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EU Undergoing Major Reform of Fisheries Policy

Greenpeace ‘scraps’ destructive fishing trawler while ministers prepare next year’s plunder

EU undergoing major reform of fisheries policy

Brussels, 13 December 2010

Today, Greenpeace activists are symbolically decommissioning a destructive fishing trawler outside the EU Council building. Inside, EU fisheries ministers are negotiating 2011 fishing quotas and are expected to once again set them significantly above levels recommended by scientists.

A giant model of an industrial fishing trawler bearing the slogan ‘EU ministers: scrap overfishing’ (in several languages) will be ‘scrapped’ by activists in the heart of Brussels’ EU quarter to show governments what needs to be done to save our seas. The 100% PVC-free model made of cloth, rubber and metal is 25m long, 11.5m high and 5m wide. Europe’s most destructive fishing trawlers can be longer than a football pitch (>100m) and annihilate entire ecosystems in one single swoop.

*Greenpeace EU oceans policy director Saskia Richartz *said: /“The EU has utterly failed to manage fishing activities. Fisheries management should be guided by science and not by lobbying power, but ministers are too often dancing to the tune of the powerful fishing industry. Instead of dishing out unsustainable quotas, ministers should end overfishing and scrap destructive boats.”/

Fishing quotas are set too high because politicians are trying to maintain vast fishing fleets that are simply too big and destructive. Large fishing nations like Spain and France have received millions in subsidies for their industrial fishing vessels, replacing small scale boats with larger, more destructive ships. As the EU prepares to overhaul its common fisheries policy, 88 percent of Europe’s fish stocks are overfished. [1] Greenpeace believes that Europe’s first priority must be to allow fish populations to recover to ensure healthy seas and profitable jobs long into the future. One of the main ways to achieve this will be to reduce Europe’s fishing capacity.

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*Richartz *added: /“Europe’s fishing fleets have become more destructive, while the number of jobs in the industry has decreased. A reform of EU fisheries policy will be pointless unless European politicians agree to fish less and support those fishermen who fish sustainably.”/

Greenpeace is also calling on governments to restrict or ban fishing in sensitive marine habitats or areas where fish reproduce. Forty percent of our oceans should be set aside as marine reserves, off-limits to all destructive activities including fishing.

*Notes: [1] *By the European Commission’s own admission, overfishing is so serious that more fish would be caught overall if there were less fishing. Scientists argue that fish catches could be 80 percent higher if the EU managed stocks sustainably.

ENDS

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