Ireland one of worst in Europe for overfishing, report finds
Ireland has the third highest rate of overfishing in Europe with quotas coming in at more than 20 per cent above scientific advice, a new EU-wide report has found.
The annual Landing the Blame report from the London-based NGO New Economics Foundation (NEF) analyses fishing quotas – or Total Allowable Catches (TACs) – to see if they are set above scientific advice.
Fisheries ministers from all EU member states meet every December to set the TACs for Europe’s North East Atlantic area fish stocks. The report found that EU member states will be fishing 312,000 tonnes above scientific advice in 2019 despite an EU goal to end overfishing by 2020.
According to the NEF report this goal is unlikely to be achieved with numerous countries setting quotas well above advised levels. Sweden tops this year’s overfishing league table with over 50 per cent of its Atlantic quota above scientific advice, followed by the UK at 24 per cent, the report found.
With Atlantic quotas set at almost 22 per cent above scientific advice, Ireland ranks in third place, dropping from first in the NEF’s ranking last year.
Despite moving down the leader board from first place last year, the level of overfishing allowed for has actually increased from 31,127 tonnes last year to 34,052 tonnes above scientific advice for 2019.
The Minister for the Marine, Michael Creed TD, said that December’s negotiations led to a “balanced outcome” to “support the livelihoods of fishermen” and also “respect the scientific advice for stocks”.
The “victory for Irish fishermen” outlined by Mr Creed, according to Fintan Kelly of BirdWatch Ireland, is nothing more than a “disaster for the health of Irish fisheries and the marine environment on which they depend”.