The challenges faced by the European fishing sector were outlined by the president of Europêche, Javier Garat, in Brussels on February 21. He blamed the rigid objectives set by the Common Fisheries Policy to achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) levels by 2020 the implementation of the landing obligation and the uncertainty that Brexit is creating.

The combination of all these factors, known in the sector as “the perfect storm”, were presented by Garat at the conference titled “How far has the EU come in ending overfishing?” that was held in Brussels and held in Brussels and organised by the environmental organization the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“The fishing sector agrees with the European Commission on the need to achieve the maximum number of stocks at MSY levels as soon as possible, but not at any cost and without taking socio-economic factors into consideration,” he said.

According to a Europêche, which represents the fisheries sector in Europe, the data of the scientific body the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) confirms that more and more stocks are fished at MSY levels – from only 5 in 2009 to 53 in 2018 in the North East Atlantic. However, and despite the fact that the available data have increased substantially, insufficient data is available for around 45% of the stocks, so it is necessary to improve the process of gathering information and processing the data by scientists.

As a final positive note, a representative from the European Commission highlighted that 97% of the landings coming from stocks managed by the European Union alone in the North East Atlantic are already fulfilling the MSY objective.