Global Policy Forum

WWF Urges European Fisheries Ministers to Remember the Commitments Made at WSSD

September 20, 2002


WWF today urged the EU Fisheries Ministers to remember the commitments made in Johannesburg by European leaders - to restore fish stocks and eliminate harmful subsidies - when they meet on Monday in Brussels to discuss the future of Europe's fisheries policy. The EU Fisheries Ministers' meeting will be the first one on Europe's fisheries policy since the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

In South Africa, the EU and its leaders agreed an Implementation Plan which committed them to achieve sustainable fisheries, to restore fish stocks to levels that can provide the maximum sustainable yield, and to eliminate subsidies that contribute to overcapacity. "This appears to be in total contrast to the negative stance taken by some Fisheries Ministers towards the modest reforms proposed by the European Commission," said Tony Long, Director of WWF European Policy Office. "Judging by the speeches of European leaders at Johannesburg there has been a change of heart."

At WSSD, French President Jacques Chirac described nature as being overexploited and no longer able to regenerate, and proposed that France be the first country to be assessed for its implementation of the Johannesburg Action Plan. Similarly, Portuguese Prime Minister Barroso said, "Oceans' ecosystems and resources continue to be depleted at an alarming rate (...). Effective action to improve oceans and coastal management is urgently needed."

"I hope the Fisheries Ministers have been listening to their leaders," added Tony Long. "Here are the leaders of two countries that have so far opposed reform of Europe's disastrous fisheries policy making a clear commitment to do better in the future." In fact, Europe's leaders have previously made one unambiguous commitment to reform the CFP – at the Gothenburg Summit in June 2001 – when they agreed that "the review of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2002 should address the overall fishing pressure by adapting EU fishing effort to the level of available resources."




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