A new study claims that the EU will not reach its 2020 goal of sustainably caught fish, as EU ministers continue allowing catches higher than the recommended limits set by scientists. The New Economics Foundation (NEF), an NGO based in the UK, claims that the 2019 TACs for nearly half of EU commercial fish species were set higher than the scientific advice. They found that 55 TAC’s were set above recommended levels equating to approximately 312,000 tonnes in excess catch. The Northeast Atlantic TACs were on average set 16% above scientific advice, an increase of 9% from 2018. Early negotiations for the Baltic Sea and deep sea TACs are currently set higher than expert advice.
NEF found that Sweden was the leading country with a little over 50% of all their TACs set higher than that of scientific advice for the Northeast Atlantic fishing region, with the UK and Ireland following at 24% and 22%, respectively. In terms of excess volume, the UK, Denmark, and Ireland were the worst perpetrators with 106,925, 49,914, and 34,052 tonnes, respectively. The study further explains that this overfishing has resulted in Ireland’s mackerel MSC-certification being suspended, affecting not only Ireland, but Norway and the Faroe Islands. Finally, the study believes that if EU fishing waters were managed correctly and damaged fishing stocks were rebuilt, while other stocks were fished at maximum sustainable yield, the full potential of this industry could be reached within one generation.