As a practice, we encourage and support wild life diversity. We support Bird Watch Ireland in their call, along with others, to protect fish stocks in our seas and adjacent waters.

BirdWatch Ireland, along with 125 NGOs across Europe, call on Minister Coveney to end EU overfishing in 2015.

Dear Minister Coveney,

On 15 and 16 December, you will meet with your counterparts to decide on the 2015 fishing limits for fish stocks in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters. Your decision will be taken in the context of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, which requires you to end overfishing by 2015 where possible and on a progressive and incremental basis by 2020 at the latest for all stocks.[1]

More than 40 per cent of assessed stocks in the North-East Atlantic and adjacent waters are known to be overfished. The gap between the fishing limits you adopted and the scientifically recommended fishing levels increased significantly in the past two years, indicating a worsening trend with regards to overfishing.[2]Moreover, we note with concern that the Council’s recent decisions on total allowable catches for Baltic and deep-sea species have failed to end overfishing for crucial stocks without presenting justifications.

We therefore urge you again to meet the 2015 deadline for all stocks, as any delay in ending overfishing will simply prolong environmental degradation and socioeconomic hardship by the fishing sector. With fewer fish, there can only be less fishing.

Please, seize this opportunity to deliver healthy fish stocks and marine ecosystems for current and future generations. A large number of EU citizens actively followed the CFP reform process, supporting minsters and members of the European Parliament to agree on ambitious targets to end overfishing. They are now looking to you to implement this reform without delay.

According to the basic regulation, if you or any of your fellow ministers ask to delay the 2015 deadline, there must be specific evidence demonstrating that the social and economic sustainability of the fishing fleets involved would be seriously jeopardised by a decision to end overfishing in 2015.[3] Moreover, it must be explained how fishing pressure will be progressively and incrementally reduced to sustainable levels as soon as possible and not later than by 2020.

Now is the time to live up to the ambition of the reformed CFP and end overfishing in the EU for the sake of the marine environment, fisheries resources and dependent communities.

Sincerely,

Siobhán Egan,

Head of Policy, Communications & People Engagement, BirdWatch Ireland.