WWF rings alarm bell over EU Fishery Policy

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is launching a campaign for radical reforms of the EU’s common fisheries policy.

In its campaign “Fishing madness- 101 reasons why the CFP needs radical reform”, the WWF raises issues for European stakeholders to consider when debating the reform of the CFP:

  • 40 out of the 60 main commercial fish stocks in the North East Atlanctic are heavily overfished;
  • the EU’s fishing fleet is at least 40% overcapacity;
  • EU subsidies to the fishing fleet amounts to € 1.4 billion a year, of which most goes to expanding capacity
  • many fishing agreements with developing countries are not in line with EU’s development policy.

The main message from the WWF is: “Stop overfishing or fishing will be over”.


In a discussion on the Green Paper on 17 January 2002, the European Parliament supported the Commission's proposal. The Parliament's report stated:

  • the CFP must be based on a multi-annual guidance and a multi-species approach;
  • the EU could have its own fleet, under the European flag;
  • there should be uniform penalties for infringements


The issue of overfishing and dwindling fishing stocks has become a serious challenge for the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Therefore, on 20 March 2001 the Commission adopted a Green Paper calling for a radical reform of the CFP in order to deal with this problem.


The Commission is expected to present a proposal for a reform of the common fisheries policy in spring 2002. Thereafter, it will go to the European Parliament and the Council. The aim would be for the revised CFP to come into force in 2003.


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