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Sweden, UK, Ireland top Northeast Atlantic overfishing 'shame' list

Sweden, UK, Ireland top Northeast Atlantic overfishing 'shame' list
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By Cristina Abellan Matamoros
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Sweden, UK, and Ireland are the worst at following recommendations for sustainable fishing quotas, leaving the EU lagging behind on 2020 goals. finds British think-tank report.

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Sweden has topped an annual overfishing "shame list" produced by a British think-tank.

The New Economics Foundation (NEF)'s annual "Landing the Blame" report found the Nordic country to be 52.4% above the northeast Atlantic fishing quota established by scientific bodies, primarily the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

The UK (24.3%) and Ireland (21.7%) took second and third place in the think-tank's list published on Monday.

NEF also found that European Union member states were set to fish as much as 312,000 metric tonnes above what is deemed suitable by scientists in 2019.

The report also found that out of the 120 quotas or "allowable catch" (TAC) as the report calls them, 55 were set above scientific advice by EU ministers in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council this year.

"This is continuing the trend of permitting overfishing in EU waters with Northeast Atlantic TACs set 16% above scientific advice on average – a big increase from the 2018 TACs (9%)."

The think-tank called out EU fishery ministers for setting the quotas for themselves in secret talks.

"This lack of transparency means that ministers are not on the hook when they ignore scientific advice and give priority to short-term interests that risk the health of fish stocks," said the report.

The earlier negotiations for 2019 Baltic and deep sea quotas were also set above scientific advice, said the report.

The report predicted that the EU would not reach its 2020 sustainable fishing targets.

NEF tracked set quotas from 2001 to 2018 and found that, on average, two-thirds of quotas were set above scientific advice.

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