Overfishing is widely acknowledged to be one of the major threats to marine biodiversity. Seas At Risk promotes sustainable fisheries management for the benefit of both fishers and the environment.
Currently 40% of the assessed fish stocks in the North East Atlantic are overfished, as well as 88% of assessed stocks in the Mediterranean. Overfishing not only dramatically reduces fish stocks – many of the fishing gears used also have devastating impacts on marine habitats and on non-target species such as dolphins and turtles; bottom trawling and by-catch are of particular concern. Overfishing can even cause shifts in the balance of entire marine ecosystems through the large scale removal of predatory fish and the trend to “fish down the food web”.
However, the situation in Europe has been improving in recent years. There is a gradual decrease in the percentage of assessed fish stocks that are overfished. EU targets are set to end overfishing altogether by 2015, where possible, and by 2020 at the latest, and to restore fish stocks to sustainable levels.
Seas At Risk is currently working on the management of deep sea fisheries, and the implementation of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy with a focus on the development of regional discard- and management plans, both at EU level and at regional level through the fisheries Advisory Councils.
Seas At Risk, together with the Swedish NGO Fisheries Secretariat, works towards environmentally sustainable decisions in the Council of Ministers and in the European Parliament through the production of Fisheries Council and Parliament briefings. These comprise of analyses and comments from an environmental perspective on key proposals on each Fisheries Council agenda, which are sent to Ministers, relevant Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and their advisory staff, as well as many other stakeholders.
You can find the back catalogue of these briefings here.