At the end of the legislature, the European fishing and aquaculture sector are faced with a double challenge of protecting marine biodiversity and unfair competition from growing illegal fishing. A high-level debate took place at the Plenary session I Strasbourg this morning on the common fisheries policy, before the vote on a series of reports taking stock and prospects for Sustainable Blue Europe.
First, an assessment of the implementation of the reform of the common fisheries policy of 2013, which aimed to ensure the sustainability of fishing activities and the sustainability of fisheries. Renew Europe considers that sustainability is key for our fishing communities. Closely linked to this is the implementation of the common organisation of markets, focused on ensuring a diverse supply of seafood under competitive and stable market conditions,
promoting transparency and guarantees that consumers deserve.
RenewEurope was responsible for this report where the European Parliament calls for a better application of the rules by Member States; for recognition of all producer organisations and demands better consumer information since we have achieved better traceability of fisheries and aquaculture products. Renew Europe also advocate to clearly distinguish these products from other food offerings of non-seafood origin that are presented on the market in a fish-like appearance.
Izaskun BILBAO BARANDICA
(PNV, Spain), European Parliament rapporteur for the regulation on the implementation of the Common Organization of Markets in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, said: "We succeeded in securing better traceability in the recently adopted revision of the Fisheries Control Regulation and now we need to ensure that this information reaches the consumer. This is in order to give them the tools to choose sustainable and European products."
For the future, the European Commission proposes to make fishing practices more sustainable by improving the selectivity of gears and in particular the impacts on the seabed as well as protected species such as dolphins. While Renew Europe shares this general objectives, we do not see that the Commission's one size fits all approach will bring successful action. We can only achieve this with the full involvement of stakeholders in the sector.
(Venstre, Denmark), shadow rapporteur of Renew Europe within the Parliamentary Committee on Fisheries (PECH) for the Action Plan relating to the protection and restoration of marine ecosystems for sustainable and resilient fishing, underlined : “All sectors needs to constantly work to improve sustainability, includint for the fisheries sector. But we can only do this if we seriously involve the fishers in the conversation and use their expertise to implement the best measures”
The strengthening of environmental measures in EU waters must go hand in hand with an uncompromising fight against illegal fishing committed by third countries. The Court of Auditors has already identified a number of flaws in the import control system. The European Parliament recommends that these controls are harmonised and improved to counter fraudulent imports and ensure fair global competition for EU fishers through better targeted granting of autonomous tariff quotas for example.
(Renaissance, France), president of PECH and shadow rapporteur of Renew Europe on the impact of illegal fishing on food security as well as the report on the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy and future perspectives, concluded: “We need to firmly implement zero tolerance for illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and we must continue to improve our own Common Fisheries Policy. The Common Fisheries Policy must continue to be implemented, evaluated and where needed improved.”