EU continues to overfish despite commitments

BRUSSELS — Two environmental groups say European Union nations continue to overfish their Atlantic waters despite commitments to fish sustainably and stay within safe scientific limits.

Studies from the two obtained Wednesday ahead of their release show that almost two out of three limits for catches in the waters off northwestern Europe are still set above scientific advice.

The Pew Charitable Trusts said that in many cases the EU’s Atlantic nations set fishing limits contrary to the recent reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and they continue to overfish for dinnertime favorites such as North Sea cod and hake.

In its report Turning the Tide, Pew also said catches of North Sea cod, an iconic species in Europe, have slumped from 300,000 tons in the early 1970s to about 30,000 tons.


Meanwhile, the New Economics Foundation found that cod was now fished beyond scientific advice by 38 percent, blue whiting by 51 percent, and pollock by an astounding 231 percent.

Fish stocks in EU waters have decreased dramatically over the past half-century, leaving many fish close to commercial extinction. Even though the decline of some stocks has bottomed out, most remain in a perilous state.

Associated Press