Dear Fisheries Council: please listen to scientific advice. When you don’t bad things happen.

Author: Angela Pauly
Date: April 30, 2012

You can imagine how we felt when we heard the conclusions of a new paper by German scientists linking bad decision making by the EU Fisheries council to the collapse of North Sea Cod.

In the early 2000’s, the council rejected the recommendation of scientists to close the North Sea Cod fishery to allow it to recover. As the experts predicted the stock suffered immensely and today, the stock is outside of safe biological limits (and is STILL being overfished). What is most frustrating is that the study we read proved that the profits from the rebuilt stocks after a three year closure would have been several times higher than what they are today, easily surpassing the losses caused by the cessation of activities. So there you go – an example of what happens when the short term political interests of fisheries council ministers override sound science.  

Here’s what Xavier Pastor, our executive director had to say:

“For years, the Council has consistently disregarded science, and this study shows one of the many consequences of their careless inaction. The Council had all the information they needed to prevent the collapse of cod in the North Sea – but they willfully chose to ignore it, and now the fishing industry is paying the price. European citizens have entrusted them with the responsible management of this public good and it is high time our Ministers repair that broken trust.”

So here’s our message to the Council: Don’t disappoint us – a strong Common Fisheries Policy cannot work if we don’t have equally strong decision makers.

What do you think?