The European Commission says 75 percent of Europe’s stocks are overfished, and despite a fishing fleet that’s double the size it was 20 years ago, catches are dramatically down. That’s because there are more boats chasing fewer fish. This has also led to hundreds of millions of euros being spent in subsidies to keep politically-important fishing fleets afloat.
Meanwhile, current rules have crews tossing more than a million tons of dead fish overboard each year to avoid exceeding catch limits. Videos like this have helped inflame public sentiment at the flagrant waste of a depleted resource. More than half a million people have signed a petition by British TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to stop the practice.
EU fisheries chief Maria Damanaki just anounced what her office called a “radical” revamping of Europe’s nearly 30-year-old Common Fisheries Policy, that she said would “get our fish stocks into a healthy state to preserve them for present and future generations.” She said she intended to meet Europe’s international commitments to make all fisheries sustainable by 2015.
That’s a pretty tall order. How’s that supposed to happen?