Saturday

23rd Mar 2019

EU accused of hypocrisy over weak fish deal

  • Around 75 percent of EU fish stocks are over-fished (Photo: EUobserver)

A leading pro-green NGO has said the EU's latest fisheries agreement should be a source of embarrassment at the Rio summit next week.

EU environment commissioner Janez Potocnik, speaking of the upcoming summit on sustainable development, told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday (13 June) the world must find "a new circular structure, where nothing is wasted and growth is driven by reducing pressures on the environment."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

But his message fell flat in the Brussels office of the World Wildlife Fund.

"I don't know how the EU can defend their position in front of the world community at Rio ... On one side they talk of sustainable capacity but on the other they commit illegal fishing practices on a global scale," Roberto Ferrigno, the WWF's expert on EU fishing policy told EUobserver.

Minsters of agriculture earlier the same day - following 18 hours of tense negotiations - agreed to limit over-fishing of main species by 2015 and of bycatch species by 2020.

They also agreed to ban fish discards by 2019 - up to 60 percent of all fish caught by European boats is tossed overboard every year. Fishermen are only held accountable for the quotas they bring ashore, not what they catch in the open sea.

Quotas are already in place but are set independently for each species. In other instances, fishermen are allowed limited days at sea, rather than quotas, and attempt to catch as much as possible.

The European Parliament must give the green light before the decision becomes law, with talks due to start in October.

WWF's comments relate to the fact Europe agreed at a previous development summit in Johannesburg in 2002 to limit main and bycatch fishing in 2015.

The European Commission had also proposed targets for all species by 2015.

"Scandalously, the EU Council has decided to overturn this proposal, postponing any shift to sustainable catches and only 'where possible'," said Swedish Green Party MEP Isabella Lovin.

But the commission said it is a "workable compromise" anyway.

"Our proposal is more ambitious and is still the basis for further discussion for the parliament," EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki noted.

Morocco-EU trade deal draws fire

The European Parliament has signed off a trade deal with Morocco which poses questions about the status of Western Sahara.

Opinion

EU fisheries reform losing momentum

After a promising start, fundamental reform of EU fisheries polices has lost momentum but it is not too late to repair some of the damage to the engine room of the 2012 reform.

Opinion

Sea of subsidies

Continuing to spend public funds on inefficient measures will only push our fisheries deeper into crisis and further damage the state of the stocks, writes Xavier Pastor.

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  2. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks
  3. Petition against Brexit attracts 2.4m signatures
  4. Study: Brexit to cost EU citizens up to €40bn annually
  5. NGOs demand France halt Saudi arm sales
  6. Report: Germany against EU net-zero emissions target
  7. Former top EU official takes job at law firm
  8. Draft text of EU summit has Brexit extension until 22 May

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  2. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  3. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  4. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  5. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines
  6. Slovakia puts squeeze on free press ahead of election
  7. EPP suspends Orban's Fidesz party
  8. Macron is confusing rigidity with strength

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us