I am very pleased that during this week’s Fisheries Committee, the European Commission announced emergency measures to alleviate the threat to the conservation of ‘poisson d’avril’ in Europe. What this means in practice is that during the key spawning period for the species this year, starting on 1st April, it will be prohibited to exploit the species.
This marks a bold step for the European Commission, on a matter that has not been without its opponents across the sector — many of whom are reeling at the decision. While these measures are no doubt intended to make a splash, it is important that we not go overboard with a wave of reactions to this decision. Importantly, we must remind ourselves that the Commission is usually best plaiced to evaluate data on the rather large scale of such matters.
Such reactive emergency measures really only give buoyancy to the argument that we need to improve the level of scientific knowledge of our stocks in Europe though, to improve the quality of future policy-making. Poisson d’avril, as it is referred to in France, is a species that is commonly enjoyed at this time of the year across Europe — and we must do more to ensure its continued existence. I therefore welcome the European Commission’s announcement this week, to protect this vital species.