Press Releases 2017
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) presented today at the European Parliament a special report called "EU fisheries controls: more efforts needed". The report examined the effectiveness of the current EU fisheries Control Regulation by auditing the control system implemented in four key Member States (Spain, France, Italy and the UK (Scotland)). The ECA concluded that the EU does not yet have a sufficiently effective system of fisheries controls to support the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Europêche, while recognising that there are areas for improvement, considers that the report does not reflect the significant progress made on fisheries control and monitoring over the last years nor represents the actual situation in the whole European Union.
The Council of the EU and the European Parliament have reached a political agreement on a new legislative framework for the sustainable management of the external fishing fleets. The new regime sets out strict, transparent and harmonised rules for issuing and managing fishing authorisations to EU vessels fishing outside Community waters and to foreign vessels operating in EU waters. While Europêche agreed on the need to modernise the system, the fishing body urged the deletion of certain provisions which were threatening the survival of responsible fishing companies. In this sense, the fishing association celebrates that their call to eliminate the infamous “double penalty system” from the text of the Regulation was finally endorsed by the co-legislators.
On 26th April, the European Union and the Republic of Mauritius signed a new Protocol to implement the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement in place, setting the legal conditions to allow EU tuna fishing vessels to fish in Mauritius waters for the next 4 years. While the EU fishing sector broadly welcomes this agreement, it regrets the missed opportunity to strengthen sustainable fisheries and ocean governance in the Indian Ocean by linking this and other fisheries agreements to regional management policies and negotiations.
On Wednesday 10 May the European social partners* on sea-fisheries signed a resolution inviting the European Union (EU) to take up its responsibility and end forced labour practices in EU waters. Investigations executed by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) revealed serious infringements of fundamental principles at work and social protection rights of migrant fishers in a part of the EU’s fishing sector. The social partners expect the EU to ensure fulfilment by Member States of their obligations and to adopt guidelines for flag state and port state inspections to prevent such practices.
Europêche, the representative body for fishermen and fishing vessel owners in the EU, had the privileged to receive Mr Karmenu Vella (Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) and Dr Andreina Fenech (Director General, Ministry for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change) as guests of honour at Europêche’s General Assembly held at Koperattivi Malta headquarters. Both the Commissioner and the Director General coincided in valuing optimistically the positive trend in European fisheries and listened to the industry’s concerns regarding current developments on fisheries policies, particularly the landings obligation. All parties showed a strong commitment to reverse the situation in the Mediterranean by adhering to the ambitious targets set in the Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration.
A recent report published by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Seas at Risk criticises fishing industry representatives for having accessed the press room of the EU Council building during past year’s negotiations on fishing opportunities (or total allowable catches – TACs and Quota) and accuses the Fisheries Ministers of adopting the level of TACs above the scientific advice due to the influence of the fishing lobby.
The European Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) has recently published its annual report on the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) as regards the progress on the situation of the fish stocks and exploitation levels. Decades of self-sacrifice is returning our fisheries to greatness, since the report clearly shows that stocks status is significantly improving. It also reflects an overall downward trend in the fishing pressure. However, additional efforts are still needed, particularly in the Mediterranean.
Since 2013, EU vessels have been authorised to fish for snow crab in the Barents Sea and Svalbard waters. Even though these vessels carry a valid fishing license, a few were arrested by the Norwegian authorities, who refuse to recognise the legitimate right of EU vessels to sustainably and legally operate in this area. To date, 19 large boats from several EU countries remain tied up in port out of fear of being arrested. A recent Norwegian court ruling has declared Norwegian restrictions illegitimate and contrary to the international obligations undertaken by Norway.
Yesterday, 28 February 2017, during a seminar organised by the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) in the framework of the European Shipping Week, Thierry Coquil, Director for Maritime Affairs in the French administration, delivered a message of the French Secretary of State for Transport Alain Vidalies, which also included concerns on fisheries.
Today, the European Parliament (EP), in its plenary session in Brussels, voted in favour of the new proposal for a regulation on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets (COM(2015)636). The whole EU fishing industry is deeply concerned with one of the articles adopted since it could put out of business environmentally and socially responsible fishing companies which may commit one single mistake.
Press Releases 2016
Europêche, the representative body of the EU fishing sector has expressed its frustration at the decision taken by the College of Commissioners recognising that, following a “fitness check”, the European Birds and Habitats Directives remain relevant and fit for purpose. Therefore, on the basis of this decision, these Directives will not be reviewed. The European Commission (EC) will however develop an Action Plan to correct the deficiencies encountered in the implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives.
At its General Assembly held this week, Europêche confirmed the mandate of its President, Javier Garat, for another two years. Mr. Garat is Secretary General of CEPESCA, the Spanish Fishing Confederation.
