european commission

In support of setting fishing opportunities at sustainable levels

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On 17 September 2015 we sent a letter to the European Commission in support of setting fishing opportunities for 2016 at sustainable levels, as legally required under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Under the CFP, the legally mandated objective for fisheries management is to manage stocks sustainably, meaning the impact of fishing will allow stocks to recover and be maintained above levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield (MSY). This is crucial for our purposes. In particular, we support that:

  • fisheries management must aim to recover or maintain stocks to biomass levels above that which would produce MSY;
  • your proposal for next year’s fishing opportunities should adopt the appropriate MSY-based fishing mortality rates, where it is possible to do so, as required by the CFP; and
  • in mixed fisheries it must be ensured that all stocks are managed according to the MSY objective, meaning some stocks may need to be underexploited to avoid overexploitation of other stocks.

For the sake of our businesses and as part of our commitment to responsible seafood sourcing, we encourage the Commission to propose Total Allowable Catches in line with the CFP’s requirement to achieve MSY exploitation rates for as many stocks as possible in 2016. For stocks where this is not possible, the Commission should show how this will be reached incrementally and progressively by 2020.

On behalf of the following members:

  • British Retail Consortium (BRC)
  • ClientEarth
  • Direct Seafoods
  • Harbour Lights
  • Icelandic Seachill
  • M&J Seafood
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Morrisons
  • New England Seafood
  • River Cottage
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • The Co-operative Food
  • Waitrose
  • Young’s Seafood


Image: GlynLowe