Tuesday

13th Apr 2021

EU states continue to overfish

  • The EU commission proposed that fishing of herring in some areas should be reduced by some 16 percent compared with last year, but fisheries ministers decided the quotas would remain at the same level (Photo: Annelieke B)

Fisheries ministers decided on Tuesday (13 December) to continue overfishing several stocks, although they pointed out that the number of fish stocks that will be fished sustainably is increasing.

They agreed on quota for 161 different stocks in the Atlantic, North Sea and Black Sea. For 34 of them, or 26.7 percent, ministers adopted higher quota than the European Commission proposed.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“As you know, the Commission has put forward bold proposals for a number of stocks,” said environment and fisheries commissioner Karmenu Vella.

“Even though the final Council compromise does not reach the same level of ambition, it still makes considerable progress towards more sustainable management of our fisheries.”

The annual setting of fisheries quota is a national power in which the European Parliament is not involved.

The commission proposes quotas for fish species based mostly on scientific advice. However, fisheries ministers also have the economic interests of their nations in mind, leading to an annual haggling over the stock quota.

“Negotiations were very difficult,” said Slovak minister Gabriela Matecna, who chaired the long meeting.

"Sustainability has been the driver of today's agreement: the sustainability of our fish stocks, but also that of our fisheries sector."

Matecna pointed out that the limits for 44 stocks are in line with scientific advice, up from 36 last year.

The maximum volume of fish that can be caught sustainably is called the maximum sustainable yield (MSY).

Member states had earlier agreed that fish quota would be in line with MSY by 2020.

Environmental protection groups were disappointed, as they have been over the past years.

“Once again, ministers approved catch limits for 2017 that surpass scientific recommendations, ignoring the facts that 64 percent of European stocks are overfished and 85 percent are below healthy levels,” said the environmentalist lobby group Oceana in a press statement.

"By ignoring science in favour of short-term interests, Ministers are acting both economically and ecologically irresponsibly."

EU overpaid for fishing rights, auditor says

According to the European Court of Auditors, fish caught by European fishermen in the South Atlantic and Indian oceans cost almost €34 million more than necessary.

News in Brief

  1. Putin refuses to talk about military build-up, Ukraine says
  2. EU bank to help Greece manage corona-recovery funds
  3. Johnson & Johnson vaccine deliveries to EU begin
  4. EU sanctions commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard
  5. UK opens investigation into ex-PM Cameron lobbying
  6. 'Significant differences' in EU-UK talks on Northern Ireland
  7. Bulgarian PM reveals price rise in new EU-BioNTech deal
  8. Biden sending envoy to Brussels

EU faces long wait for full vaccine supplies

The EU is still several months away from having enough vaccines to inoculate its 450 million people, with Pfizer and BioNTech, its principle suppliers, aiming for September for delivery targets.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market

Latest News

  1. How the pandemic became an EU goldmine for crime
  2. China responds to 'low-efficacy' vaccine fears
  3. Merkel party chiefs support Laschet's chancellor bid
  4. EU refuses to bail out Montenegro's China loan
  5. Industry lobby to 'co-decide' on nearly €10bn EU public money
  6. Why Ursula von der Leyen won't go
  7. Incorporating gender in trade policy to benefit all
  8. Does Italian regionalism actually work?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us