fishing boat on rough ocean waters
Project

Ending Overfishing in Northwestern Europe

Overfishing is a serious concern in the waters of northwestern Europe.

Although this issue is not unique to the region—experts estimate that $83 billion is lost worldwide annually to overfishing and could be recovered through stock restoration—it persisted for years in large part because of the European Union’s reluctance to set fishing limits in line with scientific advice.

Although European ministers have followed the science in setting most of the 2018 fishing limits, they must do more: Under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, Member States are legally bound to end overfishing by 2020 to maintain sustainable fisheries.  

Progress toward that goal has varied, but it generally has been too slow to meet the 2020 deadline. Pew’s work is focused on bringing EU fisheries management in line with scientific advice to end overfishing and allow stocks to recover. In doing so, the EU would set a positive example for other governments and help ensure the future sustainability of fisheries in northwestern Europe and beyond.

Project Goals

To support effective implementation of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy, we are working to ensure that overfishing ends in Europe’s northwestern waters by advocating that EU decision-makers:

  • Set fishing limits that will allow stocks to recover to sustainable levels.
  • Agree on long-term legislation that achieves the objectives of the CFP in each region.
  • Measure progress toward these aims, and make this information publicly available.
fish
fish
Article

EU Fisheries Management Not in Line With Scientific Advice

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Article

After decades of overfishing and ineffective fisheries policies, the European Parliament and the European Union’s then-28 Member State governments agreed in 2013 on far-reaching reforms to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The goal: to make fishing sustainable by setting objectives to restore stocks, maintain healthy ecosystems and safeguard stable, profitable fisheries for the EU fleet.

Overfishing
Overfishing
Article

10 Reasons European Governments Must Act Promptly to End Overfishing

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Article

European Union fishing ministers and officials from other states bordering the Atlantic Ocean will meet this autumn to agree fishing quotas for stocks in the Atlantic and in the North Sea for next year.

Fishing net
Fishing net
Fact Sheet

A Path to a New Fisheries Management Agreement in Europe

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Fact Sheet

The official departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union in January 2020 started the clock on a transition period—outlined in the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement—for the two parties to negotiate their future relationship.

EU
fish
Quiz

Test Your Knowledge on European Fisheries

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Quiz

From the North, Celtic and Irish seas to the Atlantic Ocean, Europe’s north-western waters harbour a rich array of life. Can you tell a hake from a herring, a sardine from a sole, or a cod from a Common Fisheries Policy? Test your fish knowledge with our quiz.

Our Work

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