There are very few places left on the planet where fishing is sustainably done, but Europe is showing some real signs that their industry is going too far. Europeans are eating more fish from other parts of the world as their own stocks deplete, and the day of the year that marks “fish dependence day” is coming earlier every year, this year on July 9th. Among European countries, Italy is one of the worst. In fact, Italy already depends totally on other seas since 30 April 2011. That’s what emerges from a newly published report by NEF (New Economics Foundation) e OCEAN2012 that, among the other things, highlights the unhealthy status of European fish stocks and the increasing Europe’s reliance on fish products originating from external waters for its fish supplies.
“European Union (EU) fish stocks are in an unprecedentedly poor state yet fish consumption throughout Europe remains high. The EU has been able to maintain and even expand its levels of consumption by sourcing fish from other regions of the globe, both through the catches of its distant-water fleet and imports. This report highlights Europe’s increasing reliance on fish products originating from external waters for its fish supplies, and provides pointers towards a more sustainable future for dwindling global fish stocks.”
“EU fish stocks are unhealthy, producing far less than they could if they were managed in a sustainable way. Indeed, 72 percent of assessed stocks in the EU are estimated to be overexploited and more than 20 percent beyond safe biological limits.”
“Fish dependence is a powerful concept that illustrates how far overconsumption outstrips domestic resources. As we have shown, one way to illustrate this trend is to represent a country’s degree of self-sufficiency as a calendar day – the day in the year when a country has consumed its own supply and must begin sourcing its products from elsewhere, hence the term ‘fish dependence day’. For the EU this date is currently 2 July, after which the EU depends on foreign resources.”
“The EU and many of its leading Member States are becoming increasingly dependent on fish resources from other countries. This is down to two main driving factors: EU stocks are in poor health and EU demand for fish continues to increase as EU citizens eat more fish than their waters produce.”
The full report can be read here.