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Fish Stocks Recovery Given a Fighting Chance by European Parliament

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Fish Stocks Recovery Given a Fighting Chance by European Parliament

Fish Stocks Recovery Given a Fighting Chance by European Parliament
October 24
11:07 2013

The WWF has welcomed the decision by the European Parliament to oppose the reintroduction of subsidies for the building of new boats while voting on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Parliamentarians also included a package on jobs for young fishermen and training for sustainable fishing practices that is essential for fishing communities.

The vote also resulted in a doubling of investment in data collection, control and regulation enforcement. This provides fisheries authorities with a real chance of winning the fight against illegal fishing. More funding for data collection will give experts a complete picture of fish stocks and allow them to advise which stocks need more time to recover and which can be safely exploited.

WWF applauds the Parliament’s decision as it will give decimated fish stocks a chance of recovery. However, the conservationist organisation is concerned with the continuation of funds for engine replacement which will give small vessels, of under 12 metres, the capacity to stay out at sea longer and increase their operational range.

Tony Long, director of WWF European Policy Office, comments: “The decision gives European fish stocks a real fighting chance. Funding for fleet renewal ended in 2002 and a reintroduction of these subsidies would have dangerously increased the capacity of the fleet, given boats a longer range and resulted in the destruction of the few remaining healthy fish stocks.”

He adds: “We have dodged a bullet as the proposal on the table would have made fish stock recovery measures agreed in the summer pointless. This is good news for conservation of fish stocks and fishing communities who can look to a more secure future. Importantly, MEPs also decided to invest in data collection, control and enforcement of fisheries, by increasing the budget available. This will give authorities the ability to really fight against illegal fishing in European waters which accounts for up to 40 per cent of landings and allows us to gain an accurate insight into the recovery rate of the most vulnerable stocks.”

According to the WWF:

* 2/3 of Europe’s assessed fish stocks are over exploited;

* Europe’s fishing fleet is estimated to be 2 to 3 times the size needed to catch the available resources;

* The EU is the 4th largest producer of fish and aquaculture products in the world;

* The North Sea yields only 1/5th of the cod, plaice and sole it did 25 years ago;

* In the Mediterranean, over 90% of assessed stocks are over exploited;

* 60% of fish consumed within the EU is caught abroad.

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