Friday last week, after the meeting of the Council where EU Ministers agreed quotas for the Baltic Sea, I took the time to watch “Game over – Facing our Ocean’s Point of No Return” .
This short but comprehensive documentary outlines well the urgency of concrete actions to counter the depletion of fish stocks and the severe consequences that any delay could trigger, be that in South America, in the North Sea or in the Baltic. Cod overfishing in Canadian waters, leading to the overmultiplication of sea urchins and the resulting damages for the whole ecosystem is just an example and the fact that this happened far away must not trick us. Seventy-five percent of our stocks are overfished and if we don’t act now, only 8 out of 136 EU stocks will still be healthy by 2022.
But, together with the pressure to make all necessary steps towards sustainability, maybe for the first time during my mandate, I also felt that we are on the right path: following the Commission proposal, all quota decisions taken by last week Council are based on scientific advice!.
This is an historical achievement, for which I must thank the EU Polish Presidency: our cooperation was excellent and made possible decisions that will be difficult in the short term, but were taken knowing that it is the maximum we can do for our fishermen, within the red line of scientific advice.
We have also agreed to overcome situations where data or scientific advice is still lacking: knowing the state of the stocks –as well as the condition of the whole ecosystem– is paramount for a proper management: this is what stressed in Berlin yesterday, it is one of the point we are working on with our Norwegian partners and it will be one of the main highlights of my visit in London next week.
And now let’s keep on working together to win this contest against time!