Today, the Fisheries Council has reached an agreement on the fishing opportunities in the Atlantic, North Sea, the Mediterranean and Black Sea for 2021, and for deep-sea stocks for 2021 and 2022. The catch limits are set in the background of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the COVID-19, for which this and next year will be one of the most difficult periods for EU fishers. Despite the Council’s efforts to mitigate the predominantly austere proposal from the European Commission, the fishing industry is still left with several quota reductions and restrictive measures adopted concerning key species for the livelihoods of many fishermen and women in the sector.
Yesterday, the European Parliament Committee on Fisheries adopted its position on the European Commission proposal establishing a new multiannual management plan of demersal fisheries in the Western Mediterranean that affects the fleets, mainly trawlers, from Italy, France and Spain. Europêche welcomes the positive step forward towards the final adoption of this legislative proposal which, in the context of regionalisation, will provide more stability and bring decision-making closer to fishermen and coastal communities. While welcoming the general results of yesterday’s vote, there are two main issues that still trouble the European fishing industry: the introduction of a severe trawl restriction and the harsh reduction of the activity at sea from the first year of implementation of the new rules. These measures can undermine the efforts made so far and the viability of the Mediterranean fleets, who have already suffered a considerable decline in the number of fishing vessels and jobs
The European fishing industry represented by Europêche opposes the inclusion of shortfin mako shark in Appendix II of CITES which would severely curtail the international trade of the species. Particularly, the sector rejects the EU initiative to co-sign a Mexican proposal for this purpose. Europêche believes that this initiative lacks both scientific and legal basis in light of the strong regulatory framework within the context of Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and other Regional Agreements, the biological characteristics of the species as well as the absence of illegal trade related to these stocks. Consequently, the species is sufficiently protected and regulated so as to ensure its sustainable exploitation and legal trade.