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Press releases


Regional Fisheries Management Organizations: Fit for the future


On 1 June, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki will host a full day event to discuss on how Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) need to manage fisheries in the most efficient and sustainable way across the world's oceans.

Commissioner Maria Damanaki said: "Regional Fisheries Management Organizations play a key role for sustainable fisheries management worldwide. Dialogue and networking events such as the one I am hosting tomorrow are essential to move our sustainability agenda forward on the international stage."

Programme and webstreaming

This conference brings together, for the first time, representatives, chairs and executive secretaries from 15 RFMOs stretching from the North Atlantic to the South Antarctic and from the Indian Ocean to the West Pacific. The event aims to enhance dialogue amongst RFMOs and to exchange views with European fisheries managers and Members of the European Parliament on policies which will make RFMOs fit for the challenges of the future. Guest speaker Dr Jane Lubchenco, US Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, will explain how US fisheries policy initiatives relate to RFMO management.


EU/US cooperation against illegal fishing worldwide


Commissioner Maria Damanaki welcomed in Brussels her US counterpart, Dr Jane Lubchenco, US Under-Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

Joint statement by European Union Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki and United States Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmposphere Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D.

Read more and comment on Maria Damanaki's blog "Sustainability must not stop at borders"

Commissioner Damanaki and Dr Lubchenco took part in a European Parliament hearing on EU/US cooperation at the international level to promote sustainable fisheries management in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and other international fora. A key area of joint action is the fight against IUU (Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated) fishing where cooperation was enshrined in form of a joint statement signed by Commissioner Damanaki and Dr Lubchenco in the US in September last year. The event has also been an opportunity for Commissioner Damanaki to present her views on how sustainability can be achieved worldwide in the context of the Common Fisheries Policy reform. Dr Lubchenco gave her view in that respect and described accomplishments by US policy.

Commissioner Maria Damanaki and Dr Jane Lubchenco at the European Parliament hearing" Oceans and Seas: our common future " - Commissioner Damanaki's speech at the European Parliament hearing

European Parliament Remarks  by Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D. Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere & NOAA


European chefs demand urgent fisheries reform


Fish2Fork rallied European chefs and restarateurs who strive to provide sustainable seafood to their customers and for that support an urgent reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Commissioner Maria Damanaki welcomed the initiative: "We - the policy-makers - must seize the opportunity we have to reform the EU fisheries policy, if we don't want consumers and retailers and chefs turning away from fish, because we cannot ensure that what they find on the market is sustainable. We must realize that we run the risk to fail their trust, if we do not change our fisheries policy and if we don't do it now. The principles that European chefs call for are simple and they are the pillars of the proposal for a reformed Common Fisheries Policy that is now on the table: I very much hope that sustainability will remain the main aim of the reform also at the end of the negotiations between EU Ministers and the European Parliement".



Closure of this year's Spanish and French Bluefin Tuna purse seine fishery


The Bluefin Tuna purse seine season lasting from 16 May to 14 June came to an early end this year for France and Spain. The purse seine quota allocated to both countries was exhausted yesterday at 20:00 and both Member States have decided to call back their vessels to port. The Commission has closely cooperated with both Member states since the beginning of the fishing campaign and welcome their decision to act swiftly and rapidly.


Joint statement by European Union Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki and United States Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmposphere Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D.


As European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, we come together this week to advance our shared goals of healthy oceans and seafood, prosperous and sustainable fisheries, and economically vibrant coastal communities. To achieve these goals, we recognize the importance of putting into place policies and practices that favor long-term sustainability and prosperity.

We are here today to acknowledge the progress to date on rebuilding sustainable fisheries, promoting sustainable aquaculture, and combating pirate fishing (also called illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing).  We recognize the importance of strong international cooperation to achieve sustainable and legal fisheries on a global scale.


