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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen | Image: Europêche / FIS

The European Fishing Fleet Celebrates Von der Leyen's Announcement to Appoint an Exclusive Fisheries Commissioner in Her Next Term

EUROPEAN UNION
Friday, June 07, 2024, 07:00 (GMT + 9)

The European fishing fleet, represented by Europêche, an organization of which the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (CEPESCA) is a part, celebrates the announcement made by Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission and candidate to repeat her mandate, to appoint a commissioner only fishing. In the opinion of the sector, this approach is the only way for Europe to reestablish the balance between the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of natural resources and food security, key factors for the sustainable development of fishing activity, and that the The current model, which unifies the management of the environment, oceans and fisheries under the same portfolio, has not succeeded.

Source: Europeche

Europêche also points out the importance of placing fishermen at the center of EU policy-making in the new Commissioner's mandate, and calls for primary food production and food sovereignty to be elevated on the Commission's agenda. and have its own executive vice presidency.

In recent years, the employers' association points out, fishermen have faced successive crises derived from Brexit, COVID-19 or the war in Ukraine, which has caused the growth of fuel prices and operating costs, to which challenges are added. such as climate change, the decarbonization of the fleet or the problem of generational change. Furthermore, in her opinion, the fleet has had to deal with excessive regulations, closures of fishing areas and unjustified bans proposed by the Commission. As a result, the size of the EU fleet has decreased by 28% in the last 20 years, and the community's capacity for self-sufficiency in fishery products has decreased significantly since 2018, which contrasts with the support with tax exemptions for imports of third countries that, in many cases, do not meet the sustainability standards required of EU fishermen.

According to Javier Garat, president of Europêche, “fishermen provide one of the healthiest animal proteins with the lowest carbon footprint in its production and we contribute to meeting the growing global demand for food. In this sense, fishing is a strategic sector and one of the few exclusive powers of the EU, which is why it must prioritize its support for this activity and thus encourage the attraction of new talent that sustains rural coastal community areas. In this context, we appreciate von der Leyen's political commitment.”

"A Fisheries Commissioner is essential," adds Garat, "but it is equally important to place food production and food sovereignty in a prominent place in the structure of the Commission at the Vice-Presidency level, even more so in a political agenda that prioritizes reduction of third country dependencies".

Finally, according to Europêche, the EU should focus on developing balanced legislation and financial instruments that firmly support the fishing sector in its transition towards carbon neutrality. To that end, in light of the ongoing evaluation of the Common Fisheries Policy, the new Commission should carry out a comprehensive impact assessment of all fisheries policies arising from the Green Deal at the beginning of the next mandate. In this sense, Garat concludes by pointing out that "although the control and reporting of fishing activities are necessary, the excessive administrative burden generated should be reduced and simplified. Ambitious objectives must be achieved through technological innovations, not through prohibitions."

Source: Cepesca (Translated from the original in Spanish)

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www.seafood.media


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