Brussels - Today is World Oceans Day, and OCEAN2012 is launching the third European Fish Weeks, when citizens across Europe will organise public events in 12 EU member states to raise awareness of overfishing and of decision-makers’ responsibility to end it.
Although the situation is slowly improving, many EU fish populations are still being overfished, with 19 percent of assessed stocks below safe biological limits. This is having a devastating impact on both the marine environment and fisheries-dependent communities.
“European Fish Weeks is about explaining why we must end overfishing, or fishing will be over,” said Uta Bellion, director of the Pew Environment Group’s European Marine Programme and OCEAN2012 co-ordinator. “Our leaders have the responsibility to stop overfishing, and citizens have the responsibility to encourage and support them to make the right decisions.”
“Our leaders have the responsibility to stop overfishing, and citizens have the responsibility to encourage and support them to make the right decisions.”
According to recently published data:
For the past 30 years, annual fishing quotas have been set one-third higher than recommended as safe by EU fishery scientists.
The value of restoring fish stocks to healthy levels could be worth €3.2bn per year to the EU.
The European Commission’s latest figures indicate that there is less overfishing of assessed EU fish stocks, but there are also fewer stocks that can be reliably assessed.
“We are encouraged by the number of activities planned for the third European Fish Weeks, which demonstrates the growing desire of European citizens to see an end to overfishing,” said Bellion.