Press Releases

Scientists see evidence of major progress in European fisheries: 39 % more fish in the sea than in 2003

Europêche has welcomed the clear message from the scientific community and DG MARE Director General, Mr Aguiar Machado, at Friday's “Scientific Seminar on Fisheries Science” organised by the European Commission. The scientific data presented evidenced in the North East Atlantic a drastic reduction in fishing pressure which is now stabilizing at sustainable levels. As a consequence, overexploited stocks decreased by 43% in the last decade and the proportion of stocks outside safe biological limits dropped by more than half during the same period. Fish populations have been generally increasing, reaching in 2016 biomass levels 39% higher than in 2003. The seminar also reviewed fisheries science challenges such as integrating socio-economic advice, multispecies management transition, climate change consequences and insufficient data processing.

Science reveals that less than 4% of the global ocean is fished

Earlier this year, a group of researches claimed that fishing activities occurred in 55% of the world’s oceans [1]. As a result, their study found that the area fished is four times bigger than the area occupied by agriculture in terms of square kilometres. Europêche then argued that the study was based on scientifically unsound data [2], overestimating the proportion of the seabed where fishing occurs. A new scientific research developed by the Department of Marine Sciences and Fisheries of the University of Washington evidences this by showing that when low-resolution data are replaced by high-resolution data, the true footprint of fishing is revealed to be less than 4%. Science confirms that fishing continues to hold the first place as the lowest impact production method.

European industry, NGOs and UN agencies call for a socially, environmentally and commercially sustainable fisheries

The European Social Partners in the Fisheries Sector were proud to host today together with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the European Commission and the Holy See, a side-event on the social dimension of fisheries during the 33rd session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI), a subsidiary body of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Despite the progress in health and safety operations, insufficient attention has been given by governments to the implementation of essential principles of international law for the protection of fishers, making fishing still a hazardous activity. In order to bridge the gap, participants widely called for the development, in close cooperation with UN agencies, of an effective roadmap for the rapid worldwide implementation of the international agreements relating to work and safety in the fishing sector.


iFish, We Fish

The commercial fisheries of the EU stretch for thousands of square miles, from the inhospitable seas of the Arctic North, to the warmer and more favourable climes of the Southern Mediterranean. These communal waters harbour a plethora of commercial species of fish and shellfish, the landings of which form an integral part of the economies of 23 member countries, accounting for a colossal 4.9 million tonne catch, from a fleet of 87,500 vessels, a statistic that indicates a world ranking of 5th largest in terms of total output.