EU fails to show leadership on marine conservation with weak plan for Atlantic fisheries

An unambitous plan was adopted on 12th February by the European Parliament, for management of fisheries in the European waters of the Atlantic Ocean Even though, the Western Waters multi-annual plan (WWMAP) does set a long-term, regionalized framework for Atlantic fisheries, it lacks concrete measures on vital environmental issues such as protection of essential fish habitats and fish stock recovery areas, i.e. spawning and nursery grounds, as well as sound management targets for unwanted catches, the so-called bycatch.

Unfortunately, the plan also still allows for fishing above sustainable levels in certain cases and shows a double standard in management by setting different objectives for the target stocks and lowering conservation efforts for bycatch stocks.

 “EU lawmakers have again showed no ambition. Their legal duty is to end overfishing by 2020 for all harvested species, but with such a weak plan this binding requirement will only be achieved for the fish stocks they consider priority. The EU must show determined leadership on marine conservation in these times of environmental emergency,” said Javier López, Policy and Advocacy Manager for Oceana Europe.

The unambitious plan, which was the result of hasty negotiations between the three key EU institutions; the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, received 525 votes in favor and 132 against. The report was led by a French MEP Alain Cadec (European People's Party), the chairman of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee.