More needs to be done to protect our oceans

The Green Party in Northern Ireland has responded to today’s news regarding EU fishing quotas by saying that more needs to be done to protect our oceans and marine life.

“This is short term financial gain which risks the very existence of certain fish species,” Green Party European candidate Ross Brown said.

“The Green Party has long-recognised Europe’s common fisheries policy to be a dismal failure.

“Today’s announcement on EU fishing quotas by Minister of Agriculture Michelle O’Neill has underlined the failure by those in charge to ensure a truly sustainable future for our fishing industry.

“While it may appear good news for the local fishing fleet that Europe has increased the total allowable catch of nephrops (prawns), scientists recognise that low levels of cod and other species of fish which eat are contributing to their very abundance.

“It is time a holistic and international solution to the fishing crisis is found.

“European fisheries are in crisis. Scientists recognise 63 per cent of the fish stocks in the Atlantic are overfished and 75% of Europe’s fish stock are endangered.

“A scientific study published in 2011 concluded that total allowable catches (TACs) were set higher than the scientific recommendations in 68% of decisions.

“On average, Ministers adjusted TACs to be 33 per cent higher than recommended by fisheries scientists

“Fish stocks are impacted by pollution, warming sea temperatures and climate change and are under threat from a variety of factors.

“While I commend the Minister for showing her support for businesses attempting to promote sustainable alternatives, the Green Party believes the Government ought to do much more to promote more sustainable varieties of fish to consumers and tackle the other factors impacting on fish stocks.

“The Green Party challenges policy makers to urgently view the impact that overfishing had on cod in North America and take seriously the threat that stocks will diminish further unless robust action is taken.

“Only by working together with other Europeans can we reform this policy and bring a resolution to what is a problem for all nations.”

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