Fish stocks improving

A report on the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has concluded that stocks status has significantly improved although the rate of progress has slowed in the last few years according to worldfishing.net.

The report by the European Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) shows that in the North East Atlantic, the proportion of overexploited stocks decreased by 37% in a ten-year period. The proportion of stocks outside safe biological limits follows the same progression, namely a decrease by half during the same period. The recruitment trend relative to 2003 shows that the number of young individuals entering the fishery is consistently increasing.

MSY increase

President of Europêche, Javier Garat, declared: “We welcome the fact that the number of stocks at sustainable levels is growing year after year. To be more precise, 53 stocks are being fished at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) levels this year, compared to only 5 in 2009.

“For the majority of the stocks in the North East Atlantic, the end of overfishing has become a reality and is now backed up by science. Policy-makers, however, should not be fixated on the number of stocks fished at MSY levels since the stocks already at sustainable levels represent the vast majority of catches in Europe. This is even more true in light of the growing stock abundance and the better economic performance of our fishermen.”

The report also reflects an overall downward trend in the fishing pressure over the period 2003-2015 in the North-East Atlantic, said Europêche. Biomass has been generally increasing since 2006, and was in 2016 on average around 39% higher than in 2003. However, further efforts are still needed, particularly in the Mediterranean.

Now that MSY levels for many stocks have been reached, the new challenge is to overcome the singlestock-management difficulties particularly for mixed-fisheries, stressed STECF.

 

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