In the early hours, after two-day intensive negotiations, the Fisheries Council has reached an agreement over the fishing opportunities for 2017 based on the objective of achieving maximum sustainable yields (MSYs) by 2017 where possible, and by 2020 at the latest, while taking into consideration duly justified socio-economic factors.
In advance of the December Fisheries Council 2016, EAPO and Europêche have sent a joint position paper with general observations and relevant recommendations for about 25 stocks to the Council Members. As such the fishing industry is calling on the Council of Fisheries Ministers not to take the time table towards Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) as a dogma, but to apply a pragmatic and common sense approach to reaching the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) objectives.
At the Plenary session held on 4th November 2016, the EU Social Partners in the fisheries sector* had a positive meeting with Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, to discuss the many pressing issues facing the fishing sector; particularly concerning safety, health and working conditions at sea.
Today, the Council of the EU approved a Directive regulating working conditions in the fisheries sector, following a long-standing request from the EU Social Partners (the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), Europêche* and Cogeca).
The European fishing sector, represented by Europêche and EAPO, together with the Chairman of the Fisheries Committee, Alain Cadec Member of the European Parliament (MEP), co-hosted a triumphant Seafood Showcase reception yesterday evening in the European Parliament. The event, attended by MEPs, European Commission officials and stakeholders exhibited fisheries products from all across Europe detailing the sustainable way in which they were caught.
Demersal fishing in the Baltic Sea has been dealt a huge blow by the Council of Ministers on Monday night when they reached agreement on fishing opportunities for 2017 in the Baltic. The ministers ended up agreeing on a quota reduction of no less than 56% for cod in the Western Baltic Sea, while the quota for cod in the Eastern Baltic Sea was reduced by 25%.
Europêche, the representative body for European fishermen has hit back at the Commission's 2017 proposals for Baltic cod allocations, which sees a colossal decrease from last year's figures. The quota proposed for Western Baltic cod amounts to 1588 tons, down 88% from 2016 figures and a reduction of almost 40% for the Eastern stock.
Europêche, the representative body of the EU fishing sector and EAPO, the European body representing the producer organisations, have expressed their outrage at the decision taken by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to set an ambitious target with the aim of closing off 30% of all marine areas from extractive activities by 2030.
Europêche has welcomed the clear words from the scientific community and Commissioner Vella at today's seminar on ´the State of Fish Stocks´ organised by the European Commission. The Commissioner echoed the words of the scientists that in general, fishing mortality has reduced and stocks are growing, making it a more profitable industry for the fishermen. However, despite this good news, he reiterated that further efforts are needed when it comes to the Mediterranean.
According to Europeche the ban, agreed yesterday by Parliament, the Council and the European Commission is arbitrary and only responds to political interests and not to real environmental threats. The ban is included in the regulation of deep-sea fisheries agreed upon yesterday.
Today in the European Parliament, Europêche, the European body representing the fishing sector and EAPO, the European body representing the producer organisations, organised a meeting on the economic impact of the landing obligation, hosted by Member of the European Parliament, Peter Van Dalen.
Almost three years after submitting the Social Partners’ Agreement (SPA) on implementing the ILO* Work in Fishing Convention C188, the European Commission (EC) presented today, 29th April 2016, the agreement before the Council of the EU. The European Social Partners for Fisheries, Europêche, Cogeca and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF)**, have warmly welcomed this step but regret the considerable delay with implementing the SPA that ensures a high level of protection for fishermen in all aspects of their work. The Social Partners call upon all EU Member States to support the proposal for a Council Directive and urge them to ratify ILO Convention 188.
President of Europêche, Javier Garat, was key speaker at a public debate held at Europe's biggest industry event, the global Seafood EXPO in Brussels hosted by Commissioner Vella. During the debate, the Commissioner launched a 'Mediterranean Strategy' and a call for action to halt environmental degradation and the threat for many vulnerable fishing communities.
The European Social Partners for Fisheries, Europêche and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF)*, call on all EU Member States to urgently ratify the ILO** Convention that provides minimum standards to protect fishers in all aspects of their work. In a joint declaration signed on 14 April in The Hague, The Netherlands, the social partners also reminded the European Institutions about their responsibilities in this process. Social partners did welcome the readiness expressed by the Presidency of the Council of the EU to work on the relevant Social Partners’ Agreement (SPA), which has been signed in 2012 but not yet presented before the Council.
Europêche, the leading trade body representing the fishing industry in Europe, have called for equal treatment following the release of new oil and gas exploratory zones at a time when these very areas are threatened with closure to parts of the European fishing fleet.
