160 groups from 17 EU member states have signed the declaration ahead of a European Parliament hearing on October 11th on how the proposed CFP reform will affect artisanal fishers. The majority of EU fishers are coastal and artisanal and often work in a less intensive manner, using a range of seasonally diverse fishing methods with a relatively low impact on the marine environment while contributing to the coastal and regional economy.

The new CFP must stop overfishing and reward those who fish in more environmentally and socially responsible ways with preferential access to fish resources,” said Anastasia Miliou, Hydrobiologist & Head Scientist of Archipelagos, IMC. “Despite artisanal fishers binding the social, economic and cultural fabric of coastal communities, they have been overlooked in the Commission’s drive for a reformed CFP which looks at quantity, but not at quality.”
The declaration calls on MEPs to deliver a CFP which:

  1. Provides priority access to fish resources to those who fish in the most environmentally and socially sustainable way as articulated in the European Parliament’s report in response to the Green Paper on the reform of the CFP;
  2. Does not impose Transferable Fishing Concessions on Member States but instead provides a range of tools for the management of access to fishing opportunities;
  3. Includes concrete timelines for the development and adoption of multi-annual plans; and
  4. Establishes clear protocols to avoid conflicts between different users targeting shared stocks or common fishing grounds.

The European Commission predicts 60 percent of jobs in EU fisheries will be lost over the next ten years,” said Anastasia Miliou. “And, unless something changes, most of these will be in artisanal sector. We have come to Brussels to have our voice heard and to tell decision-makers that they can choose a CFP that delivers social and environmentally sustainable fisheries, if they listen to us.”

OCEAN2012 was initiated, and is co-ordinated, by the Pew Environment Group, the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organisation working to end overfishing in the world´s oceans.

The steering group of OCEAN2012 consists of the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements, Ecologistas en Acción, The Fisheries Secretariat, nef (new economics foundation), the Pew Environment Group and Seas At Risk.