World Oceans Day – from the CFP to the Filet-o-Fish

June 9, 2011 09:16

It's World Oceans Day and one of the events happening around the world is the GLOBE Forum in London, where politicians and some other interested parties will give their suggestions for improving the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), reports with reference to Seafish.

At Seafish, we welcome all initiatives that could result in the CFP delivering better on its basic commitments to economic, social and environmental sustainability. We simply must have better long-term management of our fish stocks and the wider marine environment, and we believe that the industry as a whole has a major part to play in better management.

The background paper explaining the draft declaration to be discussed by GLOBE delegates provides a succinct analysis of many of the structural and political failings of the CFP, as well as many constructive proposals for reform. I trust that those facilitating the event will be able to resolve the tensions between this analysis and the publically-stated positions of a number of the participants.

In particular, it would be great to see realistic proposals to minimise discarding, based on an appropriate assessment of each European fishery. Elucidating fishery-specific problems should result in less generalisation and more sensible time-scales for each solution.

In another World Oceans Day  announcement  - McDonald's has announced its European customers will be able to buy Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable fish from its restaurants from October this year.

With approximately 100 million Filet-o-Fish portions sold across Europe last year, this initiative shows that sustainably-sourced seafood can be made available to the masses - and that whitefish stocks can and are being managed successfully. It is also impressive to see how a partnership of industry players can take an ailing fishery, like cod in the Eastern Baltic, and turn it around. McDonald's are sourcing from that fishery again despite conventional management having failed. A strong message, repeated elsewhere, that industry can work for the long term when it gets appropriate support.

Let's hope that the GLOBE Forum recognises this potential and shows support for the many initiatives that have already demonstrated industry's commitment to its own future.

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