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Green Paper last chance for green fisheries

Date

22 Apr 2009

Sections

Health & Consumers
Climate & Environment

BirdLife reaction to European Commission’s Green Paper on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Brussels, 22 April 2009 - Today, the European Commission unveiled its eagerly anticipated Green Paper [1] on the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) [2] in preparation for the CFP’s next fundamental round of reform in 2013. BirdLife International welcomed it as an encouraging start for urgently needed radical changes.

The Green Paper opens with its vision of what the CFP would need to look like in 2020, when ‘rampant overfishing’ would be a thing of the past. The Commission recognizes that this aspiration is ‘a far cry from the current reality of overfishing, fleet overcapacity, heavy subsidies, low economic resilience, and decline in the volume of fish caught by European fishermen’. Last year the Commission painted a picture of the EU’s fisheries underperforming spectacularly compared with the rest of the world: 80% of the Community’s stocks are overfished compared with a global average of just 25%.

Euan Dunn, RSPB’s (BirdLife in the UK) Head of Marine Policy, said that ‘The Green Paper is the last opportunity for turning round a discredited policy which has failed fishing communities and fish stocks, and in the process has inflicted far too much collateral damage on the wider marine environment’.

Dr Dunn added: “It’s scandalous that, by the Commission’s own admission, catch limits decided by the Fisheries Council have exceeded scientific advice by about 48% in recent years. Total Allowable Catches in the reformed CFP must be set at or below the levels recommended by the scientists.”

Tatiana Nemcova, BirdLife’s Senior EU Advocacy Officer said ‘The Green Paper offers some radical solutions for putting European fisheries back on the road to recovery. It’s high time to put a healthy marine environment at the very top of the CFP’s objectives [3], and to have binding targets for reducing the size of the fleet.”

The Green Paper is the start of a tortuous dialogue which will culminate in the adoption of the new CFP Basic Regulation at the end of 2012. Up until then, the options tabled by the Green Paper will be fiercely discussed.

ENDS

For more information, please contact:

Herlinde Herpoel, Media and Communication Manager at BirdLife International -
Tel: +32 494 542 844, Herlinde.herpoel@birdlife.org

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