The European fisheries sector will meet with Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius over the closure of 87 VMEs in EU waters to bottom-fishing
The EU fishing sector meets today in Brussels with the Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, to reiterate its disagreement with Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/1614 of the European Commission (EC), which entered into force last Sunday, October 9 and by which 87 areas have been closed to bottom fishing in the Northeast Atlantic.
At the meeting, the sector will be represented by the European Bottom Fisheries Alliance (EBFA), which represents more than 20,000 fishermen and 7,000 European vessels and of which the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (CEPESCA) is part.
The meeting, which was initially going to be virtual, but will be held in-person at the request of the Commissioner, will be attended by Iván López Van der Veen, president of the EBFA; Javier Garat, president of Europêche and general secretary of Cepesca; Daniel Voces, Director General of Europêche and Secretary of EBFA; Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, President of the European Association of Fish Producer Organisations (EAPO), and representatives of the fisheries sector from Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Poland.
The Community fisheries sector affected by the measure will once again convey to the Commissioner its disagreement with technical, procedural and legislative aspects of the Implementing Regulation, arguments also put forward before the EC by the Government of Spain, through the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas; the directors of the branch of the different Autonomous Communities affected.
According to the president of EBFA, Iván López Van der Veen, “Fishermen are the first interested in the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems, but we consider that any measure aimed at meeting this objective must be based on the best available scientific information and also have, as required by the Common Fisheries Policy (CCP), a socio-economic impact report”. “This closure,” adds López, “closes fishing grounds in more than 16,000 square kilometres and affects not only boats that practice trawling at depths of between 400 and 800 meters, but also and, especially, gear such as bottom longlining that, in no case, has a negative effect on the seabed.”
According to Javier Garat, President of Europêche and Secretary General of Cepesca, “The European Commission should immediately suspend the application of the implementing regulation and proceed to its urgent revision. From Cepesca we support the decision of the Government of Spain to filean appeal for annulment, hoping that it will request the precautionary suspension. And we support that other fishing organizations, as OPP Burela has already done, will judicially enforce their rights before the European Court of Justice.”
Source: Press Release