Europêche cautiously welcomes EC plans
Europêche has welcomed news that the European Parliament Committee on Fisheries has adopted a European Commission proposal to establish a multiannual management plan for demersal fisheries in the western Mediterranean.
This move, aimed at ensuring fishing in the region is sustainable and provides socio-economic benefits, affect fleets from Italy, France and Spain. Europêche hopes that it will provide stability and bring decision-making closer to fishermen and coastal communities.
However, the organisation, which represents the interests of commercial fishermen in the EU, remains concerned about the introduction of a severe trawl restriction and the harsh reduction of the activity at sea from the first year of implementation of the new plan.
Javier Garat, president of Europêche, said that while the Fisheries Committee had delivered an important contribution towards better conservation and sustainable exploitation of demersal stocks in the region, “the introduction of restrictions on the fishing activity and fishing gear bans would put in jeopardy not only entire fishing communities but also the ports, auctions and ancillary industries depending on the daily fresh landings provided by our fishers.”
International consistency required
Only eight of the Mediterranean Sea’s 22 coastal countries belong to the EU and, of the area covered by the new plan, non-EU fleets represent a third of the total bottom trawling fleet.
With this in mind, Europêche stresses that the EU plans should be consistent with those approved by the international community within the framework of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and applauds the committee’s rejection of the EC’s attempt to restrict total allowable catches.
In addition, the Fisheries Committee has granted flexibility to the EC’s proposal to ban the use of trawl nets at depths above 100m for three months each year arguing that there are already sufficient legal guarantees to prevent trawling from being used on vulnerable grounds.
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