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Overfishing threatens 7.5 per cent of marine fish in the EU

Overfishing is still a threat to many European fishery species. (Photo: Oceana)
Thursday, June 04, 2015, 03:30 (GMT + 9)

A report issued by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the European Commission (EC) warns that 7.5 per cent of the fish that inhabit the seas of the European Union (EU) are in danger of extinction due to overfishing.
The document, in whose drafting also the NGO Oceana participated, emphasizes that despite improvements in EU fisheries management, 58 of the 59 species identified as endangered are in that situation as a result of fishing, bycatch and impacts of this activity on their habitat.
The most threatened group is formed by chondrichthyans or cartilaginous fish such as sharks and rays: this group includes 15 resources assessed as critically endangered and other 15 species out of the 22 deemed as endangered.
The Maltese ray and the angel shark, both critically endangered and threatened primarily due to incidental bottom trawling catches, are among those resources, EFE agency reported.
Some commercial depth species are also threatened: grenadier, redfish, dusky grouper and grouper haddock, Atlantic halibut and turbot.
Oceana believes this situation shows "the absolute necessity of establishing fishing opportunities based on scientific criteria," so that the stocks can reach healthy levels and fishing regulations provided by the EU executive can be met.
The executive director of the organization in Europe, Lasse Gustavsson, argues that strict compliance with the Community rules "is the only way to ensure healthy stocks and long-term survival of marine fish."
The reassessment of the European Red List of Marine Fish by UICN recognizes 59 species threatened with extinction (7.5 per cent), out of the total of 1,220 that inhabit European seas. And it warns that this percentage could rise to 27 per cent, "as some [species] have not been assessed due to lack of data."
Ricardo Aguilar, research director of Oceana in Europe, considers that that list "provides a solid base to offer priority in the EU to the adoption of immediate measures intended to reduce catches of endangered species, ensuring that catch levels are based on the scientific information available and to better gather biological and fishery information on species for which data are lacking."

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