On Tuesday, August 15th the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food asked the police to initiate an investigation of a number of fishermen and fishing companies in Denmark.
The call for police investigation occurred a day prior to the release of a report by the National Audit Office of Denmark, which was highly critical of both the management and allocation of fishing quotas by the Ministry and even points toward possible illegalities therein.
In response to the announcement, Oceana Europe’s executive director Lasse Gustavsson released the following statement:
“Denmark has allocated the majority of its fishing quotas to a handful of “quota-kings” and the public has every right to be outraged. The government and their ministers should serve the public and sustainable fisheries and not the short-term interest of a few industrial fishing companies. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen took a step in right direction by taking the fisheries portfolio away from Esben Lunde Larsen. Now he must stop the shady relationships between the Ministry and the fishing industry”.
The report states, among other things, that the Ministry's inadequate management of quota ownership has resulted in several fishermen exceeding their catch quotas.
Oceana has for a long time actively campaigned for the Danish government to put an end to overfishing. Denmark is one of the major contributors to the overfishing of the Western Baltic cod and has historically been pushing for quotas much higher than scientifically recommended.
For decades, politicians across Europe have ignored scientific advice when setting annual fish catch limits, thereby allowing for overfishing to reach current critical levels.
A study published by Oceana in 2016 in cooperation with leading fisheries expert Dr. Rainer Froese showed that in European seas, 64% of fish populations are currently being overfished. In the Mediterranean Sea, the situation is even direr as overfishing has reached a severe level of 96%.