Possible legal challenges to overfishing

Cod in fishing net

Cod in fishing net. Image: Bill Curtsinger, National Geographic

A new report by the University of the West of England (UWE) says that new changes to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) could lead to previously unfeasible legal challenges by campaign groups if scientific advice on fish stocks is not followed.

Maximum Sustainable Yields (MSY) are calculated and provided by scientists for commercial species which provide a guideline as to how many fish can be sustainably removed each year. Nevertheless, European Politicians routinely set fishing quotas that are above MSY’s leading to further reduction in stocks. However, under new regulations, the European Parliament is committed to ensuring sustainable fisheries in most cases by 2015. Crucially, the changes to the CFP set out a framework that would allow special interest groups, such as environmental campaigners, from member states to mount legal challenges to fisheries legislation at an EU level – something that was previously impossible.

According to the study, commissioned by the Blue Marine Foundation, quota allocations for threatened stocks including sole, cod and sea bass could face legal actions unless they follow scientific advice.

Source: University of the West of England

For the full report please click here

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