We, the undersigned organisations, representing artisanal coastal and inland fishworkers, development and environmental NGOs and other stakeholders, share a common interest in placing European fisheries on a sustainable footing by supporting the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in ways which ensure the recovery of fish stocks and habitats, the promotion of best practice, a just allocation of fishing access based on social and environmental criteria, and an equitable distribution of the benefits derived from these activities.

New fisheries policies that reward best practices with preferential access to fish resources, and target capacity reduction programmes so as to eliminate the most harmful fishing methods would go a long way to placing European fisheries on a more sustainable footing.

This was recognized in the European Parliament resolution on the Green Paper adopted in February 2010. The resolution highlighted that, although local fishing communities should be given primary access to fish stocks, access rights should no longer be based solely on the criterion of historical catches. Rather, environmental and social criteria should gradually be introduced to determine who should have access to fishery resources, where the use of such criteria could foster a dynamic that would lead to improved fishing practices and a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable fishing industry1.

A significant proportion of the European fleet is small in scale and fishes in a non-intensive manner, using a range of seasonally diverse fishing methods on a range of species, with a relatively low impact on the ecosystem. This artisanal segment of the coastal and inland fisheries generates considerable ancillary jobs and provides the social, economic and cultural fabric that sustains many communities, where it makes an important contribution to food supplies and political, social and economic stability. This has been highlighted in the 2009 Statement from the Brussels Workshop on Common Fisheries Policy Reform in the European Union and Small-Scale Fisheries2  and in the 2010 A Coruña Statement3 , amongst others. However, the qualitative aspects of different fishing gears and practices have been largely overlooked by the Commission in its reform package.

Coastal artisanal fishers are likely to be marginalised under the compulsory regime of Transferable Fishing Concessions as proposed by the Commission. Such a regime will favour the most economically powerful enterprises rather than the most sustainable fishery activities. However, if treated fairly, managed responsibly and given well defined fishing access, these kinds of fishery activities have the potential to deliver healthy fisheries and sustainable livelihoods over the long-term.

European Commission projections show employment in the fish catching sector is set to decline by 60% over the next 10 years, with the heaviest losses falling on the artisanal sector, which employs around 65% of the fisheries workforce.

We therefore call on the Members of the European Parliament, the Member States of the EU, and the Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs to turn the tide by:

  • Providing priority access to fish resources to those who fish in the most environmentally and socially sustainable way. Sustainability criteria should rank access to resources, favouring those who have the least impact on the marine environment, who can demonstrate compliance and who operate within and contribute to local communities;
  • Revoking the compulsory nature of the proposed Transferable Fishing Concessions (TFCs) scheme and providing a range of tools to be selected and adapted to enable the allocation of access to fishing opportunities based on sustainability criteria;
  • Including firm timelines for the development and adoption of multiannual plans that apply the appropriate measures through genuine bottom-up, participative co-management processes, through co-management committees, and giving due weight to sustainable development while ensuring the involvement and collaboration of all segments in the sector and stakeholders; and
  • Establishing and applying clear conditions and protocols to avoid conflicts between different users targeting shared stocks or common fishing grounds.

Signed by:

