Contrary to the image conveyed about the sector, the fishing sector is eco-responsible and intends to assert itself as a major player in EU food security. This is the observation made by Renew Europe during a three-day mission by the Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries (PECH) to Brittany, an emblematic region of European fishing, where there is a deep crisis of confidence about the future.
No one doubts, fishermen even less than the others, that good management of fish stocks is the first condition of sustainable fishing. But each of the European maritime regions has its specificities which cannot be subject to uniform regulations concocted from Brussels. It is time for the European Commission to recognize the strategic importance of the sector and to change its method. Fishermen are thirsty for dialogue to combine the passion for their profession and the need to preserve resources.
The consequences of Brexit and the energy crisis are challenges serious enough for the EU to support the transition of the sector, already subject to the highest standards of control in the world, rather than increasing the obstacles to activities of fishing disconnected from the realities of the fisheries. Fishing wants a sustainable future, Renew Europe is committed to encourage it. One of our first proposals would be support for the digitization of fishery products in order to guarantee their traceability and origin to consumers.
Pierre KARLESKIND (Renaissance, France), President of PECH, said :
" We didn't wait for the crisis to plan this mission. I think it was essential that MEPs from the fisheries Committee come to meet fishermen, shellfish farmers and fishmongers in Brittany to see what is going well and what is not. It was especially important to come and listen to the fishermen. They are already making considerable efforts to make their activity more sustainable. It will undoubtedly be necessary to do even more, but this cannot be done without consultation with fishermen. The fishing sector should not bear alone the cost of these efforts ”.
Izaskun BILBAO BARANDICA (PNV, Spain), Renew Europe coordinator within PECH, added:
“The European fisheries sector is strategic for the resilience of the Union, for our food security and for the quality of our diet. Its professionals have been making enormous efforts for years to develop a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable activity. And this is a reality that can be confirmed by meeting, listening and talking in in each European fishing port with those who maintain life and activity in coastal communities. The EU authorities know that the primary stakeholders in the sustainability of fisheries are the professionals and must act accordingly: more dialogue, proximity, empathy and co-governance and less imposition”.