Today, the European Commission has published its Communication in response to the citizens’ initiative entitled ‘Stop Finning — Stop the trade’. The campaign aims to end international trade of loose shark. In response to the campaign, the Commission will launch an impact assessment by the end of the year to measure the effectiveness and contribution of EU rules against finning. The Commission will aim to better enforce the EU’s already strong traceability measures and to improve data relating to imports and exports of shark products. Finally, the Commission will aim at enhancing the role of the EU in the global fight against shark finning. Europêche believes that the current framework in Europe guarantees that all shark catches are legal and sustainable. Even if the policy is functioning well, there is always room for improvement and for that reason the sector welcomes the decision to assess the situation in depth before taking any legislative measure.
The new joint project of the European social partners for sea fisheries (Europêche and ETF) has kicked off today in Amsterdam. Following a selection process, Europêche and ETF will count with the participation of specialists to develop a wide range of studies for a safer, healthier and more worker-friendly fisheries sector in Europe and worldwide. The action will focus on trade measures to combat forced labour, develop guidelines on recruitment of migrant fishers, develop a training programme for medical examination of fishers and update a mobile app to facilitate communication on fishing vessels (FisherySpeak).
Europêche, the leading trade body representing the fishing industry in Europe, strengthens its team to boost the organisation’s support for sustainable tuna fishing and to promote the voice of the sector in wider EU and international decision making. Newly founded Europêche’s tuna group will advocate the interests of the EU and associated tuna freezer purse-seine fleet to enhance business competitiveness, improve the image of the sector, contribute to sustainable ocean governance, support the fight against IUU and labour abuse, and achieve an international level playing field.
The EU fishing sector has presented to European authorities the critical measures that have to be taken in order to overcome the operational, commercial, and safety problems that the sector has only begun to endure and which will inevitably and without doubt worsen in the coming weeks due to the protective measures taken against the spread of the COVID-19. The primary concern of the sector is the continuity of fishing activities and food supply to EU citizens. Measures are also needed for those vessels forced to cease operations.
The newly elected chair of the European Parliament Committee on Fisheries (PECH) Chris Davies (Renew Europe, UK), the Director-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE), João Aguiar Machado, and DG MARE Director, Veronika Veits, were guests of honour at this week's Europêche General Assembly meeting to discuss the many pressing issues facing the fishing sector today.
The European fisheries sector recognises the work of CITES concerning marine species to ensure that the international trade does not threaten their survival. However, it is important to respect the work and instruments already defined and implemented for this purpose by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMO), Governments and the sector itself. Species such as mako shark are sufficiently protected and regulated so as to guarantee its sustainable exploitation and legal trade, rendering unnecessary additional CITES measures. This was highlighted by the president of Europêche, Javier Garat, during his speech at the commemoration of the World Wildlife Day 2019, which took place today at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva.
The European fishing industry represented by Europêche opposes the inclusion of shortfin mako shark in Appendix II of CITES which would severely curtail the international trade of the species. Particularly, the sector rejects the EU initiative to co-sign a Mexican proposal for this purpose. Europêche believes that this initiative lacks both scientific and legal basis in light of the strong regulatory framework within the context of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and other Regional Agreements, the biological characteristics of the species as well as the absence of illegal trade related to these stocks. Consequently, the species is sufficiently protected and regulated so as to ensure its sustainable exploitation and legal trade.