The European Commission’s proposals to shut down the use of mobile fishing gears inside MPAs has been slammed on the floor of the European Parliament by MEP Pierre Karleskind, who also chairs the Parliament’s Fisheries Committee.
He denounced the Commission’s action plan as proposing to enact measures that are illegal in terms of contravening the Habitats Directive which requires conservation measures to be specific to each Natura 2000 area, and in contravening the Aarhus Convention which stipulates the mandatory participation of all stakeholders in marine protected areas.
‘Where are the fishermen when it comes to a ban dictated from Brussels?’ he said, taking as an example the effects the Commission’s action plan would have on the Baie de Saint Brieuc scallop fishery, which has been carefully managed for many years in co-operation with the industry and which has been awarded MSC certification for sustainable fishing practices.
‘This is a double illegality and a double betrayal,’ he said, commenting that the Commission’s action plan betrays those fishermen who are committed to protecting ecosystems.
‘This is also a betrayal of the European Parliament, which voted in May 2022 against ending the use of demersal gear in all marine protected areas, for the reasons set out here. Even if this action plan has no binding force for the countries of the European Union, I ask the European Commission to withdraw the action plan to return to an inclusive and non-authoritatian approach,’ Pierre Karleskind said.
‘This plan is doubly illegal! I will not accept it. I said it clearly at the PECH Commission today. With Minister Hervé Berville we are committed to opposing the action plan, which is otherwise not binding.’