The European Commission’s (EC) Green Paper on the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) calls for an end to ‘rampant overfishing’, which is causing irreparable harm to the environment, and suggests that the European conservation policy is deeply flawed.

The Green Paper criticises the current situation, with ‘overfishing, fleet overcapacity, heavy subsidies, low economic resilience and decline in the volume of fish caught by European fishermen’. The paper offers a vision of what the CFP could be like in 2020 if radical changes are made.

The EC is launching a consultation on the CFP’s future, and seeks the views of fishermen themselves going forward.

Joe Borg, EU fisheries commissioner, will be launching the consultation process. He says: ‘We are questioning even the fundamentals of the current policy.

‘We are not just looking for another reform—it is time to design a modern, simple and sustainable system for managing fisheries in the EU, which is able to last well into the 21st century.’

Euan Dunn, head of marine policy for the RSPB, says: ‘The Green Paper is the “last chance saloon” for turning round a discredited policy that has failed fishing communities and fish stocks, and has inflicted far too much collateral damage on the wider marine environment.’

The Green Paper is the start of the process of reform that will culminate in the adoption of the new CFP Basic Regulation at the end of 2012.

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