According to a recent analysis launched by WWF, European Union fisheries ministers have only followed scientific advice in 13% of their decisions over the past nine years.

The analysis, which was developed ahead of the EU fisheries reform process currently in progress, revealed that, on average, fishing quotas were set 45% higher than was scientifically recommended. To add to the problem, this does not include the quantity of fish that is thrown overboard and wasted.

Tony Long, director of WWF’s European Policy Office, said: “The European Parliament needs to see what a bad job fisheries ministers have been doing over the past decade. MEPs now have a unique opportunity and the power to right a wrong – listen to science and let fish stocks recover.

The study also suggests that EU governments have been legalising overfishing as ministers approved fishing of 6.2 million extra tonnes of fish. In Europe almost half the stocks in the northeast Atlantic are overfished with 80% overfished in the Mediterranean, resulting in two thirds of assessed stocks being overfished.

Mr Long added: “By disregarding scientific advice, fisheries ministers are effectively not only making decisions that are depleting a ‘public good’ such as fish, but they are also wasting fish through discarding and wasting EU citizens’ money.”

WWF says that the upcoming EU fisheries reform must ensure the sustainable management of fish stocks if profits and income for fishermen are to improve.

Mercator Media Ltd 2012