EU is failing to halt over fishing in Africa, says WWF
23rd October 2003
The European Union is failing to stop European fishers from plundering the waters of poor developing states, a leading green group said Thursday.
E.U. fisheries ministers are reviewing the cash-for-fishing deals signed with mostly African coastal states. Such agreements are vital for the E.U. fishing industry as fish stocks collapse in European waters.
WWF, long a critic of the deals for letting E.U. trawlers exploit the waters of poor countries, fears the new rules will not differ much from the existing ones — with no major effort to halt illegal fishing.
"Too many boats chasing too few fish: There's not enough fish left in European waters, so our boats go to the waters of developing states to overfish there," said Espen Nordberg, fisheries policy officer at WWF Denmark.
The organization had hoped for a change in direction after the European Commission, the E.U.'s executive arm, launched a policy paper in 2002 saying the deals should be improved to help developing states protect their fishing grounds.
The Commission argues the agreements can have a beneficial effect because they stop coastal states selling off their resources to the highest bidder and ensure monitoring of the fish stocks.