Commissioner Damanaki and German Minister Ilse Aigner
Commissioner Damanaki meets with German Minister Ilse Aigner to discuss the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy


Commissioner Maria Damanaki met Ilse Aigner, German Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, to discuss the key-elements of the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Damanaki said "I wish to thank Minister Aigner for being a staunch supporter of a thorough reform for a sustainable fisheries policy. I am grateful for that." And she added: "Germany has a clear approach in supporting the key elements of the reform, namely a cut-off date for MSY and cut-off dates for ending the wasteful practice of discards. This is crucial".


Commissioner Damanaki and German Minister Ilse Aigner at the EU fisheries Council in November 2011
Commissioner Damanaki to meet German Minister Ilse Aigner and Dr Jane Lubchenco, US under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere


Tuesday 29 May, Commissioner Maria Damanaki will meet Ilse Aigner, German Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, to discuss the key-elements of the reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

As from Wednesday 30 May, Ms Damanaki will welcome in Brussels Dr Jane Lubchenco, US under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Dr Lubchenco's visit, which will last until the end of the week, will provide the opportunity to strengthen the EU-US partnership on topical issues, such as the fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing at international level and the role of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.


Bluefin tuna: Commissioner Damanaki expects full compliance during 2012 fishing season


The European Commission is ready for the 2012 bluefin tuna fishing campaign. In close collaboration with the Member States concerned, all necessary measures are being taken to ensure that the EU fishing fleet fully respects the rules during the main fishing season. From 16 May to 14 June purse seiners are allowed to fish for bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and the Eastern Atlantic. Vessels from seven EU member states are active in the bluefin tuna fishery (Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus). Together with bluefin tuna fish traps, another important sector in the fishery, they account for 80% of the EU's quota.  The EU's overall quota is 5.756 tonnes for 2012 (the same as in 2011), compared to 7.087 in 2010. 


Commissioner Maria Damanaki

The Hellenic Community of Brussels brings a taste of Greece at the heart of the European Commission


The Hellenic Community of Brussels organises a presentation of Greek wines and grape varieties at the Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission. The event, under the patronnage of the Greek Commissioner Maria Damanaki, is sponsored by the Ministry of Rural Development and Food of Greece. This is part of a series of events for the promotion of Greek gastronomy, to offer to a wider European public a taste of the unique characteristics of Greek food and wines. By organising a popular event at the heart of the European Commission, the Hellenic Community, representing the Greek population in Brussels, aims at reasserting the European feeling and determination of Greeks to overcome the crisis and continue to take part in shaping the future of the EU.

Even if unable to attend personally the event, Commissioner Maria Damanaki welcomed the initiative:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues,

It is with great pleasure that I agreed to support with my patronage the event organized today by the Hellenic Community of Brussels. Let me first congratulate the organizers for their initiative. They not only highlight the quality and potential of Greek wine and grapes, but also, at this critical juncture, they bring us a very positive message of hope.


Twelve hours for Greece: a marathon-reading for solidarity


Commissioner Maria Damanaki will be among the hundreds of people reading a part of the Odysseus in the marathon-reading "12 Hours for Greece". "12 Hours for Greece" is an initiative of citizens of various nationalities living in Brussels, acting in their own name, wishing to address a sign of support and solidarity to the Greek people in times of crisis.

The funds gathered at the day will serve to finance a concrete project, Το Χαμόγελο του Παιδιού, The Smile of the Child, an association helping children in difficulty in Athens.

Follow "12 Hours for Greece" live

Where? Halles de Schaerbeek, Brussels
When? From 10:00 to midnight


Maritime affairs and fisheries

Maria Damanaki answers to children's "message in a bottle"


As part of the celebrations for the European Maritime Day in Gothenburg, the initiative " Message in a bottle " offered to a dozen children the opportunity to ask to Commissioner Maria Damanaki, to the Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek and to Anneli Hulthén, Mayor of Gothenburg, questions about the sea.

As promised, Commissioner Damanaki answers to "Won't we run out of fish if we catch too many?", "Is it possible to create a protected area for sea animals where they can't be hunted?" and the other questions she received

Won't we run out of fish if we catch too many?

