A call for a sustainable European fisheries policy

JEF-Europe,
Underlining the exclusive legal competence that the EU has for the conservation of marine biological resources under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), making this a federal policy,

Aware
of its aims to enhance the sustainability of fish stocks and to boost the economic competitiveness of the fishing industry while maximizing the social and economic benefits of fishing,

Regretting
that neither the living aquatic resources nor the profits of the fishing industry have benefited from the CFP, with 88 % of the stocks being over-fished and continuously declining profit margins of anglers,

Concerned
that the Council of Ministers on regular basis disregards scientific advice on biological sustainability with reference to socio-economic requirements allowing annual Total Allowable Catch goals to reach as much as 48 % higher than advised by scientists,

Reminding
that according to a recent Commission green paper 88 % of Community stocks are fished beyond Maximum Sustainable Yield with 30 % of these stocks outside safe biological limits, meaning that they may not be able to replenish even if the current fishing pressure was lessened;

Further reminding
that due to the over-catching allowed within the CFP, the number of catches in EU waters has dropped significantly since 1995, the overall catches of marine products and aquaculture output is constantly diminishing at a fast rate and the EU is dropping down in the global comparison of the world fisheries,

Pointing out
that only a small part of the fishing fleet within the EU turn in any profit without subsidies and that in several Member States, it is estimated that the cost of fishing to the public budgets exceeds the total value of the catches, due to many years of over-fishing fishing stocks are imbalanced,

Deeply concerned
that political pressure from big fishing nations within the EU has meant that short term interests have been prioritized higher than economic and biological interests in the long term,

Alarmed
that the excessive quotas set by the Council and the large output of subsidies from both the EU and individual member states have caused over-fishing leading to low stock sizes, a significant drop in catching of marine products, a net-import of fish from other countries and a severely disturbed ecosystem,

Concerned
that in order to meet the demand for marine products within the EU an ever increasing volume of fishing has to be done outside the EU territory where it is diminishing local people’s possibilities for making a living,

JEF Europe therefore

Calls upon
a more sustainable fisheries policy from three perspectives: the environmental, the economic and human rights perspective.

Encourages
the EU to take prompt and coordinated action to ensure a biologically and economically sustainable fisheries sector in Europe, and to use the EU’s ability to set standards, limits and goals for the entire continent.

Demands
the major flaws of the CFP, already recognized by the Commission, to be corrected and the goals, rules and decision making processes of the CFP to be cleared out and ensured to meet long-term needs while expecting all stakeholders, including large vessel companies, to be fully committed to following the renewed CFP principles.

Condemns
unsustainable over fishing.

Demands
the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament to enhance transparency and enforcement in the fishery policies and to pay greater heed to advice from marine biologists and other scientists when deciding upon Total Allowable Catch goals and.

Demands
fish are caught only after they have reached the size where growth rate and cohort biomass are maximum and the impact on stocks is considerably lessened.