Two Steps to Prevent Overfishing of Deep Sea Species in the EU

Date: November 14, 2018

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts
Author: Andrew Clayton

The deep sea is a mysterious world, pitch black and subject to extreme conditions. Life there is specially adapted to this environment, but also remarkably susceptible to human activities such as fishing.

Deep-sea fish tend to be slow-growing, late-maturing and long-lived. Because of these factors, stocks can be quick to collapse and slow to recover. Their sensitive and vulnerable nature makes ending over-exploitation of vital importance.

On 19 and 20 November, fisheries ministers in the European Union have a last chance before the looming 2020 deadline to set sustainable deep-sea catch limits in EU waters and safeguard those stocks into the future. This decision on 2019 and 2020 catch limits for the deepest parts of European seas marks the final opportunity to meet the timetable set by the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that went into effect at the start of 2014.

Among the heavily fished deep-sea species that ministers will consider are the greater forkbeard, the black scabbardfish, the roundnose grenadier, and orange roughy.

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