In many Council of Europe member states fisheries is an economic activity with increasing importance. The situation today is however characterised by overfishing, fleet overcapacity and low economic profitability of the fishing sector.
In 2002 the European Union reformed its Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) with the aim of ensuring sustainable fisheries and providing a framework for the conservation, management and exploitation of living aquatic resources. The next reform of the CFP is programmed for 2012. The European Commission has in April 2009 presented a Green Paper on the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. The Green Paper outlines a vision for European fisheries by 2020. According to this vision fish stocks have recovered and fisheries are sustainable. The European Commission identifies, however five structural failings of the CFP:
The above analysis refers primarily to the situation in the member countries of the European Union but the same problems and structural failings apply to Council of Europe member states. The intensification of the fishery industry in the inland seas such as the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean and other areas bordering the European Union needs to be discussed, and measures taken also at pan-European level in order to ensure healthy marine ecosystems and sustainable fisheries.
The revision of the EU CFP provides an excellent opportunity to debate fishery policies at pan-European level. Special attention should be given to the ecological and climate aspects.
The Parliamentary Assembly should therefore prepare a report on the subject and identify the particular features and problems in Council of Europe member states with a view to identifying and proposing common policies and concrete measures.