Dangerously efficient industrial fishing: how Dutch multinationals threaten European artisanal fishing, claims report
A new report published by Association Pleine Mer and its partners has stated that the EU fishing industry has become so dangerously efficient that it threatens to wipe out artisanal fisheries.
The report available in both French and English points the finger of blame at Dutch industrial fishing. The report asks how did a handful of millionaires keep getting richer by European quotas, how did two industrial fishing giants take control of French and British quotas, and what is the complicity of the EU Commission and the Common Fisheies Policy.
Thibault Josse, coordinator of Pleine Mer and co-author of the report, explains: “Multinationals like Cornelis Vrolijk and Parleviet van der Plas have taken advantage of the liberalization of quotas in the Netherlands to accumulate fishing rights and capital. In recent years, many French, English and German fishing companies have been bought out by these giants of the industry, who always grab more quota to feed their giant trawlers which can fish up to 200 tonnes per day. Without a massive mobilization of citizens, European artisanal fishing risks disappearing in the coming years, replaced by a few super-trawlers who enrich millionaires.”
In their press release, Pleine Mer claim Cornelis Vrolijk and Parleviet van der Plas now control part of the French fishery: France Pélagique, Compagnie Française du Thon Océanique, Euronor, Compagnie des Pêches de Saint-Malo… “so many companies recently bought by Dutch shareholders”. They also claim the industry has been able to place its pawns in the authorities of French fishing: Antoine Dhellemes, former director of France Pélagique, is now vice-president of the National Fisheries Committee and of the From-Nord PO, while his son is in charge of managing the armaments on behalf of the shareholders of Cornelis Vrolijk. The leaders of these multinationals have access to European negotiations on quotas, as well as to quota allocation bodies. A model that allows them to get rich: Diek Parleviet is ranked 60th richest man in the Netherlands, with a fortune of 600 million euros, while Dutch artisanal fishermen have to share 0.05% of national quotas, claims Pleine Mer.
Zoe Brent, researcher at TNI and co-author of the report explains: “The European Commission encourages this model, by opening the door to aggressive lobbying, by encouraging ever more liberalization, by subsidizing the modernization of industrial fishing vessels., by subsidizing the vertical integration of the sector by these multinationals, by reducing control obligations, and by turning a blind eye to illegal fishing and tax evasion. “
Charles Braine, President of Pleine Mer, denounces this scandal: “Since the baptism of the giant trawler SCOMBRUS in Concarneau on September 25, 2020, nothing has changed. Industrial fishing continues to wreak havoc, fish stocks are impacted, quotas cornered… and artisanal fishermen are disappearing. After electric fishing, today it is the Danish seine that empties the Channel: we must put an end to these destructive practices! The general public must be informed of the actions of Dutch industrialists, real merchants of doubts who accumulate millions of euros by destroying ecosystems and European artisanal fishing!”
The full report can be read by clicking here.