as a condition of any request for fishing in all EU basins, only granting access to those who commit to  fishing in a way which improves the environmental status of the ecosystem and fish populations.

End fisheries subsidies which increase capacity, public funds must support public goods:

  • Increase data collection, monitoring, control and enforcement of fishing activities, and the conservation and management of marine ecosystems
  • Apply legal and fiscal repercussions on member states who fail to  implement EU laws for ecologically sustainable food systems.

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