Connect with us

Fisheries

Oceana urges UK and EU to end overfishing of critically low fish stocks in new agreement

SHARE:

Published

on

Oceana is calling for an end to the overfishing of severely overexploited fish stocks in European waters as negotiations between the EU and UK start today under the Specialised Fisheries Committee. This new committee provides a forum for discussion and agreement on fisheries management, to prepare the annual consultations through which fishing opportunities for 2022 will be decided.

With recent data published by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) highlighting the critical status of a number of key fish stocks1, Oceana is urging negotiating parties to agree on management strategies that will result in all stocks recovering and reaching healthy levels.

Oceana Head of UK Policy Melissa Moor said: “Only 43% of fish stocks shared between the UK and the EU are fished at sustainable levels2. It is unacceptable that the rest of the stocks are either subject to overfishing, with stocks of important species like cod, herring and whiting at critically low levels, or else their status is simply unknown. For fish stocks to rebound, negotiating parties must be guided by the science. Doing otherwise will guarantee further destruction of the marine environment, deplete fish populations, and weaken resilience to climate change.”

Advertisement

“In June, the EU and the UK reached their first post-Brexit annual agreement concerning their shared fish populations, under the conditions established in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement,” said Oceana Campaign Director for Sustainable Fisheries in Europe Javier Lopez. 

"At a critical moment for ocean biodiversity and the climate, it is incumbent upon the EU and the UK to agree on effective management strategies that put an end to overfishing in their waters and ensure the sustainable exploitation of shared stocks.”

As the first meeting of the Specialised Fisheries Committee begins on 20th July, Oceana highlights three priority areas for agreement between the UK and the EU:

·         Multi-year management strategies must be agreed for severely overexploited fish stocks, with clear recovery targets and timeframes to achieve them.

·         When setting Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for mixed fisheries, where several species are caught in the same area and at the same time, decision-makers should agree to prioritise the sustainable exploitation of the most vulnerable fish stocks.

·         Multi-year strategies should be agreed for the conservation and management of non-quota stocks. Data collection and scientific assessments for these stocks should be significantly improved to ensure that they are fished sustainably.

1.     Examples of severely overexploited stocks from ICES data include: West of Scotland codCeltic Sea codWest of Scotland and West of Ireland herring and Irish Sea whiting.

2.       Oceana UK Fisheries Audit

Background

The negotiations to agree on fisheries management measures for 2022 will start on 20th July under the scope of the “Specialised Fisheries Committee” (SFC). The SFC is made up of both parties’ delegations and provides a forum for discussion and co-operation. The competences and duties of the SFC are established in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA - Article FISH 16, page 271).

Discussions and decisions under the SFC will provide management recommendations that should facilitate the agreement during the final annual consultations, which are expected to be held in the autumn and conclude by 10th December (see Articles FISH 6.2 and 7.1) or 20th December (see Article FISH 7.2). For example, the SFC is expected to agree on developing multi-year management strategies and how to manage “special stocks” (e.g., 0 TAC stocks, see Article FISH 7.4 and 7.5).

Under the TCA, the UK and EU agreed in 2020 on a framework agreement for the management of shared fish stocks. Oceana welcomed the TCA, as fishing management objectives and provisions, if well implemented, would contribute to the sustainable exploitation of the shared stocks. For further information on the Oceana reaction to the adoption of the TCA read the press release.

The first post-Brexit agreement between the EU and UK on fisheries management measures for 2021 was reached in June 2021. Because negotiations were long and complex, in order to provide continuity to fishing activities, both parties had to first adopt provisional measures that were later replaced by the agreement. For further information on the Oceana reaction to the 2021 agreement read the press release.

European Commission

Fisheries: EU and Cook Islands agree to continue their sustainable fisheries partnership

Published

on

The European Union and the Cook Islands have agreed to continue their successful fisheries partnership as part of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement, for a duration of three years. The agreement allows EU fishing vessels operating in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean to continue fishing in the Cook Islands fishing grounds. Environment, Oceans and Fisheries CommissionerVirginijus Sinkevičius said: “With the renewal of this Fisheries Protocol, European Union vessels will be able to continue fishing one of the healthiest tropical tuna stocks. We are particularly proud to contribute, through our sectoral support, to the development of the Cook Islands' fisheries sector - a Small Island Developing State that has been often praised for its effective and responsible fisheries management policies. This is how the EU's Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements work in practice.”

In the framework of the new Protocol, the EU and ship owners will contribute with a total up to approximately €4 million (NZD 6.8m) for the next three years, of which €1m (NZD 1.7m) to support the Cook Islands' initiatives within the sectoral fisheries and maritime policy. Overall, next to improvements in the fishing sector, the revenue obtained from this Agreement has previously allowed the Cook Islands' government to improve its social welfare system. More information is in the news item.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

European Commission

WTO takes important steps towards global trade rules for sustainable fishing

Published

on

On 15 July, the World Trade Organization (WTO) held a ministerial meeting on fisheries subsidies, which confirmed the commitment to set the course for a successful outcome on negotiations before the WTO’s Ministerial Conference starting in November 2021.

The Ministers reconfirmed their shared objective to reach an agreement that will make a meaningful contribution to halting the continued degradation of the world’s fisheries resources and the economic activities, and livelihoods they support. While some divergences remain, the consolidated text proposed by the Chair of the negotiations provides a solid basis for the final leg of the negotiations.

In his remarks to his counterparts across the world, Executive Vice-President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis (pictured) said: “Protecting global fisheries resources is a shared responsibility and, as such, achieving a multilateral outcome is the only way to address the issue of harmful subsidies. We welcome Director-General Okonjo-Iweala’s commitment to reaching an agreement ahead of the 12th Ministerial Conference and we are fully committed to this objective. The mandate laid out in UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.6 must remain our guide in these negotiations.”

Advertisement

The European Union (EU), in its Common Fisheries Policy, has long prioritized an approach that ensures that fishing is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. This has been the result of a deep reform process, phasing out harmful subsidies in favour of positive subsidies that promote sustainable fishing and strengthening systems to manage fishing activities. Based on this positive experience, the EU also advocates that WTO rules must be based on sustainability. 

Read the statement of Valdis Dombrovskis.

Continue Reading

Euro-Mediterranean relations

High-level meeting sets out a new vision for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea

Published

on

The high-level meeting on the new strategy for the Mediterranean and Black Sea took place under the umbrella of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius attended the meeting, together with FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu, as well as the fisheries ministers of GFCM contracting parties.

The participants reaffirmed their political commitments of the MedFish4Ever and Sofia Declarations and endorsed the new GFCM Strategy (2021-2030) with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and Black Sea in the next decade. Commissioner Sinkevičius said: “With the endorsement of the new GFCM Strategy, today we have crossed another milestone on the path towards sustainably managed fisheries and aquaculture in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas.  We have come a long way with the new fisheries governance launched in 2017, under the framework of the MedFish4Ever and Sofia Declarations. Yet we are not at the end of our journey, much more remains to be done.”

The Commissioner underlined the need to start implementing the strategy immediately and encouraged regional partners to support the ambitious package of measures the European Union will put forward at the GFCM annual session in November when the strategy will be formally adopted. Commissioner Sinkevičius emphasized the importance of protecting biodiversity in creating resilience and profitability of the fisheries sector. With its five main targets, the new GFCM strategy will continue to build on past achievements. More information is in the news item.

Advertisement

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending