EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 – Will it be a big deal for our seas and our fish?


Released on May 20, the EU’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy is the “ambitious long-term plan for protecting nature and reversing the degradation of ecosystems”, promising that at least 30% of Europe’s sea area will be transformed into effectively managed protected areas, and limits placed on the use of bottom trawling fishing gear.

The Strategy and the question “Will it be a big deal for our seas and our fish?”  were recently debated by Bernhard Friess, Director-General at the European Commission DG Mare, Daniel Voces, Managing Director at Europeche, and Monica Verbeek, Executive Director at Seas at Risk.

European Fishmeal welcomes the strategy and followed the debate.

 See and listen to the debate in a YouTube video – click here.

To read the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and an associated Action Plan – click here

Main fisheries related elements of the Strategy:

The Strategy contains specific commitments and actions to be delivered by 2030, including:

Establishing a larger EU-wide network of protected areas on land and at sea, building upon existing Natura 2000 areas, with strict protection for areas of very high biodiversity and climate value.

The Commission will also propose a new action plan to conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems by 2021. Where necessary, measures will be introduced to limit the use of fishing gear most harmful to biodiversity, including on the seabed. It will also look at how to reconcile the use of bottom-contacting fishing gear with biodiversity goals, given it is now the most damaging activity to the seabed. This must be done in a fair and just way for all. The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund should also support the transition to more selective and less damaging fishing techniques.

Healthy fish stocks are key to the long-term prosperity of fishermen and the health of our oceans and biodiversity. This makes it all the more important to maintain or reduce fishing mortality at or under Maximum Sustainable Yield levels. This will help achieve a healthy population age and size distribution for fish stocks.

The by-catch of species threatened with extinction must also be eliminated or reduced to a level that allows full recovery. This should also be the case for those in bad conservation status or not in good environmental status. Furthermore, the by-catch of other species45 must be eliminated or, where this is not possible, minimised so as not to threaten their conservation status. To support this, data collection on by-catch for all sensitive species needs to be stepped up.

In addition, fisheries-management measures must be established in all marine protected areas according to clearly defined conservation objectives and on the basis of the best available scientific advice.