Will we reach “healthy seas by 2020”?

Scottish Seas

In its new report ‘Tackling overfishing and marine litter’, Seas At Risk undertakes an analysis of fisheries and marine litter measures adopted by Member States under the Marine Directive.

While noting some progress, it concludes that much more effort is needed to achieve healthy fish stocks and reduce harm from marine litter by 2020. The report also provides recommendations on the measures needed.

The EU Marine Directive requires Member States to put in place measures to achieve biologically diverse, clean and healthy seas by 2020.

Together with its members and other NGOs, Seas At Risk took a critical look at what Member States are actually doing to achieve this noble goal. The report focuses on fisheries and marine litter measures.

The analysis showed that 67% of fisheries measures and 35% of litter measures were actually to implement existing legislative requirements for example related to the Common Fisheries Policy and the Waste Framework Directive. Only 27% of fisheries and 30% of litter measures were new legislative proposals and 6% of fisheries and 35% of litter were voluntary instruments.

The Common Fisheries Policy aims to end overfishing by 2020, and failure to fully implement this legislation will also result in a failure to achieve healthy fish stocks under the Marine Directive. Sadly, this may be the case for all Member States.

One of the additional values of the Marine Directive, over and above the Common Fisheries Policy, is that it also requires actions to ensure a high proportion of old/ large sexually mature individuals in commercial fish populations.

This is an important condition of healthy stocks. Only a few new measures were proposed to address this aspect of the Marine Directive.

Read the full article and report at Seas at Risk.

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