Oceana, the largest international advocacy organization focused on ocean conservation, published a new research that provides the most comprehensive overview so far of overfishing in European fish stocks.

The study, led by Dr. Rainer Froese at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, analysed 397 stocks, comparing them to around 150 monitored by the European Commission. Results show that the status of the EU fisheries is not in good condition. The 85% of stocks are in an unhealthy state, and just 12% fulfill the commitments of the Common Fisheries Policy.

At the same time, the study spots the solution to these alarming results.

Fish catches in European waters could increase by 57% if fish stocks were fished sustainably and based on scientific advices. Sustainable management measures could boost the recovery of fish stocks: meaning increased catches, obtained with less effort and less impact on the ecosystem, and more jobs in the fishing industry.

The European Commission will soon propose fishing quotas in the North East Atlantic for year 2017, and the EU Council of Ministers will then rule on these quotas in their meeting on the 12th and 13th December 2016. The study from Oceana should lead the decisions of European policy makers, tackling recovering all fish stocks above healthy levels.

The model used by Oceana is available for use in one of the stock assessment Virtual Research Environments developed by BlueBRIDGE. Currently FAO and ICES are working on the interfaces to facilitate the usage of the model. If you are interested in using it subscribe to the BlueBRIDGE Stock Assessment VRE.