The event, organised under the auspices of the Greek Presidency in Thessaloniki, Greece, will be held against the backdrop of the new external dimension of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy which strengthens the EU's international commitment to addressing overcapacity at a global level.
The two day event will be opened on March 13th by Mr Evangelos Venizelos, the Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Keynote speeches will follow from Commissioner Damanaki, Mr Athanasios Tsaftaris, Greek Minister of Rural Development and Food, British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, and Pierre-Yves Cousteau, Goodwill Ambassador of the International Union for Conservation. The two day event will conclude with the signing of a Joint Statement on capacity management by the EU and like-minded countries such as the United States, Colombia, Indonesia and Japan.
Commissioner Damanaki said: "Excessive fishing power is a major driver for overfishing. To put it simply there are too many vessels chasing too few fish. By coming together in Thessaloniki, the international community has shown its willingness and commitment to tackle the issue of global fishing overcapacity and embed a culture of sustainable, responsible and smart fishing worldwide".
The recent reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy seeks to eradicate what is remaining of overcapacity in the European fleet. It also makes sure that when EU vessels fish in the rest of the world they only fish within scientifically safe margins and only after the food needs of the local populations have been covered.
Recognising that this is a global issue, and to strike the right balance between fishing power and resources, the European Commission has decided to pull the international community together to share best practice and find long term policy solutions. International processes do exist, but their principles and general obligations are often not translated into reality. Whilst some progress has been made in certain areas, such as with Bluefin tuna, there are still huge investments in vessel and processing capacity being made in different parts of the world.
The conference can be followed by webstreaming: