All change for fisheries at the EC

16 Sep 2014
Dr Karmenu Vella, new EU Commissioner for Environment and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Dr Karmenu Vella, new EU Commissioner for Environment and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

New European Commission President-elect, Jean-Claude Juncker, has announced his new Commissioners and a new combined Environment and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries division, to be overseen by Dr Karmenu Vella.

In a letter outlining the new role that Commissioner Vella will need to fulfil, President Juncker said that ensuring the sustainability of the environment, the preservation of natural resources and the conservation of maritime biological resources are key policy objectives requiring action at all levels.

A hot topic on Commissioner Vella's agenda is to enforce the recently agreed reform of the Common Fisheries Policy to put the EU firmly on the path to create a sustainable fishing sector and fishing communities.

Commenting on the new Commissioner-elect, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fisherman's Federation (SFF), said: “The over-arching criticism of the outgoing Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, was that she often imposed policy without due consideration of the negative impact on our coastal fishing communities – the forthcoming discards ban being a classic example.

“It is essential that Commissioner Vella adopts a different and much more inclusive approach that listens to our concerns so that policy can be shaped that ensures a viable future for fishing.”

Commissioner Vella has a background both as an architect and civil engineer. In 1981 he was appointed Malta's Minister for Public Works and in 1984 was appointed as Minister for Industry. He was then appointed as Minister for Tourism in 1996 till 1998 and again in March 2013.

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