Positions & Papers

Joint NGO recommenadations Northeast Atlantic fishing opportunities 2022

October 14, 2021

NGO signatories of this document wish to present our recommendations on the setting of fishing opportunities for north east Atlantic fish stocks 2022. Our intent is to assist the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the Member States in making decisions on fishing opportunities that finally end overfishing, significantly contribute to restoring and/or maintaining all fish stocks above healthy levels and safeguard marine ecosystem functions.  
210831 FINAL_NGO recommendations NEA on FO to EU


Updated FINAL NGO recommendations Baltic TACs 2022 based on ICES advice for salmon and western baltic cod

October 8, 2021

When our first Joint NGO recommendations Baltic TACs 2022 was released International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) had not been able to produce their advice for a number of stocks. As soon as the advice was released the Joint recommendations was complemented with a non-paper that was circulated to stakeholders. This updated version of the joint recommendations includes the final recommendations from the non-paper. In October 2021, EU fisheries ministers will agree on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2022. We have provided a range of recommendations regarding the principles for setting sustainable fishing quotas in line with the Common Fisheries Policy and also specific recommendations for the Total Allowable Catches for each of the Baltic fish stocks that are managed by quota. Read the NGO briefing. 211008 FINAL Joint NGO recommendations Baltic TACs 2022  


No eastern Baltic cod in 2022

Joint NGO recommendations on Baltic Sea fishing opportunities for 2022

June 18, 2021

In October 2021, EU fisheries ministers will agree on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2022. We have provided a range of recommendations regarding the principles for setting sustainable fishing quotas in line with the Common Fisheries Policy and also specific recommendations for the Total Allowable Catches for each of the Baltic fish stocks that are managed by quota. Read the NGO briefing: 210618 FINAL Joint NGO recommendations Baltic TACs 2022


Common Fisheries Policy: Mission not yet accomplished

June 11, 2021

Seven years after the last reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) entered into force, the EU, which has exclusive competence in this area, is yet to succeed in fulfilling its objectives. Implementation and enforcement challenges remain, often due to Member States’ inaction, insufficient oversight by the European Commission and industry resistance to change. Possible solutions exist within the CFP itself, or in other available legal instruments, without the need to reform the CFP Basic Regulation in the medium-term.
Article 49 of the CFP Basic Regulation states that: “The Commission shall report to the European Parliament and to the Council on the functioning of the CFP by 31 December 2022”. In anticipation of this report, this policy paper aims to provide a constructive assessment by mapping weaknesses in CFP implementation and opportunities to address them. We offer recommendations for tackling the gaps to end overfishing, including in the Mediterranean Sea, for implementing the landing obligation, reducing the negative impacts of fishing on the environment, transitioning to low-impact fisheries, eliminating harmful subsidies, improving regionalisation and the external dimension, and addressing the lack of climate change considerations in the CFP. NGOs call on the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, Member States, and relevant stakeholders to deliver urgently on the CFP’s objectives to ensure the long-term environmental sustainability of fisheries and of the coastal communities that depend on them.
210611 CFP Mission Not Yet Accomplished_joint NGO


Joint NGO EU Parliament voting recommendations (January 2021)

February 10, 2021

2019/2177(INI) report on “​Securing the objectives of the landing obligation under Article 15 of the Common Fisheries Policy​”
These joint NGO recommendations on the amendments tabled for ​Mr Gade’s own initiative report on the landing obligation are supported by ClientEarth, BirdWatch Ireland, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Dutch Elasmobranch Society, The Danish Society for Nature Conservation, FishSec, Fundació ENT, Oceana, Our Fish, Sciaena and Seas At Risk. We broadly support Mr Gade’s draft report: it reflects both the urgent need for and the challenges of a proper implementation of the landing obligation (LO) in a balanced manner.


