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Fishing opportunities for 2014: further phase out of
The latest figures on the fish stocks in EU
waters indicate that the European Commission's efforts to phase out overfishing
have paid off.
In a consultation document adopted today the
European Commission reports on the state of European fish stocks and sets out
its intentions for proposing fishing opportunities for 2014.
39% of assessed fish stocks in EU waters of the
Northeast Atlantic are now overfished, down from 47% last year and 95% in 2005.
The policy is starting to show real benefits for
the fishing industry as well with the latest data on profits indicating an
increase of 40% on the previous year.
Nevertheless, progress still needs to be made.
Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Maritime
Affairs and Fisheries, said:
“These figures show that responsible fisheries
management measures can and do work.
Still, we need to strengthen our efforts to end
overfishing by the target date we have agreed.
We need to complete the reform of the Common
Fisheries Policy in order to achieve that.”
Through this annual document the Commission asks
for the views of Member States and stakeholders on the setting of Total
Allowable Catches (TACs), quotas and fishing effort (days-at-sea) for the
The document shows that the Commission's efforts
to phase out overfishing are starting to bear fruit.
There are now 25 fish stocks in European seas
which are known not to be overfished, compared to only 2 stocks in 2005.
The science base for assessing fish stocks is
New methods brought in by the International
Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) have meant that advice is
available for an extra 30 stocks compared to last year.
There was an approximately 40% increase in
average net profits made by the EU fishing fleet since 2011, showing that
improvements in income for fishermen are following on from reductions in
overfishing, even though fuel costs put an extra burden on the fleet.
For next year, the Commission wants the industry
to stick to scientific advice.
For stocks covered by the long-term management
plans, TACs and effort levels should be fixed according to the plans in force (a
For other fish stocks, not covered by the plans,
the TACs should be based on scientific advice, with a goal to phase out
overfishing by 2015.
Where no advice exists, the precautionary
principle should be applied.
For the fish stocks where scientific assessment
can be carried out, the state of stocks has improved over the last years.
In the northeast Atlantic and nearby seas,
overfished stocks fell from 32 out of 34 stocks in 2005 to 16 out of 41 stocks
in 2012, i.e. from 94% to 39%.
In the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea,
sufficient data exists for 85 of stocks.
Out of these, 75 (88%) are overfished.