Europêche, the leading trade body representing the fishing industry in Europe, have hit back at claims in an article published in the Guardian on Thursday 10th of March that states that a leaked European Commission plan concerning the Baltic Sea would open the gates to overfishing. The article claims that that cod in the Baltic may become extinct and that some fish stocks are in such a poor condition, that scientists are even unable to carry out a proper evaluation.
Members of Europêche today met with the Director General of DG MARE, Joao Aguiar Machado to express their concerns over the current negotiations regarding possible restrictions on bottom trawling in the deep sea which could see a ban from 800m introduced, even for already regulated areas in international waters.
A new paper led by Daniel Pauly has claimed that the global catch data, as reported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), is incorrect and it should in fact be lower, citing overfishing as the cause.
During a meeting held on 28 January in Sofia, Bulgaria, the European Social Partners in Fisheries*, the ETF and Europêche, promoted together with the ILO ** the swift ratification of the ILO Work in Fishing Convention C188. The event was also attended by high-level representatives of the Bulgarian Ministries of Labour, Transport and Agriculture, who share competence over the ratification of the Convention.
Today Europêche, the European body representing the fishing sector met with various NGOs in the European Parliament to discuss the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs) and how to improve tuna fisheries management. The meeting, hosted by Ulrike Rodust MEP and attended by Socialist and Democrat MEPs, allowed the tuna sector to convey its initiatives for better FAD management and explain how the sector is committed to a sustainable exploitation of the species.
Press Releases 2015
In the early hours, the Fisheries Council reached a long-awaited agreement over the fishing opportunities for 2016; just weeks before the latest and toughest phase of the discard ban comes into effect. It has been generally positive for many whitefish boats and the increases in quota on many stocks reflect a huge improvement in management measures and highlight the enormous sacrifices made by the sector.
At the Plenary meeting held on 30th November 2015 the employers’ representatives of Europêche and Cogeca and the workers’ organisation ETF met with the key players with the aim of improving social and working conditions for fishermen across Europe. Discussions took place to adequately address the problems faced by the EU fishing industry, owing to the lack of recognition of fishermen qualifications, poor safety and vocational training, high rate of accidents at sea, workplace health, IUU and migrant workers.
In the framework of a joint EU co-funded project, the European social partners in Fisheries , ETF and Europeche, organised a meeting in Madrid to prompt Spain to swiftly ratify the ILO Work in Fishing Convention C188. This landmark convention is applicable to all types of fishing vessels and seeks to provide minimum standards that protect fishers in all aspects of their work, in what is considered one of the most hazardous professions.
It is disappointing that your response fails to address the issues that we have raised. We drew attention to the startling divergence between the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) view and Pew's claims about fishing pressure and the state of the stocks off North Western Europe.
In March of this year Pew Charitable Trusts published a report Turning the Tide: Ending Overfishing in North Western Europe. That report contained a number of statements which are demonstrably untrue and contrary to scientific opinion.
The European Commission has today proposed recommendations on fishing opportunities for the Atlantic and the North Sea for 2016. The proposal sees the quota for 35 stocks unchanged or increased and 28 stocks reduced. This will also be the first time we will see quota uplift which aims to compensate fishermen for any extra fish they will have to land under the second phase of the landing obligation which will enter into force in January 2016. These so-called 'top-ups' will be proposed later this month. The proposal only includes figures for about half of the TACs since negotiations with third countries and RFMOs are still ongoing.
Ahead of the 24th Session of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) which will take place in Malta from the 10th until 17th November 2015, Europêche has revealed its proposals for the different species of tuna, swordfish and sharks. In its capacity as observer, Europêche will defend the following considerations in order to ensure the sustainability of both the fish populations and the European fishing industry.
EU Fisheries Ministers have finally agreed fishing opportunities for 2016 for the ten stocks in the Baltic Sea following talks in Luxembourg yesterday. The quotas were agreed in the framework of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy which aims to have all stocks fished at sustainable levels by 2020.
Figures released by the WWF show that marine populations have remained almost unchanged for almost 30 years. Despite years of bad news stories about the impending ‘death’ of the world’s oceans, the figures produced by the Zoological Society of London on behalf of the WWF, clearly show that over the last 30 years there has been little overall change in the populations of 5,829 populations of 1,234 species across the world. The decline in marine populations trumpeted by the WWF actually occurred during the period from 1970 – 1988, since then the WWF’s own graph* shows that they have remained stable.
Europêche and Chairman of the Fisheries Committee, Alain Cadec MEP, co-hosted their second triumphant Seafood Showcase reception yesterday evening. The event, attended by new DG MARE Director General Joao Aguiar Machado, was held in the European Parliament and exhibited fisheries products from all across Europe detailing the sustainable way in which they were caught.
