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European fisheries reform stumbles forward by Daniel Cressey June 13,2012   |  Source: Nature

Europe’s attempts to reform its much-criticized fisheries policy took a major step forward at a meeting in Luxembourg yesterday, but left policy experts concerned that the reforms do not go far enough to safeguard fish stocks.

Although there was celebration over a ban on 'discards' — throwing unwanted fish back into the ocean — and a pledge to heed scientists’ advice on fisheries, some fisheries experts are already expressing scepticism about the plans.

Mette Gjerskov, fisheries minister for Denmark, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union (EU), said: “After long and very, very tough negotiations, member states took a very important step in the direction of a radical new common fisheries policy. A sustainable fisheries policy.”

But Markus Knigge, a policy expert at the Pew Environment Group, a conservation organization headquartered in Washington DC, told Nature that “they didn’t go far enough. We are not very happy at all”.

Researchers have been warning for years that Europe’s fishing fleets take far more fish from the sea than is sustainable, and that scientific advice is routinely ignored when limits on catches are set. But changing the Common Fisheries Policy that governs EU catches has been repeatedly scuppered by

 

© 2012 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited

Theme(s): Fisheries Development and Aquaculture.

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