Today, fishing organisations from 14 EU countries representing over 20 000 fishers and 7 000 vessels, launched in the European Parliament the European Bottom Fishings Alliance (EBFA). Representatives of the alliance presented the reality of these fisheries across Europe and defended the use of active bottom gears as a sustainable activity. The press conference hosted by the first vice-chair of the Committee on Fisheries, MEP Peter van Dalen, drew political attention over the valuable contribution of these fleets in stark contrast with the negative perception expressed by the European Commission towards bottom gears. Decision-makers present fueled concerns over possible implications of phasing out bottom contacting gears in the upcoming EU Action Plan to further protect fisheries resources and marine ecosystems in the context of EU’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy.
During the plenary session of the European social dialogue committee for sea fisheries held last week, ETF and Europêche adopted a joint resolution establishing benchmark principles aimed at better regulating the proliferation of sustainability labels certifying social conditions on board fishing vessels. The intention is to avoid social-washing labels while stressing the importance of the ILO “Work in Fishing” Convention C188 as guardian of human and labour rights of fishers at sea, which cannot be replaced or substituted by private schemes.