On 22 November, MEPs supported an initiative on small-scale and coastal fishing tabled by MEP João Ferreira (GUE-NGL), a Portuguese member of the PECH Committee.. According to this resolution, small-scale fisheries are in a critical situation because the resource crisis has a greater impact on these small-sized businesses, which currently represent about three quarters of the EU fishing fleet (65 000 boats).
A recent European Parliament study showed that small-scale fleets employ about 55 % of all employment on board, while producing just 27 % of the total value of the landings. Employment has declined by 10 to 30 % between 2000 and 2010. The Parliament asks for a fisheries policy that takes account of the specific characteristics of the small-scale fleets. This includes relative high job creation, and mostly fishing with passive gear. The few female workers in fisheries are generally employed in the small-scale segment. In its resolution the Parliaments asks for specific measures for preferential access to fish resources, fleet management, public aid, and market measures.
In its proposals for the CFP reform, the Commission has put forward an increase in the number of measures that are specifically useful for small-scale fisheries, in particular access to funding under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Small-scale vessels can also expect a higher co-financing rate (75 % instead of 50 %) under the EMFF. As for the financial allocation of funds to Member States, the share of small-scale fleets in the wider national fleet is an important parameter for increasing the financial allocation. The European Parliament's resolution will further boost the profile of small-scale fisheries during the next debates on the CFP reform.