The European Union is considering tighter rules for commercial fishing operations, something that is long overdue to protect fish stocks.
However, Spain is lobbying hard for an exemption to be made for fleets fishing outside EU waters. At the moment, huge, heavily subsidised EU trawlers catch vast amounts of fish in West African seas with highly inadequate regulation.
Some of these fish stocks are already overfished, mostly by commercial fishing operations from the EU. Additionally, local fishermen cannot compete with industrial fishing fleets, which are ruining livelihoods and lives. Mauritania, one of the countries concerned, declared a food emergency in January.
Ask the EU to not even consider making an exemption for fishing outside EU waters. The huge-scale plundering of other countries' fish while their people go hungry needs a radical overhaul, not a get-out clause and yet more tax-payers' money.
We the undersigned ask that the European Union tighten regulations on fishing fleets operating outside EU waters and not succumb to pressure to make this an exemption. Although the countries in question have signed agreements allowing outside commercial fishing operations in these waters, this should not be viewed, as it currently is, as an opportunity to exploit those fish stocks with little regard paid to long-term sustainability or the needs of local people. The EU's fishing policy needs a radical overhaul within and without EU waters and we ask that you ensure this happens.
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