The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the European Union's (EU) instrument for the management of fisheries and aquaculture occurring in its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or by its fleet fishing outside EU waters. Unfortunately, the CFP has failed to prevent continuous overfishing, resulting in less productive fisheries and a gradual loss of jobs and livelihoods. The 2012 CFP reform provides an opportunity to make European fisheries economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. The Pew-led OCEAN2012 coalition, an alliance of over 140 non-governmental organisations in 18 EU member states, is dedicated to ensuring a strong and effective 2012 CFP reform.
1. Set catch limits according to scientific advice
Catch limits for all directed fisheries, and wanted and unwanted by-catch, must be set according to scientific advice.
2. Reduce fishing overcapacity
The overcapacity of the EU fleet is a key driver of overfishing. It is estimated that some fleet segments in the EU have two to three times the capacity required to catch the available fishing quota. Member states must match the size of their fleets to the available sustainable fishing opportunities.
3. End environmentally harmful subsidies
Rather than continuing environmentally harmful subsidies to the fisheries sector, the EU must direct funds towards the restructuring and transition of the sector. Find out how and where EU fishing subsidies have been spent at FishSubsidy.org, a project funded by the European Marine Programme.
4. Advance shark conservation
Today, primarily due to overfishing, sharks are among the oceans' most threatened animals. Although scientists have documented declines in the world's shark population as great as 80 percent, directed shark fisheries are increasing, and the practice of shark finning (slicing off the fin and discarding the body at sea) continues. A third of shark and ray species in EU waters are threatened with extinction. It is vital that European fishing regulations are strengthened to secure responsible, science-based shark-fishing limits for long-term sustainability and healthy ecosystems. Visit the Shark Alliance, and find out more about Pew’s work to protect sharks globally.
5. Stop Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
Around the world, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing prevents fisheries from being managed sustainably. Forty percent of fishing in EU waters is estimated to be IUU, and it is costing the EU billions of euros in lost opportunity. The EU recently adopted two regulations to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing and to ensure effective control in its waters. The European Marine Programme is monitoring how these regulations are put into force and exposes irregularities in enforcement.