More than 300 scientists urge EU to protect ocean health as climate action
15 de September, 2020
“End overfishing” – that’s the message delivered to EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius this week, as part of a statement signed by more than 300 scientists calling for action by the European Commission, European Parliament and EU member states to end overfishing “as an urgent and necessary response to the biodiversity and climate crises”.
The scientists are urging the EU to set fishing limits within scientific advice, and recognise that “ecosystem-based fisheries management is critical to the health of the ocean and its capacity to respond to climate change”. The signatures will also be delivered to EU Member State fisheries ministers, before annual fishing limits are agreed for 2021, and to Members of the EU Parliament who are preparing their response to the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy.
The statement, signed by leading voices in the marine science field, including Professor Carlos M. Duarte, Professor Hans-Otto Pörtner, Dr Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Professor Rashid Sumaila, Dr Ute Jacob, Dr Jean-Baptiste Jouffray, Professor Didier Gascuel, Dr Rainer Fröse, Professor Alex Rogers, Professor Victoria Reyes-Garcia, Dr Sandra Cassotta, Professor Stiig Markager, and Professor Daniel Pauly, was delivered this week to EU Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius by the Our Fish campaign.
“Overfishing and bycatch are the largest drivers of biodiversity loss in the ocean”, said Professor Alex Rogers, Science Director at Rev Ocean. “We need a healthy and productive ocean, and ending overfishing is key. This is especially the case when faced with the effects of climate disruption, which affects the whole ocean, including fish stocks themselves. As a scientist, I am calling on the EU to recognise that ecosystem-based fisheries management is critical to the health of the ocean and its capacity to respond to climate change. It is also vital for human health, including that of future generations”.
“Overfishing means taking more fish out of the water than can grow back. To be honest, that’s pretty stupid. Because then the stocks shrink, and shrunken small stocks can only support small catches. So that makes no sense at all; it doesn’t help the fishermen, it doesn’t help the fish, it doesn’t help anyone. The whole thing also has an impact on the climate; fish stocks that are too small cannot fulfill their role in the ecosystem. If the ecosystem does not function properly, it cannot breathe properly and cannot absorb CO2 properly”, said Dr. Rainer Fröse, GEOMAR – Helmholtz centre for ocean research Kiel, Germany.
Access here to see full letter and here for the complete list of signatory scientists.