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Reform of EU fishing quotas urged
by Staff Writers
Brussels (UPI) Feb 10, 2012

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Letting overfished fish stocks recover would, over time, help the European fishing industry earn more money and create more jobs, a study says.

While the fishing industry is currently enjoying huge profits, a study released Friday by the New Economics Foundation said poor management of fish stocks is costing the industry billions in potential income.

If the 43 species studied were allowed to recover and then harvested at "maximum sustainable yields" -- the largest catches that can be sustained indefinitely -- fishing companies could bring in an additional 3.89 tons of fish annually, the report said.

The result would be a $4.2 billion increase in revenue and 100,000 new jobs on fishing boats and in processing plants, it said.

"You can always increase your catches by fishing harder, more and building more boats. But these benefits are very quickly outweighed by long-term costs," Rupert Crilly, one of the report's authors and a researcher at NEF, told Deutsche Welle. "The end solution is very simple. We just need to reduce fishing pressure. We need to be catching less."

A reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy currently being discussed in the European Parliament doesn't go far enough, he said.

When a stock begins to decline in other regions, Crilly said, fishing is immediately stopped, whereas the proposed reform only calls for gradual reductions in fishing in the case of such a decline, something he said was simply not scientific.

Fishing quotas set by European fishing ministers at yearly meetings in Brussels were higher than levels recommended by scientists 68 percent of the time, he said.

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