1. 40+ Fishing Boat Association
2. 5 Terre Academy
3. Acció Natura
4. African artisanal fishing organisations confederation (CAOPA)
5. Amigos de la Tierra España
6. An Taisce
7. Archipelagos, Institute of Marine Conservation
8. Asociació de Naturalitstes de Girona (ANG)
9. Asociacion de Armadores de Artes Menores de Catalunya (ADAMEC)
10. Asociación de Defensa Medioambiental Salvemos Monteferro
11. Asociación para la Investigación del Mar (AIMARES)
12. Associació Catalana d´Oceanògrafes i Oceanògrafs (ACOIO)
13. Association des Ligneurs de la Pointe de Bretagne
14. Associazione Locale-Globale
15. Ateneu Juvenil, Cultural i Naturalista de Girona
16. Baltic Environmental Forum
17. Baltic Wolf
18. BirdLife Europe
19. Birdwatch Ireland
20. BLOOM association
21. Blue Ventures
22. Bridport Commercial Boatowners and Fishermen’s Association
23. Cadgwith and Helford Fishermen’s Association
24. Cardigan Bay Fishermen’s Association
25. Centre d’Etude, de Recherche-Action et d’Appuis pour le Développement (CERAD)
26. Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB)
27. Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements (CFFA)
28. Coastwatch Europe
29. Cofradía de Pescadores de Cedeira
30. Cofradía de pescadores de l’Estartit
31. Collectif Bar Européen
32. Comité Local des Pêches Maritimes et des Élevages Marins du Var
33. Community Atgaja
34. Community of Arran Seabed Trust Limited
35. Confraria de Pescadors de Sitges
36. Cooperativa Porto de Abrigo
37. Coral Cay Conservation
38. Cornish Handliners Association
39. Danish Society for a Living Sea
40. Danmarks Naturfredningsforening
41. Deepwave
42. DEPANA – Lliga per a la Defensa del Patrimoni Natural
43. Deutsche Umwelthilfe
44. Dingle Oceanworld
45. Donegal Small Islands Fishermen
46. Eastbourne Fisherman’s Protection Society
47. Ecologistas en Acción
48. Eko-Unia
49. Enalia Physis – Environmental Research Centre
50. Environmental Centre for Administration and Technology
51. Environmental Information Center
52. EuroNatur
53. Fair Oceans
54. Federación Galega de Cofradías de Pescadores
55. Finnish Association for Nature Conservation
56. Fish Fight
57. Fishermens Federation for Small-scale fishery in Sweden (SYEF)
58. Fishing For Jobs
59. Fondazione Cetacea
60. Fundació ENT
61. Fundació Mar
62. Fundación Lonxanet para la Pesca Sostenible
63. Fundacja Sprzatanie Świata – Polska
64. Galway Atlantaquaria
65. Gent del Ter
66. Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine
67. Global Water Partnership
68. Goede Vissers
69. Greenhouse Malta
70. GreenLife
71. Greenpeace
72. Grupo de Estudos de Ordenamento do Territorio e Ambiente GEOTA
73. Hastings Fishermen’s Protection Society
74. Iberian Biodiversity
75. Institut de Medi Ambient de la Unversitat de Girona (IMA – UdG)
76. Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Medio Ambiente (IIDMA)
77. International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)
78. Irish Bass
79. Irish Seal Sanctuary
80. Irish Wildlife Trust
81. Irukandji Aquatik Films
82. Kenna EcoDiving
83. Klub Gaja
84. Latvian Anglers Association
85. Liffeysound Radio
86. Lighthouse Foundation
87. Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux
88. Lithuania Association
89. Lithuanian Entomological Society
90. Lithuanian Fund for Nature
91. Lithuanian Ornithological Society
92. M.E.E.R.
93. Marefondum
94. Marevivo
95. Marine Conservation Society
96. Marine Network of Friends of the Earth, England Wales and Northern Ireland – MARINET
97. Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (Medasset)
98. Mediterranean Platform of Artisanal Fishers
99. Mediterrània-CIE
100. Mudeford and District Fishermen’s Association
101. National Association of Small Boat Owners of Iceland
102. National Sea Life Centre Bray
103. Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU)
104. Nature Trust (Malta)
105. Natuurpunt
106. Nederlandse Elasmobranchen Vereniging
107. NEREO
108. Netherlands Inland Fishers Association
109. New Economics Foundation
110. New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association
111. Noé Conservation
112. North West Traditional Fishermen
113. Observatori de deute en la Globalització
114. OCEAN2012
115. Oceana
116. OceanCare Switzerland
117. Oceanográfica: Divulgación, Educación y Ciencia
119. Orford and District Inshore Fishermen’s Association
120. Our Earth Foundation
121. People Uniting and Generating Aid for Development (PUGAD)
122. Pew Environment Group
123. Plataforma rural – Alianzas por un mundo rural vivo
124. Polish Ecological Club
125. Poole & District Fishermen’s Association
126. Pro Wildlife e.V.
127. Professional Fisheries Association of Fourni Korseon “O Glaros”
128. Prud’homie de Pêche de La Seyne-sur-Mer
129. Prud’homie de pêche de Sanary
130. Quercus (Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza)
131. Red de Semillas “Resembrando e Intercambiando”
132. Rede de colectivos Foro Social de Cangas
133. Reef Check
134. Scottish Creelers and Divers
135. Sea First Foundation
136. Seas At Risk
137. Share the World’s Resources
138. Shark Trust
139. Sharklab
140. Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity
141. Societat Catalana d’Educació Ambiental
142. Society for the Conservation of Marine Mammals (GSM)
143. SOS Grand Bleu
144. South Coast Fisherman’s Council
145. Stichting de Noordzee
146. Submarinistas en Acción
147. Sustainable Development Initiatives (DVI)
148. Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust
149. Swale Fisherman`s Association
150. Swanage Fishermen’s Association
151. Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)
152. Tethys Research Institute
153. The Fisheries Secretariat
154. The Gowienica Rivers Association
155. Union Intersyndicale des Petits Métiers de Pêche de Méditerranée (UIPMPM)
156. Verdegaia
157. Veterinaris Sense Fronteres (VsF)
158. VinVis / AKTEA
159. WWF Mediterranean Programme Office
160. Xarxa de Custòdia del Territori