The European Association of Fish Producers Organisation met in Gothenburg, Sweden to hold their AGM for 2022. Photo: EAPO
The European Association of Fish Producers Organisation (EAPO) met in Gothenburg, Sweden to hold their Annual General Meeting on Friday, 09 September 2022.
The EAPO represents 28 Producer Organisations from nine EU Member States with approximately 16,000 fishing vessels which land annually an estimated 2.4 million tonnes of fish wit a first sale value of €3 billion.
The meeting centred around the appreciation of the Commission’s swiftness in addressing the consequences of the Ukraine conflict and expression of urgency for all Member States to use the potential to maintain the supply of fishery products and protect employments.
The EAPO was welcomed by Ms. Sarah Colliander, Sweden’s Fisheries Director, who insisted on the main challenges faced by the industry such as the increasing competition for space and the consequences of Brexit, the Covid pandemic and the Ukraine crisis. She declared: “EAPO can be a forum where competition within the EU is avoided, and the interests of EU fisheries are jointly addressed”.
Frangiscos Nikolian, DG MARE Head of Unit A4, attended online to discuss topics important for EAPO. There was an exchange on the Commissions’ task to finalise reports on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the Common Market Organisation (CMO) regulations, with EAPO stressing the need for a more thorough revision. The status and funding of transnational POs, the action plan on biodiversity and the revision of the marketing standards were amongst other subjects of discussion.
EAPO thanked the Commission for putting forward the required legal instruments and guidelines to allow all Member States to grant aids to address the commodity prices crisis due to the Ukraine conflict and calls upon all Member States to use these possibilities and maintain the level playing field within the EU fisheries sector to provide healthy and nutritious food to European citizens.
President Esben Sverdrup-Jensen reported on the numerous topics and activities addressed since the last AGM in October 2021, the Working Group chairs entered into more detail on their own activities and the Accounts, Budget and Work Program were approved. Details on this can be found in the EAPO brochure on the website. EAPO’s main objectives for 2022-2023 are to continue working towards meeting the increasing European demand for sustainable seafood.
“Eleven years ago, the main issue for POs was fixing the minimal prices. Nowadays the list of active topics keeps increasing, the days where we could run EAPO during our free time are gone”, said EAPO’s President Esben Sverdrup-Jensen. “With a Policy Officer joining the team we now have the resources to boost our communication and to organise our work in providing feedback from our members’ members – the fishers – to the EU institutions dealing with policies and management affecting fisheries.”
This year’s AGM was hosted by the Swedish Pelagic Federation PO and the Dutch members confirmed that the 2023 meeting will be organised in the Netherlands.