Oceana: EU Member States continue to disregard scientific advice and the biding precautionary principle for some stocks
Yesterday, the European Council agreed on the 2013 and 2014 TACs and quotas for deep-sea species. Oceana is deeply disappointed in the Fisheries Council agreement to increase TACs for many deep-sea stocks above levels proposed by the European Commission, which already were not ambitious enough to guarantee the responsible exploitation of these vulnerable species. On a positive side, the Council has agreed on a rollover of a zero TAC for threatened orange roughy and deep-sea sharks, and reductions for other stocks.
Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe has declared: „We are disappointed by the Council’s lack of coherence and precaution in managing these vulnerable species.“ Pastor noted the broader impact of the Council’s position: „The EU is currently in the midst of the challenging process of reforming the deep-sea access regime. The Council’s decision on deep-sea TACs should have shown that EU Member States are fully committed to the implementation of a binding precautionary principle. Instead, they revealed themselves to be anchored in an unsustainable past.”
Due to their biological characteristics, including low reproduction, slow growth rates and late maturity, deep sea species are highly vulnerable to overexploitation. The upcoming reform of the deep-sea access regulation proposed by the European Commission, which will be under discussion in 2013, provides a critical opportunity to move towards more responsible management of these vulnerable resources and sensitive ecosystems.