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The Cost Of No Reform: A Grim Future

EU - Speaking at the Price of no Reform Conference - "No fish left on the plate why a radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is needed", European Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, stated that the outlook of a future with no reform would be devastating.

Ms Damanaki opened by saying that the prospects of a future without a reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) would be grim as fish stocks would be depleted and lost one after another.

She highlighted that not only would this affect us, but it would also cause damage and changes to food webs and ecosystems, with results that can not be predicted.

A future without reform would also increase the economic pressure on the industry, with job losses spreading across a range of sectors and a lack of fish available to buy.

Drawing upon the commissions recent future predictions modelling structure, Ms Damanaki stated that a continuation of the current CFP would result in disastorous changes to environmental, economic and social sustainability.

Talking about the huge environmental impacts, Ms Damanaki said: We know that, in this scenario, nine per cent of our stocks would be at sustainable levels by 2022 -basically those covered by long-term management plans. The others would be heading toward collapse.

At the same time, fleet size would shrink in ten years by 15 per cent in terms of number of vessels; but such modest reduction would be offset by our increasing technological power and this means that overcapacity, the main driver of all our problems, would remain; as would overfishing and the high levels of discards.

Economically, all areas of the industry would become vunerable to fluctuations in costs and it is likely that the sector would need to be subsidised.

In terms of social sustainability, Ms Damanaki stated that there would be huge job losses and that wages and saftety conditions would not improve.

Another social impact Ms Damanaki highlighted was that, "The communities which today depend on fishing would gradually and inevitably decline. These communities are already having to turn to other fishery related sources of income and therefore, this is a problem that would get worse.

Governance must also be considered, said Ms Damanaki. The CFP has a very complex legal framework, which makes it very hard to implement and enforce. Maintaining the current structure would mean continuing with micro-management at the highest political level and more bureaucratic decision-making to the detriment of effectiveness and compliance, she commented.

Ms Damanaki ended by saying that we need to move away from short term management to long term strategies. Environmental, economic and social sustainability must all be taken into account to ensure an economically profitable and socially viable future for the fishing sector.

Without a reform, the loss of fish stocks and the decline of the fishing sector will be inevitable, she concluded.

the Fish Site Editor

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