Joint NGO recommendations on the setting of Northeast Atlantic fishing opportunities 2021

October 30, 2020

Joint NGO recommendations for the European Commission and the EU Council on the setting of Northeast Atlantic fishing opportunities for 2021. Fisheries ministers and the European Commission failed to achieve the objective of ending overfishing in the Northeast Atlantic region, as per the 2020 deadline outlined in Article 2.2 of the CFP. In 2020, when the transition period and legal deadline to end overfishing concluded, 46 percent of Northeast Atlantic TACs were still set exceeding scientific advice by fisheries ministers in December 2019. Even in the Commission’s TAC proposal that set the basis for these decisions, almost half of the proposed TACs exceeded scientific advice.  


Joint NGO recommendations on Baltic Sea fishing opportunities for 2021

June 9, 2020

In October 2020, EU fisheries ministers will agree on fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea for 2021. We have provided a range of recommendations regarding the principles for setting sustainable fishing quotas in line with the Common Fisheries Policy and also specific recommendations for the Total Allowable Catches for each of the Baltic fish stocks that are managed by quota. Read the NGO briefing here.


It’s there for a reason: Why Ministers must not exceed scientific advice on fishing quota

November 25, 2019

In a briefing by Griffin Carpenter of the New Economics Foundation the reasons and benefits for Ministers not exceeding scientific advice are laid out and provide a timely reminder ahead of the December Council meeting at which quotas for the Northeast Atlantic and North Sea will be set.

The message is clear: “Past inaction by fishing Ministers has come at a cost. Through their delay, Ministers have reduced the environmental and socio-economic benefits that will result from ending overfishing.”

The briefing highlights one of the key commitments from the reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) from 2013, an end to overfishing “by 2015 where possible and, on a progressive, incremental basis at the latest by 2020 for all stocks”.

We have now reached the deadline set in the reformed CFP to end overfishing but with four out of ten stocks still being overfished in the Northeast Atlantic and nine out of ten in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, celebration for the EU commitment, it seems, was premature.

The Council of Ministers which has the ultimate say in setting fishing quota has exceeded scientific advice in every six out of ten cases since the CFP reform. With the upcoming quota negotiations for 2020, this practice must end for the CFP objective to be met.

The briefing provides detail on the environmental benefits of ending overfishing, a greater abundance of marine life in a more resilient ecosystem. Moreover, the socio-economic benefits of ending overfishing are explained, more catches and fewer trips. In addition, the cumulative profits generated from sustainable management and the quota implications for a wide range of stocks are expanded upon.


Joint NGO priorities on the revision of the EU Fisheries Control System

November 14, 2019

A broad coalition of NGOs have together drawn up a series of recommendations based on the EU Commission proposal for the revision of the Fisheries Control System, this includes both an analysis of the proposal as well as a detailed 12 point plan for reform.


EU Fisheries Council 16-17 December. Northeast Atlantic fishing opportunities for 2020 – Joint NGO recommendations

October 24, 2019

In our joint recommendations to the EU Fisheries Council, The Fisheries Secretariat along with The Pew Charitable Trusts, Seas At Risk, Oceana, ClientEarth, and Our Fish have provided concrete policy proposals ahead of the December Council at which fishing limits or TACs will be set for over 100 stocks in the North Sea and Northeast Atlantic.

The MSY obligation, all stocks managed with a sustainable fishing mortality (under Fmsy) in order to achieve a sustainable biomass (Bmsy) by 2020, is due to be fully implemented at this Council meeting. However, there is  serious threat of the legal requirement not being met.

We provide an overview of "progress in implementing the CFP", referencing the EU body, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF), which clearly show that implementing of sustainable fishing limits has slowed in recent years.

Further, we provide recommendations for setting TACs in line with the CFP requirements, the implementation of the Landing Obligation, and improving the transparency and accountability of the TAC setting process, in line with the EU Ombudsman investigation into the Council.

Finally, we reference the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC), which predicts severe declines in European fisheries production and highlights the need to alleviate all other stressors on ocean ecosystems, specifically, ending overfishing to help restore fish populations and increase ocean resilience. "In light of this clear call to climate action, all fishing limits should at the very least not exceed the best available scientific advice and preferably be even more precautionary in light of diverse threats and uncertainty."