Fishing organizations reject new measures to reduce fishing effort in the Mediterranean by 2021

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Thursday, 05 November 2020 13:46

the National Federation of Fishermen's Guilds (FNCP) have expressed their rejection of the measures of the European Commission (EC) to reduce fishing effort by 15% in 2021 for community trawlers operating in the western Mediterranean, through a letter sent to the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius. In this document, also signed by Italian and French fisheries organizations and supported by the European employers' association Europêche, the fishermen warn of the serious consequences that these measures could have for the employment and supply of fish in already complex circumstances, due to the second wave of Covid-19.

In their letter, the organizations also recall the effort made by the trawl fleet to apply the measures of the Multi-annual Management Plan for demersal fisheries in the Western Mediterranean adopted by the EU in 2019, and which combines, in the case of our country, space-time closures and levels of reduction of fishing effort, in many cases greater than 20%.

Likewise, the sector points out that, before proposing new measures or even considering the possibility of reducing fishing effort, it is essential to evaluate the effects of the restrictions established by said plan on the evolution of the stocks, of which the fishermen recall, Other factors pointed out by scientists and the EC itself also impact, such as pollution, population pressure, climate change or invasive species.

In this sense, the signatory organizations request the EC to be sensitive and as flexible as possible in the application of the management plan, so that the consequences are not aggravated socioeconomic caused by this pandemic; They add flexibility that the EU has already contemplated, when agreeing that the levels of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) are progressively achieved in 2025, with the aim of avoiding the socio-economic damage of achieving it earlier.

According to Javier Garat, Secretary General of Cepesca, "we are aware of the need for sustainable management of resources in the western Mediterranean, hence we have complied scrupulously with temporary closures and reduction of fishing effort during the first year of application of the plan. However, in the exceptional circumstances we go through—Garat adds - our fishermen need more than ever to continue working to overcome the catastrophic socioeconomic consequences that this pandemic entails. Therefore, in this context, - Garat ends up saying - the establishment of additional reduction measures in 2021 will only contribute to undermine the profitability of the assembly companies and, quite possibly, to lead them to bankruptcy, with the consequent destruction of fleet and employment ”.

For his part, Basilio Otero, president of the FNCP, points out that “we understand the need for the recovery of the Mediterranean and, for this, the sector has made temporary closures, scrapped ships and taken measures. In a year complicated by the pandemic we are suffering, the sector has adapted to the demands of the reduction of the Mediterranean plan, but a further reduction in 2021, like the one intended, will lead to the closure and sale of numerous vessels with the consequent destruction of jobs, direct and indirect, having to understand, in addition, that in the Mediterranean vessels that do not meet European standards operate. Community institutions have to understand that no one wants to be more sustainable than the sector, because in that sustainability goes the bread of their families ”.

Source: FIS

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