Last Friday, the Commissioner for environment, oceans and fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, attended the plenary of the European Social Dialogue Committee for sea fisheries. The social partners, ETF and Europeche, had a constructive dialogue with the Commissioner about the social dimension of the CFP. Fishing sector representatives called on the Commission to seriously take into account the fact that fish workers and the livelihood of their families very much depend on the decisions taken in Brussels. Yet, despite the fact that more and more stocks are fished at sustainable levels, the EU fleet and its fishers are disappearing year after year.
The European fishing industry represented by Europêche met yesterday Mr Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. The newly elected Commissioner listened and exchanged views with fishing industry leaders on the challenges faced by the sector and on ongoing fisheries policy developments. Europêche assessed the talks with the Commissioner, who is committed to seek balance between the three dimensions of sustainability during his mandate, as open and constructive.
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?