Monday, 10 October 2011

Scale Matters: Quality Counts. Securing sustainability through the CFP Reform

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 industry. (1)

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 Fisheries (2) and in the 2010 La Coruña Statement (3), 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.

40+ Fishing Boat Association

5 Terre Academy

Acció Natura

African artisanal fishing organisations confederation (CAOPA)

An Taisce


Asociació de Naturalitstes de Girona (ANG)

Asociacion de Armadores de Artes Menores de Catalunya (ADAMEC)

Asociación de Defensa Medioambiental Salvemos Monteferro

Asociación para la Investigación del Mar (AIMARES)

Associació Catalana d´Oceanògrafes i Oceanògrafs (ACOIO)

Association des Ligneurs de la Pointe de Bretagne

Associazione Locale-Globale

Ateneu Juvenil, Cultural i Naturalista de Girona

Baltic Environmental Forum

Baltic Wolf

BirdLife Europe

Birdwatch Ireland

BLOOM association

Blue Ventures

Bridport Commercial Boatowners and Fishermen's Association

Cadgwith and Helford Fishermen's Association

Cardigan Bay Fishermen's Association

Centre d’Etude, de Recherche-Action et d’Appuis pour le Développement (CERAD)

Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB)

Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements (CFFA)

Coastwatch Europe

Cofradía de Pescadores de Cedeira

Cofradía de pescadores de l'Estartit

Collectif Bar Européen

Comité Local des Pêches Maritimes et des Élevages Marins du Var

Community Atgaja

Community of Arran Seabed Trust Limited

Confraria de Pescadors de Sitges

Cooperativa Porto de Abrigo

Coral Cay Conservation

Cornish Handliners Association

Danish Society for a Living Sea

Danmarks Naturfredningsforening


DEPANA - Lliga per a la Defensa del Patrimoni Natural

Deutsche Umwelthilfe

Dingle Oceanworld

Donegal Small Islands Fishermen

Eastbourne Fisherman’s Protection Society

Ecologistas en Acción


Environmental Centre for Administration and Technology

Environmental Information Center


Fair Oceans

Federación Galega de Cofradías de Pescadores

Finnish Association for Nature Conservation

Fish Fight

Fishermens Federation for Small-scale fishery in Sweden (SYEF)

Fishing For Jobs

Fondazione Cetacea

Fundació ENT

Fundació Mar

Fundación Lonxanet para la Pesca Sostenible

Fundacja Sprzatanie Świata - Polska

Galway Atlantaquaria

Gent del Ter

Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine

Global Water Partnership

Goede Vissers

Greenhouse Malta



Hastings Fishermen's Protection Society

Iberian Biodiversity

Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Medio Ambiente (IIDMA)

International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)

Irish Bass

Irish Seal Sanctuary

Irish Wildlife Trust

Irukandji Aquatik Films

Kenna EcoDiving

Klub Gaja

Latvian Anglers Association

Liffeysound Radio

Lighthouse Foundation

Lithuania Association

Lithuanian Entomological Society

Lithuanian Fund for Nature

Lithuanian Ornithological Society




Marine Conservation Society

Marine Network of Friends of the Earth, England Wales and Northern Ireland - MARINET

Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (Medasset)

Mediterranean Platform of Artisanal Fishers


Mudeford and District Fishermen's Association

National Association of Small Boat Owners of Iceland

National Sea Life Centre Bray

Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU)

Nature Trust (Malta)

Nederlandse Elasmobranchen Vereniging


Netherlands Inland Fishers Association

New Economics Foundation

New Under Ten Fishermen's Association

Noé Conservation

North West Traditional Fishermen

O Glaros

Observatori de deute en la Globalització



OceanCare Switzerland

Oceanográfica: Divulgación, Educación y Ciencia

Orford and District Inshore Fishermen’s Association

Our Earth Foundation

People Uniting and Generating Aid for Development (PUGAD)

Pew Environment Group

Polish Ecological Club

Poole & District Fishermen's Association

Pro Wildlife e.V.

Prud’homie de Pêche de La Seyne-sur-Mer

Prud'homie de pêche de Sanary

Rede de colectivos Foro Social de Cangas

Reef Check

Scottish Creelers and Divers

Sea First Foundation

Seas At Risk

Share the World's Resources

Shark Trust


Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity

Societat Catalana d’Educació Ambiental

Society for the Conservation of Marine Mammals (GSM)

South Coast Fisherman's Council

Stichting de Noordzee

Submarinistas en Acción

Sustainable Development Initiatives (DVI)

Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust

Swale Fisherman`s Association

Swanage Fishermen's Association

Swedish Professional Fishermen's Association (SYEF)

Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)

Tethys Research Institute

The Fisheries Secretariat

The Gowienica Rivers Association

Union Intersyndicale des Petits Métiers de Pêche de Méditerranée (UIPMPM)


Veterinaris Sense Fronteres (VsF)

VinVis / AKTEA

WWF Mediterranean Programme Office

(1) European Parliament report and resolution on the Green Paper on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (2009/2106(INI)), Paragraph 40

(2) Statement from the Brussels Workshop on Common Fisheries Policy Reform in the European Union and Small-Scale Fisheries: Paving the way to sustainable livelihoods and thriving fishing communities (pdf)

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