News / Europe

EU Tries to Halt Collapse of Fisheries

EU Tries to Halt Collapse of Fisheries
EU Tries to Halt Collapse of Fisheries

Multimedia

Henry Ridgwell

Every year up to half of the fish hauled on board European boats is thrown back dead because of the European Union's complex quota system. Under pressure from fishermen and consumers, the European Union is proposing a radical overhaul of the Common Fisheries Policy.


European Union quotas mean fishermen are only allowed to land a certain amount of each species.

So any fish hauled on board that exceed the quota for that species are thrown back dead - a practice known as ‘discards’.  It Is estimated that more than half of all fish caught in Europe are discarded in this manner.

Europe’s Common Fisheries Policy is widely regarded as a failure.  A recent survey by the World Wildlife Fund showed 88 percent of European consumers want more sustainably-sourced fish.

“So that shows just how common the concern is amongst the European consumers that we should not be overfishing, we should not be throwing dead fish back into the water.  We should manage our fisheries properly and give real value to the industry,” said  Tony Long, the Wildlife Fund's European Policy Director.

A high-profile media campaign in Britain has helped force the issue onto the agenda in Brussels.  The European Union has put forward proposals to reform fisheries policy, including banning the practice of discards, beginning in 2015.  

“If no reform takes place, only eight stocks of our 136 will be at sustainable levels after 10 years ...  Our proposal is to change the system so that all catches are landed and counted against quotas,” said Maria Damanaki, the EU commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries.

Scientists say the seas around Europe hold a fraction of the number of fish they once did.  In the 1990s, North Atlantic cod stocks collapsed to below 95 percent of the historical maximum, according to a report in the journal Science.

Even if fishing policies are radically reformed, some scientists, like Tim Laing at City University London, argue fish stocks still face decimation.

“The world cannot eat fish like we are supposed to in Britain - to eat two portions of fish, of which one should be oily.  It is bonkers [crazy], to use an English phrase.  The guidelines are saying something that the environment can not deliver - the planet, the seas can't deliver. The big picture is the seas cannot deliver enough fish to feed seven billion people two portions of fish a week,” Laing said.

The EU proposals might not become policy for another 18 months or more.  In the meantime, thousands more tons of fish will continue to be caught - and thrown back dead into the waters around Europe.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid