219,308 of 250,000 signatures

Environment & Fisheries Ministers of EU Member States

Petition text

It’s time to stick to the commitment you made to save and protect our seas by 2020 under the EU Marine Directive. More needs to be done to end overfishing, and fish are not waste and should not be discarded. At least 30% of EU seas need to become Marine Protected Areas and further ambitious measures should be taken to achieve ecologically diverse, clean and healthy seas as prescribed by EU law.

Why is this important?

Member States around Europe are signed up to an EU marine law that could save and protect our waters by 2020 if correctly implemented [1]. But so far they are blatantly ignoring their own promises, while our marine ecosystems continue to be destroyed. With only a couple years left to act, the challenges are getting bigger every day:

  • Over 40% of fish stocks in the North-East Atlantic are still overfished [2], reaching 87% in the Mediterranean [3]
  • Fish are treated like waste: ten millions tonnes of them continue to be disposed like trash every year worldwide, despite the discard ban introduced in 2014 [4].
  • Wildlife protection is a joke: We still only have 9% of seas in Marine Protected Areas around Europe [5] and not 30% as recommended by scientists [6]. Most of the existing protected areas are “Paper Parks” with only a small percentage fully protected.

Environment and Fisheries Ministers are meeting in December and we need them to get the clear message that this has to change. They need to take urgent action now if they are to achieve ecologically diverse, clean and healthy seas as they promised by 2020. This must include ending overfishing and protecting at least 30% of our seas.


We delivered the petition to the Environment Council of Ministers meeting on the 10th of April 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria, as well as to the Fisheries Council of Ministers meeting in December 2018.

Considering the approaching 2020 deadline, we are now collecting thousands more signatures and we will deliver them to the Environmental and Fisheries Ministers of Spain and Portugal in autumn and later to the Fisheries Council of Ministers and to the Council of Environmental Ministers meetings in December 2019.


[1] Our Oceans, Seas and Coasts - European Commission; http://ec.europa.eu/environment/marine/good-environmental-status/index_en.htm (03/10/17)

[2] Scientific, Tehnical and Economic Committee for Fisheries - 54th Plenary Report- European Commission; https://stecf.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/43805/1672821/2017-04_STECF+PLEN+17-01_JRC106580.pdf (03/10/17)

[3] https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/sites/fisheries/files/docs/com-2018-452_en.pdf

[4] http://www.seaaroundus.org/ten-million-tonnes-of-fish-wasted-every-year-despite-declining-fish-stocks/

[5] EEA Newsletter, Issue 2017/3, 15 September 2017 - European Environment Agency ; https://www.eea.europa.eu/media/newsletter/eea-newsletter-issue-2017-3 (03/10/17)

[6] https://portals.iucn.org/congress/motion/053#_ftn1

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