Vulnerable key fish stocks left without protection due to hiccups at the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission

Date: November 18, 2016

Source: Seas At Risk

The annual meeting of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission closed today without agreement regarding management of the deep-sea fish orange roughy. The Commission also agreed on total allowable catches of 7,500 tonnes for redfish in the Irminger Sea. These decisions leave both vulnerable species subject to overfishing, despite clear scientific advice to not allow any direct fishing for them.

After a full week of negotiations, own interests of the five Contracting Parties to the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission prevailed above finding consensus on management measures for orange roughy. The lack of decision comes at a point when orange roughy aggregations have been depleted and the amount of redfish in the Irminger Sea is so low that its recruitment (number of juveniles added through reproduction to the population of the stock) can be seriously impaired.

Björn Stockhausen, Fisheries Policy Officer at Seas At Risk said: “This week’s failure of the Contracting Parties to agree on management measures for depleted and vulnerable species such as orange roughy makes it very clear that the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission is not functioning properly, to the detriment of the marine environment. It urgently needs to improve its processes to make critical decisions and resolve disputes, as was also highlighted in a recent UN report. This is important because the persisting weak functioning drives down both shared fish stocks and the related fisheries, with high environmental and biodiversity costs.”

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deep sea orange roughy with copyrights on it CSIRO