Two studies from environmental groups show European Union nations continue to overfish their Atlantic waters despite commitments to fish sustainably and stay within safe scientific limits.

The studies obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press ahead of their release show that almost two out of three limits for catches in the waters off north-western Europe were still set above the limits advised by scientific research.

The Pew Charitable Trusts said that in many cases the EU's Atlantic nations "set fishing limits contrary to the recent" reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, continuing overfishing for such dinnertime favourites like North Sea cod and hake.

The New Economics Foundation found that cod was fished beyond scientific advice by 38 per cent, blue whiting by 51 per cent and pollack even by 231 per cent.

In a recent study, the New Economics Foundation recommends amending the EU's Common Fisheries Policy to reduce the pressure on fish populations.

"Quotas and subsidies have been allocated to fleets regardless of their economic, social or environmental performance," author Griffin Carpenter says in the report.

It recommends the EU set new criteria, including low-carbon fleets and potential for job creation, in allocating fish quotas, rather than stick to historic levels.

With files from CBC News