"Transparent and accurate labelling and safeguarding wild resources from overexploitation go hand in hand", says Commissioner Damanaki
Commissioner Damanaki took part today in the public hearing on "Traceability of fish products in the EU market: rules of origin and labelling", organized by the Group of the European People's Party in the European Parliament.
Commissioner Damanaki's speech: "New Labelling Rules: Sustaining Consumer Confidence "
New traceability rules introduced in 2010 as part of the EU control and enforcement policy allow detecting infringements at any stage of the supply chain - “from net to plate”. This, coupled with technological advances that open up a broad spectrum of traceability tools makes it much easier to tell consumers where fish come from.
Commissioner Damanaki stated: "We are all entitled to reliable information about the food we buy for ourselves and our families. Traceability rules offer protection for rules-abiding European fishermen against unfair competition whether from outside or within the EU and guidance to consumers, who more and more demand to make informed choices." She added: "Transparent and accurate labelling and safeguarding wild resources from overexploitation go hand in hand: information and labelling are one of the essential aspects of the upcoming reform of the common fisheries policy and the revision of the Common Market Organisation will complement general existing foodstuff provisions and care for the peculiarities of the seafood products."
Today, the EU Ministers met in the framework of the Council, in Luxembourg to discuss the Commission's Communication on the Consultation on Fishing Opportunities for 2012, published on 25 May.
Commissioner Damanaki intervened to call for further efforts to reach Maximum Sustainable Yield and to point out that the exploitation of fisheries in data-poor circumstances is not responsible and we should no longer tolerate it as part of our policy.
The Communication sets out how the Commission intends to act on the scientific advice it receives about the state of fish stocks when proposing catch limits and quotas for the next year fish stocks. The document outlines the state of the stocks, and highlights the Commission's continued commitment to long-term plans management and to fishing management in accordance with scientific advice.
Two recent reports by the European Commission add further weight to calls for significant structural change within the EU fish catching sector and a far reaching reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Commissioner Damanaki stated "We need to bring EU fleets back to profitability and we must avoid keeping subsidizing overfishing, at a high cost to taxpayers. We need to reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, to provide sustainable solutions to turn this situation around and ensure a viable economic future for the EU fisheries sector. "
The 2010 Annual Economic Report on the EU fishing fleet shows a reduction in economic performance of the EU fishing sector in recent years. A second report, on Member States' fishing capacity, concludes that the size of the EU fishing fleet continues to decrease at a very slow pace, maintaining a situation of overcapacity in most of the fleet.
“No fish left on the plate” – Why a radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is needed – 22 June
Today, the 'Fish for the Future' group in the European Parliament organises a lunchtime presentation to explain the need for urgent reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. The Conference aims to raise awareness about the urgent need for a radical Common Fisheries Reform, ahead of the Commission's forthcoming proposal.
"The price of no reform [39 KB] " - speech by Commissioner Maria Damanaki
Ahead of the event, Commissioner Damanaki said: "Environmental, economic and social sustainability are equally important. All three are at serious risk if we do not take action. If we don’t turn the helm away from the present course, we will loose one fish stock after the other and only 9% of our stocks would be at sustainable levels by 2022. Moreover, many fleets would become unprofitable and we'd continue to face a steady need to subsidize the sector, perpetuating overcapacity - and hence overfishing. The worsening of conditions of fish stocks would lead to a further loss of jobs and communities that today depend on fishing would gradually and inevitably decline. We need to build consensus for a profound reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. Once it is adopted by the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council will need to maintain high the level of ambition, to meet the expectations of European citizens."
The European Union initialled yesterday evening (June 15) a new one-year protocol to the fisheries agreement with Guinea Bissau. This protocol maintains the conditions of the current one, i.e. fishing possibilities for 4,400 gross register tonnage (GRT) for shrimp trawlers, 4,400 GRT for fin-fish and cephalopod trawlers, 23 tuna seiners and longliners, and 14 pole-and-line vessels. The EU financial counterpart amounts to 4,550,000€ for the right to fish and 2,950,000€ for the support of the fisheries sector in Guinea Bissau.
A new clause was added to allow for the suspension of the protocol if there is a breach of human rights and democratic principles.
This fisheries agreement allows vessels mainly from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and France to fish in the Guinea-Bissau waters.
Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries decided to close the bluefin tuna fishery to Spanish purse seiners in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic on 9 June 2011 due to the exhaustion of their quotas. Spain was informed of this decision which is to become effective as of 17:00 today (Friday, 10th of June 2011).
"Due to the exhaustion of the Spanish quota, I had to close the Spanish bluefin tuna fishery. I worked closely with the Spanish authorities and am pleased to hear that Spain had, in the meantime confirmed its voluntary cessation of fishing authorisations and has called all its purse seiners back to port on the evening of the 9 June 2011", Commissioner Maria Damanaki said.
The bluefin tuna fishing season for large trawlers (purse seiners) in the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean started on 15 May and runs until 15 June. Vessels from seven EU member states are active in this fishery (Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus). The EU's overall quota is 5 756 tonnes for the 2011 season, reduced from 7 087 last year, of which over half is caught by the purse seiners fleet.
On the occasion of the World Oceans Day, on June 8, and during this whole week a number of events are organized to raise people's awareness about the need for reforming the European Common Fisheries Policy.
Today, Commissioner Maria Damanaki (here with Alannah Weston, Selfridges Creative Director, HRH Queen Noor of Jordan and UK Under-Secretary of State Richard Benyon MP) is in London, to present her ideas about her forthcoming proposal at the GLOBE World Oceans Day Forum, but a number of other events linked to the EU fisheries reform are organized all over Europe, in the framework of the European Fish Week (June 4-12), promoted by Ocean 2012. The theme of this year will be how our marine environment used to be healthier, how overfishing has changed this and how the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform is an opportunity to go "Back to the Future".
Commissioner Damanaki said: "This summer I am going to present an ambitious proposal for a new European Common Fisheries Policy. We need a radical reform for our fisheries to be really sustainable and we need Europeans to be aware of this necessity. Events like those organized for the World Oceans Day and the European Fish Week are paramount to inform our fellow citizens so that they can be active actors, driving the change towards a fair and sustainable EU fisheries policy".
"The future of the Common Fisheries Policy is now [38 KB] " - Introductory remarks at the GLOBE World Oceans Day Forum, London
Read more and comment on Commissioner Damanaki's blog: "World Oceans Day"
Dear Maritime stakeholders,
Thank you for joining us in Gdańsk for the Maritime Day Conference and Stakeholder Workshops. I think you will share my congratulations to our hosts, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Poland, the Office of the Marshal of the Pomorskie Voivodeship, and the City of Gdańsk. The venue was inspiring and the multitude of maritime events that took place all over the week-end testified to the vitality of Maritime Europe.
This year, we wanted to put people first. We showed how the Integrated Maritime Policy is benefiting Europe's maritime and coastal communities. But we also envisaged new concrete steps to generate growth and employment. The maritime economy can make a strong contribution to the Europe 2020 agenda for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. I think this spirit of collaboration and urgency transpired from the debates.
Maritime affairs and fisheries
Commissioner Damanaki is in Kaliningrad today, where she is meeting Mr Andrey Krayniy, Head of the Federal Fishery Agency of Russia, and giving a lecture "European Union and Russia addressing Maritime and Fisheries Challenges [39 KB] ", at the Baltic Academy of Fishery Fleet.
She also visited the Kruzenshtern, the second largest traditional sailing vessel still in operation.