Above: Siobhán Egan, speaking on behalf of the European Economic and Social Committee and BirdWatch Ireland, discusses the sustainability of our fishing industry. Listen in here
Early this morning (20 December) EU fisheries ministers concluded negotiations on 2013 fishing quotas. This comes on the eve of Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Simon Coveney, assuming the chair of the Fisheries Council and leading the reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.
This year’s fishing quota negotiations were notable in that:
1. In the past decade fisheries ministers have decided quotas on average 45 percent higher than the recommended scientific advice, legalised overfishing.
2. The European Commission proposed 2013 fishing limits so all stocks would be fished at sustainable levels by 2015 – already a dilution of Ireland’s, and all EU Member States’, 2002 commitment to have fish stocks rebuilt by 2015.
3. The situation is improving, but still 47 percent of assessed fish stocks (65 percent are un-assessed) in EU waters are overfished.
4. Overfishing has led to the reduced profitability of the sector with a rate of employment loss of 4-5 percent per annum.
5. If a number of fish stocks (haddock, herring and whiting in the Celtic Sea and West of Scotland Sea shelf) were restored it could double landings and revenue, and increase employment.
“Bolstered by a vote on Tuesday by the European Parliament’s fisheries committee to end overfishing, Commissioner Damanaki put EU fisheries ministers under intense pressure to set fishing quotas that would restore fish stocks. These two decisions send a clear message to Minister Coveney that during Ireland’s EU Presidency, he will have the historic opportunity to conclude an ambitious reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy that ends EU overfishing delivering more fish and more fishing.” said Siobhán Egan of BirdWatch Ireland & OCEAN2012.
From a press release by OCEAN2012 on 20/12/2012
1. OCEAN2012 is an alliance of organisations dedicated to stopping overfishing, ending unsustainable fishing practices and delivering fair and equitable use of healthy fish stocks. In Ireland OCEAN2012 is An Taisce, BirdWatch Ireland, Coastwatch, Dingle Oceanworld, Donegal Island Fishermen, Galway Atlantaquaria, Irish Bass, Irish Kayak Angling Club, the Irish Seal Sanctuary, Irish Wildlife Trust, Liffey Sound FM, National Sea Life Centre Bray, North West Traditional Fishermen, Scubadive West, Smart Taxes and Vincent Hyland Learning.
2. BirdWatch Ireland is the largest independent conservation charity in Ireland and its focus is on the conservation and protection of Ireland’s birds and their habitats. It is a registered charity with over 15,000 members and 30 local branches. For more information, please visit www.birdwatchireland.ie.