Seas and oceans are essential to human life in more ways than one might think. Since well before recorded history, humans have used the sea as a source of food, but a shift is occurring in modern times. Governments and new emerging industries are gradually looking at the seas as a source of minerals and energy, leading to a rough competition over maritime space. Namely, one of the human activities steadily growing its presence at sea is offshore wind farming, particularly in the North, Irish and Baltic seas. The fishing sector argues that this process is being developed without a careful analysis of the vast ecological and economic impact of such a use. In this ‘battle’, the fishing industry is losing valuable fishing grounds and access to healthy stocks. Europêche claims that EU’s climate and energy objectives are favoured, but not for the honourable reasons; why else putting the marine environment at risk and possibly changing the ecosystem faster than climate change could ever do?
The European Commission has launched its annual consultation on the state of fish stocks and the preparation for setting fish quotas for next year marked by the objective to fish all stocks at maximum sustainable yield (MSY1) levels by 2020. The good news is that most of the stocks in the North East Atlantic have already reached this target. However, and despite generalised fishing effort reductions, some fish populations are struggling to rebuild or even to remain at current level. The answer may be found in the latest scientific advices which revealed major challenges in some fisheries caused by the destabilizing effect of the full introduction of the landing obligation and environmental factors such as climate change. The European fishing industry represented by Europêche expresses once again its concern over the stated aim to have all stocks at biomass levels that can produce Maximum Sustainable Yields will prove to be counterproductive, since the production capacity of our sea bas
Since 2013, EU vessels have been authorised to fish for snow crab in the Barents Sea and Svalbard waters. Even though these vessels carry a valid fishing license, a few were arrested by the Norwegian authorities, who refuse to recognise the legitimate right of EU vessels to sustainably and legally operate in this area. To date, 19 large boats from several EU countries remain tied up in port out of fear of being arrested. A recent Norwegian court ruling has declared Norwegian restrictions illegitimate and contrary to the international obligations undertaken by Norway.
Demersal fishing in the Baltic Sea has been dealt a huge blow by the Council of Ministers on Monday night when they reached agreement on fishing opportunities for 2017 in the Baltic. The ministers ended up agreeing on a quota reduction of no less than 56% for cod in the Western Baltic Sea, while the quota for cod in the Eastern Baltic Sea was reduced by 25%.
Europêche, the representative body for European fishermen has hit back at the Commission's 2017 proposals for Baltic cod allocations, which sees a colossal decrease from last year's figures. The quota proposed for Western Baltic cod amounts to 1588 tons, down 88% from 2016 figures and a reduction of almost 40% for the Eastern stock.
In the framework of a joint EU co-funded project, the European social partners in Fisheries , ETF and Europeche, organised a meeting in Madrid to prompt Spain to swiftly ratify the ILO Work in Fishing Convention C188. This landmark convention is applicable to all types of fishing vessels and seeks to provide minimum standards that protect fishers in all aspects of their work, in what is considered one of the most hazardous professions.