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It's time to start a change for the health of the seas

This year the EU is going to regulate the policy for the world's third largest fishing fleet. It is a policy which will change the managements of the seas for the coming ten years. A one every ten years opportunity. Therefore, it is widely important that we take the chance to make it as beneficial as possible.

Imagine! Throughout history, humans have been dependent on the sea. We have been taking out food, we have used the sea for transport to new places, and also for recreation. There's nothing as associated with freedom and hope as the sea. Not very long time ago, we hardly knew anything about the life beneath the surface. But our knowledge and understanding of how important the sea is increases every day. We understand that we cannot regard the ocean as an inexhaustible resource that can be taken for granted. People in Europe and around the world value the oceans. Healthy, rich and dynamic oceans and seas are in everyone's interest, also from an economic point of view. The services the ocean provides us exceed all the costs of preserving it. So why are stakeholders giving quotes that are 50 % higher than science suggests and recommends?

In principle, all fish stocks in the world are more or less over-fished. Europe's water is among the worst. It shows that the fisheries politics has completely failed. And instead of championing sustainability, the EU imports 50 % of the fish we consume.
One of the major problems is the fact that the fishing has gone from local small-scale fisheries into an industry. European fishing fleet capacity is greater than the amount of fish available. The modern fishing boats are equipped with technology that quickly finds the shoals of fish. The fishing boats have large freezers and can be out fishing for months, far into the North Sea, without having to unload in the harbors.

Nevertheless, it is not the number of boats that is the problem, but the capacity of bigger boats. The small boats often use much more sustainable equipment than big boats which use bottom trawlers as big as football fields, scraping away everything in their paths, damaging the bottom fauna, and also destroying the sea beds three-dimensional structure. Bi-catches like other fish and birds are common. Almost 50 % of the fish that is caught is thrown back dead because they are unwanted. One big trawler with 11 workers has the same capacity as 50'000 fishers had 200 years ago. So where does all the fish go? With this capacity you could believe that you should have to eat fish seven days a week.


In Europe, the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) regulates almost everything about fishery. From the net they use to the price of the fish. It is the "fishery law" in Europe. The central reasons why it was created was to guarantee the fish stocks. Though, since it was introduced in 1983(!) it has been seen as a major failure in managing Europe's waters and prevent overfishing.

Every ten year, a new Common Fisheries Policy is determined and will be valid for ten years. The hurt ecosystems in the seas will, if nothing is done, affect the ecosystems on land. And the sea won't be able to store at least 40 % of the yearly CO2 in air like it does now.
Today, 72 % of all assessed fish stocks are overexploited, with 20 % that possibly won't survive even if we stop fishing them entirely. This cannot be allowed to happen to an ecosystem which has been developing for much longer then all ecosystems on land. This unique opportunity to regain/restore the wellbeing of the seas cannot be missed.

Nature and Youth Sweden has, like many other organizations and countries, a vision that this nightmare of overfishing and destruction of ecosystem ends. And with the help from other NGOs working today on the subject, and by communicating or helping each other with dates, names and tips on direct actions, we can both learn new things on how to influence in the EU, and also actually to influence the stakeholders.

A big news from 2002 (when the last time CFP was renewed) was the new rule from the Treaty of Lisbon, 2009, that gives not only the Minister Council the strength to decide the outcome of the decision of the CFP, but also all elected parliamentarians in the European Parliament, the parliamentarians that should be the people voice, our voice. Not long ago, this new rule gave very happy news, when the Parliament decided that the EU didn't have the right to fish outside of west-Africa where big fishing companies go south when our water isn't good enough, using destructive trawling, fishing too much and damaging the sea and the countries food resource and economy there. A decision in the right way and a receipt on what the Parliament now is able to!

If you are interested, don't wait - contact us: send an email, call us or send a phone message so can we call back:
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Anna von Wirth
Patrick Scott Rossi

Nature and Youth Sweden / Fältbiologerna