Oceana states that 2007 quotas disregard once again scientific advice

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For another year quotas agreed at the Fisheries Council are disastrous and with scant regard for the long term conservation of fish stocks.


December 21, 2006
Madrid
Contact:
Marta Madina ( mmadina@oceana.org )




Oceana, the international marine research and conservation organisation, believes that the high total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas for 2007 agreed at the Fisheries Council are disastrous, disregarding scientific advice and with scant regard for the long term conservation of fish stocks.

Every year, EU Fisheries Ministers tend to agree quotas higher than those proposed by the European Commission but this year the agreement appears worse than ever. The negotiations began with the Commission already proposing higher quotas than scientists recommended, and it was inevitable that this would deteriorate further as Ministers defended their national short term interests.

For most key fish stocks, including inter alia hake, megrim, anglerfish, Norway lobster, whiting and common sole, the agreed quotas exceed scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the scientific body that advises the EU. A few striking,examples are:

  • Despite advice from ICES that there should be no direct fishing for one of the endangered shark species, spurdog, an incredibly high TAC of almost 3500 tonnes was set.
  • Scientists and Spanish fishermen wanted the depleted anchovy fishery in the Bay of Biscay to remain closed. But, it has been reopened as a so-called “experimental fishery”—a messy political compromise made with the full knowledge that anchovy stocks are depleted.
  • Northern Hake quotas have been increased by 20%, despite calls by scientists for no increases.
  • ICES called for a complete halt to cod fishing in some areas, the Commission proposed only a 25% decrease,  but in the end the quotas allocated for this depleted stock are between 6 and 20%  higher  than the Commission proposal

It's incredible and incomprehensible how Ministers continue to play politics when our fish stocks are in serious trouble said Ricardo Aguilar, Research Director of Oceana Europe.

I was appalled when I saw the list of agreed quotas. Only last month an important scientific study outlined how fish stocks risk global collapse if fisheries continue to be managed as they are now. How can Ministers continue to ignore this - do they really want to be responsible for future generations living in a world of empty oceans?”, concluded Aguilar.