We are consuming more fish than European seas can produce, reveals a report released today by nef (new economics foundation) and OCEAN2012.

Fish Dependence: The increasing reliance of the EU on fish from elsewhere, reveals the extent to which we are importing fish by exporting overfishing. Normally fish stocks are a renewable resource yet according to figures from the European Commission we are taking fish from our waters quicker than they can replenish – so we are going in search of other’s fish.

Each year, the seafood consumption data is released to display the availability of European and domestic fish stocks. The “Fish Dependence Day” for the European Union was, in 2012, the 6th July. This means that If the EU were only to consume fish from its own waters, it would run-out of fish on July 6th, making it wholly dependent on imported fish from around the world from July 7th, based on current levels of consumption. Since 2000, the EU’s Fish Dependence Day has occurred earlier and earlier in the year, revealing an increasing level of fish dependence.

For Greece, the “Fish Dependence Day” 2012 is August 8th.

Although European seas are among the richest in the world, overfishing and fishing practices such as trawling over protected habitats and fishing with dynamite have significantly reduced our fish stocks. This not only affects the environmental conditions but also the economy of many countries. According to data from the European Union, the restoration of fish stocks in 43 regions of Europe could create more than 100,000 jobs.

“The EU has the largest and some of the richest fishing grounds in the world but we have failed to manage them responsibly, so to satisfy our appetite for fish we are now exporting overfishing to other parts of the world”, said Hydrobiologist Anastasia Miliou, from Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation and coordinator of OCEAN2012 for Greece and Cyprus. “Restoring the health of our marine ecosystem while matching fish consumption with available resources, is the obvious way to stop this disastrous trend.”

“This report emphasises that if people want sustainable seafood then they must ensure decision-makers enact responsible fisheries policy. The reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy must ensure the viability of European fisheries rather than importing increasing quantities of fish by exporting overfishing.”

The Institute of Marine Conservation, ARCHIPELAGOS, informs consumers in Greece on sustainable choices in their seafood consumption. This has resulted in the creation of the smart phone application “Fish4Life”, which is available free on the AppStore, for iPhone, and GooglePlay, for Android.

nef (new economics foundation) is an independent think-and-do tank that inspires and demonstrates real economic well-being. We aim to improve quality of life by promoting innovative solutions that challenge mainstream thinking on economic, environment and social issues. We work in partnership and put people and the planet first.

OCEAN2012 is an alliance of organisations dedicated to stopping overfishing, ending destructive fishing practices and delivering fair and equitable use of healthy fish stocks.
OCEAN2012 was initiated, and is co-ordinated, by the Pew Environment Group, the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organisation working to end overfishing in the world´s oceans.
The steering group of OCEAN2012 consists of the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements, Ecologistas en Acción, The Fisheries Secretariat, nef (new economics foundation), the Pew Environment Group and Seas At Risk.
The Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation is the coordinator for Greece and Cyprus.