The European Association of Fish Producers Organisations’s AGM this year was focused around the Maritime Spatial Planning – as the recently agreed Nature Restoration Law, the Kunming-Montreal Agreement and the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive all put tremendous pressure on maritime space, including key fishing grounds and nursery- and spawning areas for crucial ecosystem elements.
The meeting was hosted by Dutch POs, and Dutch industry organisation Nederlandse Visserbond provided a presentation of the dramatic evolution of access to fishing areas from 2000 to 2030 – followed by a scientific presentation highlighting the physical effects of offshore windfarms in the North Sea.
‘The unlawful invasion of Ukraine by Russia has put energy independence and offshore windfarm development on top of the EU agenda.’ Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, EAPO’s freshly re-elected President, highlighted.
‘The rapid electrification of our power supply comes at a very high price, not only for fisheries and fisheries dependent coastal communities, but also for the productivity of our ecosystems. We need to strike a balance and find ways for co-existence. Otherwise the price for energy sovereignty will be the loss of food sovereignty and our ability to feed our own people.’
During the meeting, Esben Sverdrup-Jensen of the Danish Pelagic PO was re-elected as President. Yves Foëzon of OP Les Pêcheurs de Bretagne will continue in his role as treasurer and Irene Prieto of OPPF-4 Vigo has been appointed secretary. Belgian PO Rederscentrale continues as EAPO’s Secretariat, with Emiel Brouckaert as secretary-general and fourth member of the Bureau.
‘I’m grateful for the continued trust placed in me by my fellow members. My previous term underscored the vital role of Producers Organisations as a bridge between the EU-institutions, national fisheries authorities and the approximately 3700 vessel owners represented by EAPO,’ Esben Sverdrup-Jensen stated.
‘The aim of this term is to build on the very strong position of EU POs to both clear and create the legislative and structural path for accelerating the green transition in fisheries. Although we already produce some of the healthiest and most climate friendly proteins available, the potentials in decarbonization and emission free fishing are massive. I cannot wait to get started.’