Trialogue decision averts a ban on demersal seine-netting in French waters of the English Channel by French government is accused of betrayal
A Black Thursday for French Coastal Fishermen says BLOOM as demersal seine-netting survives trialogue
The Council of the European Union, the Commission and the Parliament met yesterday in trialogue to discuss a number of issues affecting the fishing industry in the EU, amongst which was a ban on demersal seine-netting.
Artisanal fishermen in the north of France have moved their fishing representatives and their politicians to call on the EU to ban demersal seine-netting from the English Channel and backed by French environmental group BLOOM, moved a motion through the EU Parliament.
In July the EU Parliament in favour of banning demersal seining. The issue was then moved to trialogue which takes place between the EU Commission, the Council of the EU and the EU Parliament.
The trialogue was chaired by French MEP, Pierre Karleskind who is also chair of the PECH Committee.
During the debate, Dutch MEPs Peter van Dalen and Bert-Jan Ruissen who are also members of the EU Parliament Committee on Fisheries (PECH Committee) with van Dalen being a vice-chair of the Committee argued for the retention of demersal seine-netting.
After an intense debate the outcome of the trialogue was announced by the EU Parliament who said:
“Parliament and Commission take note of the situation of fisheries in the Channel, where local and regional stakeholders and fishers raised concerns about bottom trawl fishing methods used by numerous vessels. They therefore invite EU governments to come up with joint recommendations in this regard, which the Commission could use to propose practical measures. The Commission will ensure that funding for related scientific research is available.”
Responding to the decision, Peter van Dalen said, “We have been able to maintain flyshooting fishing for our fishers in French waters. Tough negotiations but with a result that stands!”
Bert-Jan Ruissen said, “French attempt to ban Dutch fishermen from French waters using flyshooting technique has been averted. EU agreement has just been reached with the European Commission and EU countries, as negotiator on behalf of the SGP and ECR group of the European Parliament. Positive, because French action was discriminatory.”
Tne news was welcomed by Dutch and Belgian fishermen’s organisation, EMK and their members, one of who tweeted, “Many thanks to Peter van Dalen and Bert-Jan Ruissen for this result. Hopefully, now averted for longer.”
Though the reaction to the news was positive from the Netherlands, however, French reaction was of anger towards Macron and his government.
In a press release following the news, BLOOM called it “A black Thursday for French Coastal Fishing”.
The said that the decision is a betrayal of the nation’s interests. A betrayal of the promises made to the youth on climate. A « dirty deal » which France is accustomed to in Brussels.
They claim France stubbornly defended a devastating fishing technique, the demersal seine, against the unanimous demand of French fishers, citizens and 143 deputies. The ban on demersal seining was an urgent measure that was eagerly awaited by coastal fishers facing the urgent need to safeguard marine resources and their fragile economic balance.
The said the European Parliament had voted in favour of banning demersal seining on July 12 thanks to the amendment tabled by Caroline Roose (EELV) but this position was not adopted at the trialogue.
“This scandal will have disastrous economic consequences for fishers, who had already paid a heavy price with the electric fishing that devastated the port of Dunkirk”, analyses Laetitia Bisiaux, project manager at BLOOM.
BLLOM says that Emmanuel Macron will be accountable for the bankruptcy of coastal fishers in the North of France and Normandy whose small fishing vessels find themselves subject to brutal direct competition with 30-metres ultra-technological industrial vessels.
According to an account by Philippe Calone in Le Monde, the CROSS (regional operational centre for surveillance and rescue) asks them to “clear” when the seiners arrive in their zones, as this fishing technique does not allow the presence of other vessels.
BLOOM claims that the actions of the Macron exposes French government sell out of the fishing industry to outside interests, mainly from the Netherlands.
“The Macron government has not only betrayed citizens and coastal fishers, it has actively defended industrial predators by using false arguments such as the fact that the banning of demersal seines would jeopardize the entire common fisheries policy.”
“The Secretary of State for the Sea, Hervé Berville, has even personally involved himself in order to undermine and discourage the mobilization of parliamentarians against this disastrous fishing method.”