Wednesday

4th May 2016

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."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Focus

EU's Arctic policy targets environment, Russia

Eight years in the making, the EU's new Arctic strategy focuses on environmental issues and speaks of "selective engagement" with Russia despite the Ukraine war.

News in Brief

  1. EU Commission proposes visa-free travel for Turkey
  2. Iceland in court for not respecting EU laws
  3. Sweden registers more asylum application withdrawals
  4. German Pegida leader convicted of inciting hatred
  5. ECB expected to stop printing €500 notes
  6. Spain dissolves parliament for 26 June election
  7. Germany to legalise cannabis for medicinal use
  8. Hungary to hold migrant quota referendum by October

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppetiersBrexit Could Increase Support for Independence in Pro-EU Scotland
  2. European Music CouncilRegister Now for the 6th European Forum on Music in Wroclaw, European Capital of Culture 2016
  3. Belgrade Security ForumJoin Our Team for the 6th Belgrade Security Forum. Apply Now! Deadline May 20
  4. European Roundtable of IndustrialistsCompanies Make Progress on Number of Women in Leadership Roles
  5. Counter BalanceParliament Gets Tough on Control EU Bank's Funds
  6. ICRCSyria: Aleppo on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
  7. CESIWorld Day For Health and Safety at Work: Public Sector Workers in The Focus
  8. EFABasque Peace Process-Arnaldo Otegi Visits the European Parliament
  9. EscardioChina Pays Price of Western Lifestyle With Soaring Childhood Obesity
  10. Centre Maurits CoppetiersThe Existence of a State is a Question of Fact, Not a Question of Law
  11. ICRCSyria: Aid for Over 120,000 People Arrives in Besieged Town Near Homs