BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland’s largest environmental charity, and the National Sea Life Centre in Bray, County Wicklow today presented a photo collection of human ‘Fish Shapes’ from around Europe to MEP Nessa Childers. The photo collection includes a human fish shape taken on Bray seafront in June 2012.
The human fish shapes spell out the urgent need for a better Common Fisheries Policy which Irish MEPs have a key role in developing. In advance of important voting to take place in the European Parliament, Irish MEPS are being urged to support reforms that will aim to recover fish stock to levels where they can be fished responsibly, to match our fishing capacity with the fish resource available, and provide adequate support for those who fish in the most sustainable manner.
Pat Ó’Súilleabháin (National Sea Life Centre) in Bray said that, ‘Thirty years of the CFP has failed to halt the depletion of fish populations, ecosystem degradation and the drastic decline of the fishing sector’.
The health of many EU fish stocks is also unknown and for those that are assessed a majority are overfished (EU Commission figures 2012). This is a needless waste of a valuable resource, particularly given that recent research shows that restoring fish stocks would triple the total value of the fish landed (http://www.neweconomics.org/nocatchinvestment)
Alan Lauder, CEO of BirdWatch Ireland ‘A meaningful CFP reform has the potential to deliver a healthy marine environment that will support a viable fishing sector and help to address the alarming declines in our fish stocks and halt environmental damage. Seabirds are among our most visible and iconic indicators of ocean health and signs are that we need to restore our seas and manage them more wisely – our MEPS can help that happen.’
Both organisations, along with An Taisce, were present for the handover today and are part of OCEAN2012 an alliance of organisations dedicated to transforming European fisheries policy to stop overfishing, end destructive fishing practices and deliver fair and equitable use of healthy fish stocks. Irish members include aquariums, environmental NGOs, fishermen and others.