(Reposted from cfoodUW.com) The ‘Brexit’ vote to leave the European Union (EU) represents an unprecedented step-change in EU and United Kingdom (UK) politics. In the fisheries sphere, what came as a blow for many, especially those who worked to secure environmental gains from the last reform round of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), was seen as a big victory by others: particularly fishermen, many of whom view Brexit as an opportunity to take back control of their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), to catch and land more fish within Britain, and to help shape a new political framework specifically tailored to the UK for effective management of the marine resource.
Whatever side of the fence you sit on, one thing is certain: the UK is a big player in EU fisheries. Politically, the UK is a top voting power in the European Parliament, with a strong reputation for pushing through ambitious environmental policies. Economically, the UK boasts the largest processing sector in the EU and has the third largest fleet in terms of catching power. The UK will continue to be a substantial fishing power post-Brexit, so it is important that countries come together to ensure that policies and practices are coherently designed to work for fish and fishermen, regardless of the political situation. Read More
Market Trip, Port en Bessin. Photo: Dimitri Rogoff
Since 2012, when the increasingly hostile clash between French and UK Channel scallop fishermen made headlines; industry leaders, national administrations and a host of other stakeholders have worked to resolve the conflict and achieve positive change to protect the viability of this economically and culturally important fishery. The work of the GAP2 Project, an EU funded initiative, has been a vital force in the progress achieved so far in alleviating historic tensions and moving towards a more conciliatory approach.
In a previous post outlining the successes and challenges of the first GAP2 Channel scallop workshop in Brixham, England I spoke of the importance of bringing industry and others together to engage in participatory and collaborative dialogue on achieving greater profitability and sustainability for this valuable fishery. I also emphasised the need for a follow up workshop focused on putting dialogue into action and mapping out next steps to develop a regional management plan. Read More
This is a pivotal time for Scottish fisheries. With the challenges of implementing the European Union’s ambitious Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) coupled with the recent Scottish Government consultation with fishermen and other stakeholders on the future of Scottish quota management, collaboration is essential. This government consultation is an opportunity for change and for fishermen, industry representatives and others to make their views heard. Creating solidarity around key principles is a great way to do this – and it’s even better if those views can be represented across the fleet. The Scottish Whitefish Producer’s Association (SWFPA) recognise this and hosted a workshop in Peterhead, Scotland on October 1 to help jumpstart the conversation about the future of quota management in Scotland.
EDF’s EU oceans team was invited to help facilitate and arranged for representatives from fisheries in Denmark, the United States and Canada to share their knowledge about what it means to go through a system of change. What all of these experiences have a common is that fishermen and fishing representatives must be at the heart of any process towards change. Creating platforms for working collaboratively and exchanging ideas and values can be a great way to carve through the complexity of government proposals while at the same time giving individuals an opportunity to think about what is really important to them. The workshop in Peterhead did just that. Read More
Photo: Matt Watson, MSC
Dialogue is often the first step towards change, and is a sign of willingness to cooperate. And there was plenty of it at the Scallop Management Workshop held recently in Brixham, England. The event was organised by WWF and EDF in collaboration with GAP2, a research project funded by the European Commission. The forum provided an inclusive setting to engage industry on design and management of their fishery and to identify opportunities to strengthen the existing management framework.
For the first time, industry participants from both sides of the French/English Channel were in the same room discussing what changes are necessary to achieve greater sustainability for the shared scallop fishery. More than 60 people took time off the water and from their jobs to tackle the management challenge head on. Appreciating differing perspectives was a central component of the gathering’s success. It requires a good deal of patience and frankly, courage, when addressing issues of such cultural and economic importance. Read More
Fishing Boats in Kos Island, Greece. Photo Credit: Britt Groosman
After years of deliberation, the European Union has finalized proposals to reform the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the EU’s framework for fisheries management. The new policy promises a better future for both fishermen and fish by providing a comprehensive management system designed to restore healthy marine environments while supporting profitable fisheries and thriving coastal communities. The new CFP, which will enter into force in January 2014, calls for Member States to take steps that will ultimately eliminate the wasteful practice of discarding fish at sea. It also requires fishing at sustainable levels by achieving Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), and supports a regionalized approach through decentralized decision-making.
Funding transformative change:
These are ambitious requirements that must be adequately funded in order to achieve the policy objectives outlined by the new agreement. The CFP’s funding instrument – the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) – will provide resources to help fishermen in the transition to sustainable fishing; supporting coastal communities in diversifying their economies; financing projects that create new jobs; and making it easier for fishermen to access adequate financing. The EMFF is being reformed simultaneously with the CFP and in late October the European Parliament voted in plenary on proposed amendments. Overall, the results are positive and outcomes – such as the refusal to subsidize the construction of new vessels and increases in funding for data collection and control of illegal fishing – gives hope that the EMFF will ultimately complement the new CFP and make true transformation possible. Read More
The EU Parliament will vote in plenary this fall on the EMFF. Photo Credit: Europa.eu
Given scarce resources in the EU and UK, it’s especially important that fishing privileges are allocated in a way that best serves national sustainability interests—and now is the time to invest. This month, the European Council approved proposals to reform the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the EU’s framework for fisheries management. The new policy calls for Member States to end discarding and restore fisheries to sustainable levels. It mandates implementation of systems for allocation of fishing opportunities that are transparent and objective, and that take into consideration environmental and social criteria, as well as historical catch rates.
Regrettably, the fisheries policy reforms to the CFP lack the funds necessary to achieve its objectives. Shortly after the policy puzzle pieces fell into place, Parliament’s Fisheries Committee took up the accompanying funding legislation – the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) –and shot itself in the foot. Unlike the Council of Ministers, the Parliament’s Committee voted not to provide member states, and potentially other stakeholders such as Producer Organizations, with financial support for designing, monitoring and engaging stakeholders in the process of developing fair and transparent allocation schemes. Instead, the Committee voted to re-institute boat-buying and engine-modernizing subsidies, which undermines sustainability by prodding fishermen to increase their fishing capacity. Read More