EU fisheries policy
28 Sep 2016
Local fishermen should be at heart of EU fisheries policy
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) has welcomed proposals from the European Commission to simplify the Common Fisheries Policy.
In a draft opinion, it was started that a simpler policy would help restore trust in the EU’s approach to fisheries. The simplification would involve closing loopholes and making the policy more responsible to local circumstances.
“Small-scale fishing businesses currently feel disconnected from policymaking due to the ineffective governance and overregulation from previous decades” and the more recent introduction of “multiple new regulations,” said the rapporteur Emily Westley (UK/PES), a member of Hastings Council, EastSussex.
The commission argued that regaining the trust of local fishermen should be a central concern for the EU’s legislators.
Adding that small fishermen should have a greater role in the stewardship of the sea and should be able to operate on a level playing field with larger-scale fishing businesses.
Ms Westley added: “I hope that Europe will not forget the small-scale fisheries that are the backbone of the fragile economies in small coastal towns around Europe.
“I would like to appeal to legislators to consider the importance of small-scale coastal fishing as knowledgeable on sustainable fishing methods and as a cultural tradition and way of life which should be protected, together with its important link to the socio-economic life in coastal towns.”
“We need to tap all unused potential support and ecological benefit for small-scale fisheries existing in the Common Fisheries Policy in order for them to survive.”
Adopted on 27 September, the opinion argues that the EU needs to ensure that future technical measures do not oblige small fishing businesses to invest in new equipment and nets.
It also says that the provision of economic, social and administrative incentives could help restore their trust in the EU’s policy.
The opinion suggests that “empowering small fishers to manage quotas of certain stocks” would allow small-scale fishing businesses to “identify themselves as shareholders in the managed asset (fish) and have the stimulus to take good care of it”.
It is now due for debate and adoption at the CoR’s plenary session from 7-8 December 2016.
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