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The not so ‘common’ CFP



CFP - will an ‘evaluation’ actually mean any reform?

Don’t hold your breath!


Well here we go…. The ‘think tank’ of EU fisheries policy (AGRIFISH COUNCIL) are to get together next week and all the politically correct sound bites are already being spun out: ‘sustainability’, ‘primary objectives’, ‘climate change & environmental factors’, ‘innovation and energy factors’, ‘scientific advice’ and ‘socio-economic impacts’.


Editorial Comment, Cormac Burke, Chairman IFSA


Ireland will be represented at this Council on June 24th by our marine minister and his officials and naturally anyone involved in the Irish fishing industry would be forgiven for harbouring some slight hope that we might finally see some fair play with reports of a “full evaluation of the Common Fisheries Policy”…. But let’s be realistic here, when was the last time an Irish marine minister came back from an EU meeting with good news for Irish fishermen? - certainly not in the past 30 years.


Firstly, and I apologise for repeating myself in recent articles, what is promised is a CFP ‘evaluation’ - not even a re-evaluation, never mind the slightest hint of the word ‘reform’.


And with respect, with this meeting being chaired by politicians from Belgium - - one of those EU nations who is benefiting greatly from EU-allocated quotas in Irish waters while Irish vessels are being starved of fish under the current CFP regime, and with “participation” from current Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius who said during a visit to Ireland last year that there would be “no reform” of the CFP because there was “no appetite for it amongst other Member States”, then, from an Irish perspective at least, we can expect little or no change to the system that is widely thought of in Ireland as the ‘Corrupt Fisheries Policy’.


Personally, one of the phrases that jumps out at me in the AGRIFISH statement is that old chestnut of “balancing fleet capacity with fishing opportunities” - - Ireland has been whipped so many times with this rod and, even with the latest Irish decommissioning scheme removing a third of the demersal fleet, the remaining fishermen don’t feel like they have any better quota than they had before the 35+ vessels were removed.


I also fail to see any genuine reference in the AGRIFISH story to any proposed examination of the deals, some done in the past and some continuing to be negotiated by the EU Commission, that rewards non Irish fishing EU nations with amounts of quota in northern non-EU nations in return for vast amounts of quota to be taken from Irish waters by non EU pelagic fleets.


The most ironic words used in this, and any EU document on fisheries, are those declaring their concern for “socio-economic impacts” when surely there can be no rural coastal communities anywhere in Europe that have been more badly effected in the past five years or more than in Ireland… and yet the Commission quietly sweeps this under the rug as the other powers in the EU get rich from the bounty in Irish waters while the Irish fishing and processing industries have reached a crisis point where bankruptcy is looming ever nearer and the communities that rely on these operations are about to collapse.


The elephant in the room at any such EU meeting is the fact that Ireland is being shafted by the CFP and is footing the bill for other EU powers to get wealthier, but the real shame at these meetings is the weak representation Ireland has now, and always, had at such high level forums.


Its worth noting that the EU Council of Ministers Nature Restoration legislation vote was carried earlier this week but just 48 hours before the vote took place several EU Member States had said they were going to vote against it - and yet come the morning of the vote, they had changed tack and voted for it….. This is the game at EU level - you threaten to vote against something they need to go through, they offer some private negotiations and you get something else that you wanted, and hey presto the vote changes and everyone goes home happy.


In their gullibility it would seem that Ireland has never learnt how to play this game and every time are happily led by the nose to the slaughter.





Article (The Fishing Daily) in full:


The Agriculture and Fisheries Council will meet in Luxembourg on Monday, 24 June 2024, to discuss amongst matters, the current state and future directions of sustainable fishing within the European Union.


The meeting will be chaired by Belgian Deputy Prime Minister David Clarinval and Flemish Minister Hilde Crevits, with participation from key European Commissioners: Janusz Wojciechowski (Agriculture), Virginijus Sinkevičius (Environment, Oceans and Fisheries), and Stella Kyriakides (Health and Food Safety).

 

Sustainable Fishing in the EU: Current Status and Future Plans

In a public session, the Council will review the European Commission’s communication on the common fisheries policy’s status and the primary orientations for the 2025 fishing opportunities.


This communication will provide an overview of the progress towards sustainable fishing in the EU, balancing fleet capacity with fishing opportunities, and the socioeconomic performance of the EU fishing fleets. It will also discuss the implementation of the landing obligation and announce a full evaluation of the common fisheries policy.


The Commission will note that fishing sustainability in the EU has continued to improve in 2023, except in the Baltic Sea, where pressures other than fishing will persist. Additionally, it will highlight the need for increased efforts in the Mediterranean and Black Seas, where many stocks will still be overfished.


Key challenges identified will include climate change and environmental factors, which the Commission will suggest addressing through innovation and the energy transition. For shared stocks managed with the UK, Norway, and other coastal states, the EU’s position will be informed by the best available scientific advice, aiming for sustainable, balanced, and comprehensive sharing arrangements.

 

Feedback and Future Proposals

The Commission will invite member states, advisory councils, stakeholders, and the public to provide feedback on the communication by August 31, 2024. It plans to publish its proposal for fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea at the end of August, with proposals for the Mediterranean and Black Seas expected by mid-September. The proposal for the Atlantic and North Sea will follow at the end of October.


The Council will aim to reach a political agreement on the Baltic Sea fishing opportunities at the October Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting. Agreements for the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Atlantic, and North Sea proposals are expected during the December meeting.

This comprehensive approach will underscore the EU’s commitment to sustainable fishing practices, ensuring the long-term health of marine ecosystems and the fishing industry’s socioeconomic viability.


EU Fisheries Progress Outlined by Commission in Communication to the European Parliament and the Council

 

Key Achievements and Challenges

Sustainable Fishing Levels: The communication celebrates the achievement of sustainable fishing levels for many fish stocks, attributing this success to the collective efforts of fishers, national administrations, and EU institutions.

Policy Evaluation: The document announces a full evaluation of the Common Fisheries Policy Regulation, aiming to assess its impact over the past decade and prepare for future challenges, including the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

 

Future Orientations

2025 Proposals: The Commission outlines its approach for the 2025 fishing opportunities, emphasising the importance of scientific advice, international negotiations, and socio-economic analysis in their formulation.


Mediterranean and Black Seas Focus: Special attention is given to the Mediterranean and Black Seas, where fishing pressure remains high, and further action is needed to reach sustainable levels.

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