The European Commission have just published their proposal for 2016 fishing opportunities for the 10 main commercial stocks in the Baltic Sea. For 7 of these stocks, scientific opinion has advised catch limits at MSY levels.
A recent investigation that infers the levels of bycatch in commercial deep water fisheries outweigh the benefits derived from those fisheries is bogus, according to Europeche, the European fishing industry representative body.
Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, was guest of honour at this week's Europêche General Assembly meeting which was chaired by the Europêche President, Javier Garat. For up to two hours, the Commissioner listened to the European concerns regarding current developments on fisheries policies, in the framework of the new Common Fisheries Policy.
Europêche has welcomed the clear words from the scientific community and General Director of DG MARE, Lowri Evans, at yesterday's seminar on ´the State of Fish Stocks´ organised by the European Commission.
The International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has just published its catch quota recommendations on the Bay of Biscay (including the Iberian Coast), Celtic Seas and the Greater North Sea for 2016. These figures, based on scientific stock assessments, show significant increases for key species for 2016 with many stocks having shown clear signs of recovery. The scientific data presented reflects a positive long term trend of increasing fish populations and a reduction of fishing mortality across many areas. This clearly indicates that long-term management plans and consequent management over the years have been successful.
The reformed Common Fisheries Policy (which came into force in January 2014) established a legal framework for EU vessels to fish outside European waters. Sustainable Fishing Partnership Agreements (SFPAs) allow EU fleets to fish in foreign waters in accordance with scientific advice for surplus stocks that would otherwise go uncaught while providing a raft of benefits to that country. The European Union fleet operating off the coast of Africa consists of around 400 vessels. This is less than one per cent of the EU fleet.
EU Social Partners in the Fisheries Sector, the European Boating Industry, MEP Sofia Ribeiro and the European Commission met to close the legal gaps existing in the fishing and boating industries with regard to recognition of certificates, free movement of workers and safety.
The EU tuna fishing industry has welcomed a major new policy designed to aid the continued improvement of the sustainability of fishing methods, agreeing to limit the number of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) that can be used by any one vessel.
Europeans believe the fishing industry has a vital role to play in feeding a growing world population but have accused Governments of failing to do enough to support the sector, according to a survey of consumers spanning the continent.
Europêche believes there are enough tuna loins originating from the Community fleet and from countries with duty free access to the EU. Europêche also maintain that there are various other species such as plaice, pangasius, Alaskan pollack and tilapia commonly used as substitutes also benefitting from tariff-free imports despite an improvement in stocks.
Appointment of new Managing Director signals fresh drive to communicate the modern face of the sector to the public and policymakers
Press Releases 2014
The Fisheries Council came to a political agreement over the fishing opportunities for 2015 for certain deep-sea stocks last night, the first time since the tough new rules of a discard ban and maximum sustainable yield (MSY) were decided under the reformed Common Fisheries Policy.
Europêche has released today a briefing statement declaring that the size of the fishing fleet is irrelevant when it comes to fish stocks and that to a high degree, small and large vessels are in fact interdependent.
Europêche has welcomed the clear words from the scientific community and General Director of DG MARE, Lowri Evans, at Friday's seminar on ´the State of Fish Stocks´ organised by the European Commission.
Europêche and Chairman of the Fisheries Committee, Alain Cadec MEP, co-hosted a triumphant Seafood Showcase Cocktail Reception yesterday evening. The jam-packed event, which was held in the European Parliament, displayed an abundant array of sustainably-caught produce and aimed to explain the journey from the ocean to the European Parliament.
At one of their recent meetings the workers’ organisation ETF1 and the employers’ representatives of Europêche2 and Cogeca3 have formally adopted a revised social clause to be included in SFAs with third countries, which refers to labour and standards of social protection and aims at ensuring decent working conditions for non-EU fishermen working on-board vessels operating through the SFAs.
Brussels: Europêche1, the association of national organisations of fishing enterprises in the EU, has appointed Kathryn Stack as Managing Director in order to boost the organisation’s support of sustainable fishing and promote the voice of the industry in wider EU decision making.
The European Commission has today published its annual consultation paper on the state of fish stocks and the preparation for setting fish quotas for 2015. This is the first fishing opportunities consultation paper since the reform of the CFP, whose new rules will cause upheaval for the sector and may involve changes to the total allowable catch.
On the 7th August, the Russian Federation issued a ban on imports from the EU on a range of seafood and agricultural products for a year, or at least until the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia are lifted.
The European Commission have just published their proposal for 2015 fishing opportunities for the main commercial stocks in the Baltic Sea, the first time since the tough new rules of a discard ban and maximum sustainable yield were decided.