Ending overfishing is climate action

Our Fish

“Ending overfishing is climate action”, Dive into climate action at COP26, Glasgow, Scotland. Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Our Fish


Our Fish works within the EU to end overfishing and restore a healthy ocean ecosystem. In collaboration with scientists, artists and NGOs, and by deploying robust evidence, we are calling for the EU to put in place fisheries management which ends destructive and over-fishing, in order to provide a critical contribution to addressing the biodiversity and climate crisis. 

© “Listen to the ocean”, opera and quartet in Luxembourg at the AGRIFISH Council, 2021. Ian Sanderson/Our Fish


This project

The EU committed to end overfishing by 2015 or by 2020 at the latest, however over 40 percent of fish populations in the North-East Atlantic are still subject to overfishing and 84% of European seas assessed by scientists are considered ‘problem areas’. The EU fishing fleet is inflated with too many destructive vessels, subsidised by Member States to take too many fish. This is largely due to an absence of sufficient political oversight and incentive; fisheries are perceived as a marginal political issue and has a culture of acquiescing to fishing interests – this is the proverbial fish ghetto. To transform fisheries management and end overfishing we need to reframe the narrative and so disrupt the existing political dynamic. 

Our Fish is unique in that it is reframing a tired and seemingly intractable issue (ending overfishing) as an opportunity for decisive, measurable and immediate action on climate change. The narrative is positive and the impact would be significant. Our Fish has been successful in mobilizing the public and decision-makers with this narrative, and generated significant media coverage across the EU. In 2022-2023, as the warnings of the climate emergency grow ever graver, Our Fish will continue to deliver engaging, creative communications that present ending overfishing as a decisive solution to bolstering ocean health and addressing climate change.

This project will: deliver a Symposium on fisheries-climate science and other events at the UN Ocean Conference and UNFCCC COP27; produce reports highlighting the damage from fuel subsidies; mobilise public and stakeholder pressure on EU decision-makers to end fuel subsidies; lead strategic communications on the climate impacts of overfishing with EU NGOs; collaborate with small-scale fishers to drive a ‘just transition’ to climate-wise low-impact fishing. 

“Save the Ocean to Save the Climate” – message to Virginijus Sinkevičius in Vilnius, Lithuania. Our Fish/Dalius Pacevičius


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