Spanish industry federation CEPESCA has outlined its unconditional support for the protests planned for fishing ports across Europe today to register the fishing industry’s dissatisfaction with the European Commission’s action plan that proposes crippling restrictions to demersal fisheries.
The European Bottom Fishing Alliance (EBFA) and Europêche, to which Cepesca belongs, and the National Federation of Fishermen’s Guilds (FNCP), the European Association of Organizations of Fisheries Producers (EAPO) and the European Federation of Transport Workers (ETF) and all supporting this action.
‘This package of measures from the European Commission is a point of no return for European fishing from which we believe it will be impossible to recover,’ said Javier Garat, Secretary General of Cepesca and President of Europêche.
‘Europe must reconsider the future sustainability of this activity with a global vision and not leave the food of its citizens in the hands of third parties, as has already happened, unfortunately, with other industries, further weakening its food sovereignty.’
He commented that the EU is already heavily dependent on imports of white fish caught by bottom trawlers from third countries – and that 70% of the seafood consumed in Europe is imported.
The sector has chosen to hold this protest to coincide with Europe Day, a day that serves to celebrate the unity of Europeans and the achievements made in recent years.
‘Fishing is a common EU competition policy, but what should be a policy that unites fishermen and makes them feel proud of the European Union, is nevertheless causing antipathy, generating eurosceptics among the entire value chain of the fishing sector,’ Cepesca states.
With today’s planned actions, the industry seeks to remind the European Commission of its commitment to maintain the balance between the three pillars of sustainability to develop an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable fishing industry faithful to the spirit and aspirations of the Policy Common Fishing.
According to Javer Garat, the entire European fishing industry has spent years arguing that the reasons for the state of some fish stocks go beyond fishing. Climate change and its adverse effect on biomass can not be attributed to the fishing sector, while other human activities, leading to pollution, marine debris or global warming, have an impact on the health of the seas.
The fishing industry standpoint is that this demands an open approach in which the fishing industry ‘does not take all the blame for this situation’ and instead includes measures that address the problem in a comprehensive manner.
‘We are struck by the total absence of references to these factors in the European Commission’s Action Plan,’ Javier Garat said.