Contrary to what people believed in the past, we now know that fish are a perfectly exhaustible natural resource. This means that there are only so many fish in our oceans. If we continue fishing in an uncontrolled way without giving them the time necessary to reproduce, there will surely come a time when our seas would be deserted.


Commissioner Damanaki discusses marine protected areas with Pierre-Yves Cousteau


Commissioner Maria Damanaki met with Pierre-Yves Cousteau, son of Jacques Cousteau, goodwill ambassador of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and founder of Cousteau Divers, on the promotion of marine protected areas in the Mediterranean and, in particular, in the Aegean Sea and the Cyclades.

At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Damanaki stated: "Marine protected areas can contribute fundamentally to the value of ecosystem services, such as the restoration of specific marine and coastal habitats in support of sustainable fish stocks, as well as to tourism. Their creation is to be encouraged and accompanied by appropriate planning, management and control measures. The new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will provide the opportunity to support the participation of fishermen in the management, restoration and monitoring of marine protected areas, as well as their participation in other actions aimed at maintaining and enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem services."


Maritime affairs

20 May: A European Maritime Day to celebrate our seas and oceans


The European Union celebrates European Maritime Day 2012 across events in Member States, on May 20, 2012. The main event is the European Maritime Day Conference, which this year will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 21-22 May, 2012, with almost 1,000 participants. Commissioner Maria Damanaki, joins Swedish ministers and other European personalities at the Conference. 

The theme for this year is: "Sustainable Growth from Oceans, Seas and Coasts: Blue Growth". 'Blue growth' is the economic pillar of the EU's Integrated Maritime Policy which is fully integrated into the Europe 2020 strategy. Its main target is the creation of growth and new jobs in the maritime economy. This target could be achieved through further sustainable development of maritime sectors of the European economy. Europe is the most developed maritime economy in comparison with all other continents. Thus, EU can harvest an important share of the potential of oceans, seas and coasts to the benefit of citizens and society as a whole.


Working conditions in fisheries: key agreement signed by social partners


Representatives of the European Union's employers and trade unions in the sea fisheries sector signed an agreement to ensure that fishermen have decent working conditions on board fishing vessels with regard to minimum requirements for conditions of service, accommodation and food, occupational safety and health protection, medical care, and social security. This agreement implements at EU level the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on "Work in the fishing sector".

Commissioner Maria Damanaki, who was present at the signing event, said: "This agreement is the key step to legally bind EU Member States to improving the working conditions for fishermen in Europe. It applies, in principle, to all fishing vessels and all fishermen, including multi-national crews. It obliges authorities to monitor whether the rules are complied with, and encourages coordination among relevant authorities. Making fishing safer and more attractive as a profession is one of the goals of the ongoing reform of the Common Fisheries Policy."


Challenges and opportunities of maritime and coastal tourism: public consultation launched today


Tourism is undoubtedly an economic backbone of coastal regions. At present about 2.36 million people are employed in the coastal tourism sector, representing 1.1% total EU employment. Cruise tourism alone represents a distinct segment generating direct turnover of € 14.5 billion and nearly 150,000 jobs. At the same time, this sector faces specific challenges, such as seasonality (dependency on the sun and beach tourism), lack of skilled professionals and of innovation culture and growing external competition. What actions can be envisaged to reap the full potential of a sustainable and smart coastal and maritime tourism?

At the joint initiative of Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and Vice-president Antonio Tajani, Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, a public consultation is launched today. The results will feed into a comprehensive overview of the recommendations and initiatives which could be sponsored and promoted at European level.

All stakeholders are invited to submit their comments and suggestions by 9 July 2012.

Challenges and Opportunities for Maritime and Coastal Tourism in the EU - Public Consultation

Read more and Comment on Maria Damanaki's blog "Maritime tourism: a European initiative for growth and jobs"


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