Thursday, 15 December 2011

Will Minister Conveney listen to science when it comes to protecting the marine environment?

Seabirds, like humans, depend on a healthy marine environment, which is why BirdWatch Ireland is proud to be an active member of OCEAN2012, a coalition dedicated to ensuring that the 2012 reform ofthe EU Common Fisheries Policy stops overfishing, ends destructive fishing practices and delivers fair and equitable use of healthy fish stocks.

This week Minister Simon Coveney, along with other fisheries ministers, will signal how committed he is to protecting the marine environment.  In the space of a few days they will set fishing limits for stocks in a setting where science has taken second place to politics: this is unacceptable.

Puffin © Peter Loughlin

"We cant afford to damage fish stocks and squander marine resources", said Alan Lauder, BirdWatch Ireland's CEO. "The way the minister behaves now signals how seriously they are taking the ongoing review of Common Fisheries Policy which needs dramatic change so that healthy seas exist in the future, both for marine wildlife and for the people whose livelihoods depend on fishing."

"We will want to see technical measures to stop seabird bycatch, management tools like marine protected areas, and fishing methods that don't damage marine ecosystems," added Siobhán Egan, Policy Officer with BirdWatch Ireland.  "Birds depend on heathy seas. The current Common Fisheries Policy has been a disaster: will Minister Coveney be the man to make a difference?"

Click for more on the benefits of setting fishing limits that don't exceed scientific advice