Monday, July 12, 2010

Unststainable European Fisheries

I'm obviously far for being surprised!
Still, this newest report contains an intriguing twist: Europe is not only mismanaging its own Fish stocks, it is exporting its Fish mismanagement to other countries, many of which are poor.
European fleets are expanding into global waters where they pursue the same, or even worse destructive practices all the way to outright poaching.
May European development aid be in any way linked to this?
Honi soit qui mal y pense!

From the Executive Summary

EU fish stocks are in an unprecedentedly poor state yet fish consumption throughout Europe remains high.
The EU has been able to maintain and expand its levels of consumption by sourcing fish from other countries, both through the catches of its distant-water fleet and imports. This report highlights Europe’s increasing reliance on fish products originating from external waters for its fish supplies, and provides pointers towards a more sustainable future for dwindling global fish stocks.

In a context of finite resources and growing populations, the current EU model is unsustainable.
The EU’s increasing ‘fish dependence’ has implications for the sustainability of fish stocks in other countries, which are also overfished, and for the communities that depend on them.
The main message of this report is that rising fish consumption in a context of declining stocks is a model that is environmentally unviable and socially unfair.

The EU has highly productive waters that have the potential to sustain a long-term and stable supply of fish, jobs and related social and economic benefits, but only if its fish resources are managed responsibly.

The reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) offers a unique opportunity to put the structures in place to turn this situation around. In order for this to happen, policymakers need to look beyond the short-term costs that could result from reform and give priority to the long-term benefits that healthy marine resources will provide.

From the Conclusions

In the context of a steadily growing population, the trend towards the fishing of stocks to depletion before moving on to another resource (either through targeting distant-water fishing grounds or importing produce) is unsustainable, environmentally ruinous and potentially damaging for poorer countries and their development.
Many of the costs of EU fish mismanagement are being exported, with direct consequences on the fish stocks of non-EU countries, simply to meet EU demand.

Change is desperately needed if we are to break this pattern – the EU needs to focus efforts on restoring its own marine ecosystems and to move towards consumption levels that are commensurate with ecosystem capacity.

Abstract here and full report here: for once, well worth reading in its entirety!
SOSF recommendations here.

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