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More fish, more money… what is there to debate?


This week is critical for the future of Europe’s fisheries and fishermen. Haven’t heard about it? Not many people have.

A fisherman gutting fishWith many fisheries on their knees, will the European parliament side with the benefits of sustainability? © Jiri Rezac / WWF-UK

This week in the European parliament a group of 25+ MEPs are meeting to thrash out the guts of their recommended changes to Europe’s fishing policy for the next 10 years. These will then be put forward for the whole European Parliament to vote on.

These are the key people in the EU who will debate the merits of reforming a European fishing policy that has been failing our oceans and fishermen for 30 years. Many of our fisheries are on their knees – a situation reflected by the European economic crisis.

And today we have released a study that we commissioned from an independent economist, which looks at different scenarios for Europe’s fisheries in the future.

The results are astounding.

Fishing fleetNewlyn harbour in Cornwall, with its fishing fleet, would benefit from a sustainable fisheries reform. © Jiri Rezac / WWF-UK

At a time when European countries are looking at ways to stimulate their economies it shows that allowing fish stocks to return to sustainable levels will result in an increase in landings, profit and income for the fisheries sector and fishermen.

The top facts are:

  • €1.7 billion extra income per year for Europe’s fisheries – around 80% more than currently.
  • The UK fisheries sector registering an increase in earnings of 40% by 2022
  • EU fishermen landing an additional 2.8 million tons of sustainably caught fish – an increase of around 80%
  • Across the EU, income per fisherman could be up to 50% higher on average than it is today

Let’s hope that these MEPs will listen to the scientists who have, for years, been calling for reduced catches to allow fish stocks to recover; 80% of the public who support a reform that delivers sustainably caught fish; and the economic argument for reform.

If you want to add your voice to the thousands of others you can write to the key UK MEPs debating fisheries.

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