Actions proposed won’t be adequate to cease EU international locations on their path to destruction.

The EU Fee has lastly printed its long-awaited Motion Plan to handle the impression fisheries have on marine ecosystems. The Motion Plan, which was initially set to be printed in 2021 however was delayed resulting from stress from the fishing foyer, was going to be a historic alternative to remodel European fisheries to make sure a sustainable and viable future for nature and folks. Whereas the Motion Plan is a part of the EU Biodiversity technique for 2030, in its present state it fails to guard nature and reverse the degradation of ecosystems.

An ideal instance is the difficulty of bycatch: the incidental catch of species similar to seabirds in fishing gear. Yearly, 1000’s of dolphins, sea turtles and seabirds in Europe die as bycatch. Nevertheless, and whereas options to keep away from bycatch are largely accessible, European international locations have largely failed of their obligations to handle this and so far, the Fee has not taken authorized motion to handle this urgent difficulty [1]. A lot of the Motion Plan merely reiterates the European international locations’ obligations below current EU laws. However the inefficiency of the 2012 Motion Plan [2] has proven that with out correct enforcement from the Fee, no actions are taken nationally.

Balearic Shearwater, copyright Richard Stonier. from the surfbirds galleries

Member States have till March 2024 to determine nationwide roadmaps to implement the Motion Plan. For this to not turn out to be one other ‘inaction plan’, we urge Member States to decide to a speedy and environment friendly implementation, and the Fee to launch a public science-based evaluation of those roadmaps, to require Member States to handle any weaknesses recognized, and to carefully monitor and correctly implement their well timed implementation.

There isn’t a cause for the Fee to attend any longer to take authorized motion in opposition to Member States which might be already breaching the legislation, and instantly use all of the powers at its disposal to implement current environmental laws. That is important to satisfy worldwide biodiversity and local weather commitments.

Anouk Puymartin, EU Marine Coverage Officer, BirdLife Europe:

“The set of initiatives launched as we speak by the European Fee won’t reach guaranteeing a wholesome sea for our future. A structural transformation of European fisheries to respect nature at sea and profit the individuals who depend upon it, is essential for our ocean to have a preventing likelihood to outlive and play its function of local weather regulator. Many marine species are already on the point of extinction, such because the Balearic Shearwater. Time is just not on our aspect and this new Motion Plan won’t ship if not adopted by authorized motion to carry Member States accountable.