Last month, we asked you if you thought the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was doing more harm than good. Are fish stocks best protected in a coordinated fashion through the EU, or is the red-tape and bureaucracy of the CFP precipitating an environmental catastrophe? The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) recently updated its review of the state of world marine fishery resources. Globally, the situation is continuing to deteriorate, with 87 percent of fish stocks estimated to be fully exploited or overexploited in 2009, compared to 85 percent in the previous year.

We had a range of comments responding to our earlier post, some strongly critical and others more optimistic (and you can get an idea of some of the basic arguments for and against a Common Fisheries Policy in our InfoBox here). Most people, though, seemed to accept that the status quo was unsustainable and that mistakes had been made in the past.

Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Fisheries, to put some of your questions and comments to her. Commissioner Damanaki is responsible for reforming the CFP, so would she agree that it had been a failure in the past? Van Patten sent in a highly critical comment arguing that: “the CFP has contributed to arguably one of the greatest environmental catastrophes on record… it has been an unmitigated disaster, on economic and environmental grounds.” How would the Commissioner respond?

The next comment we received on this topic came from Tim Worstall, who suggested: “We could in fact do what has saved, as an example, the Alaskan halibut fishery: Tradeable Individual Quotas. Not dissimilar from what Norway, Iceland and the Faroes (all safely outside [the] absurd CFP) do.

Next, Ron Patz (who has written about CFP on his blog) gave us a question on Twitter:!/ronpatz/status/184632322858037248

Next, we had a question sent in from Christos arguing: “If one region is over-fished then the EU should impose stricter quotas or even a ban on fishing in those waters until the stocks are back to a healthy population. Only local fishermen can continue fishing in those waters, but following a strict quota… [In that way] the local fishermen are also protected against the larger fleets and the fish are being given a chance to replenish their numbers.

Finally, when we interviewed Isabella Lövin, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Swedish Green Party, she stressed the importance of long-term planning for fisheries management: “I think having multi-annual fishing management plans – which has been proposed by the Commission – is key. You should not have management on a year-to-year basis. They realised this in the US and in New Zealand and Australia, and they did something about it.” Would the commissioner agree that longer-term planning is key, and is she optimistic that it will make it into the reforms?

What do YOU think? If we accept that mistakes have been made in the past, can the Common Fisheries Policy still be reformed? Could transferable fishing quotas help prevent waste? Or a full discard ban that forces fishermen to land everything they catch? And do you think that both the European Parliament and EU member-states can be made to agree on these reforms so they might eventually see the light of day? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

Image Credits: CC / Flickr – Tim Pearce

7 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Turean Rozalia Gyöngyi

    A general reform must include the massive development of production of continental fisheries, as warrantee of freshwater quality too

  2. avatar
    Jony Capony

    It is ironic how fishermen want bigger quotas when the whole industry is doomed to disappear forever if restrictions are not enforced.

    @Konstantinos Zorbas: It is easy to name call, point the finger and be pessimistic about the current process. This we see all the time from the less educated or people with no ideas. Your say would have value if you had a proposition or a idea of some sort on how to go forward. At the moment you are as useful as a can of worms, the difference is worms are used to as baits for fish, you look like a bait for trolls.

  3. avatar

    When we respect nature it will provide us. I can?t even shoot a rabbit in the EU without risking jail, while the boats keep on bringing in food from everywhere. At the end of every day we destroy tons of fresh food because there isn’t enough demand. The next day we resupply all of the supermarkets again, this is crazy.

  4. avatar
    Christos Mouzeviris

    From what I am listening from Mrs Damanaki, work is being done, so I am hopeful for the future..(if those reforms happen soon enough, and all member states actually stick with them).. I am looking forward to learn some good news on this front.. (for a change)…

    • avatar

      All tihngs considered, this is a first class post

  5. avatar
    George Lloyd

    Like most EU legislation the CAP favours the big players, the smaller more local fishermen should be better served, and the destruction of the UK fishing fleet is a disgrace, the once thriving fishing ports of Hull, Grimsby, Lowestoft , Aberdeen, and many more, were full of fishing boats and are now virtually empty, while Spanish boats abound. If this had happened to any other major UK industry there would have been an outcry. I am not and never have been in the fishing industry, but have served in Fishery protection and know what a great industry it was.

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