SFPO Chairman Peter Ronelöv Olsson pens open letter to PECH Committee on concerns over the future of fishing
The Chairman of Swedish Fishermen’s Producers Organisation (SFPO), Peter Ronelöv Olsson has written an open letter to the Committee on Fisheries of the European Parliament (PECH Committee) expressing his concerns over the future of fishing in the EU.
Today, Peter told The Fishing Daily that he is surprised at the response the letter has received as it has been published in several media outlets but says, “It has since taken on a life of its own, because I think it says what every fisherman in Europe feels.”
Fish stock problems in the Baltic Sea, CCTV, CO2 emissions, and the expansion of offshore wind farms are just some of the concerns facing the fishing industry, with the knock-on effect being a less attractive future for young people considering fishing as a career.
Peter has encouraged the PECH Committee to take a hard look at what a future would look like without a commercial fishing industry, where instead of European consumers eating domestically caught fish, the EU will rely on imports.
The reason why Peter’s letter has received so much coverage is that, it is a sentiment held by all fishers right across Europe. The fishing industry faces pressures coming from all quarters including Offshore Wind Farms, Marine Protected Areas, Scientific Advice, Non-Governmental Organisations and reactionaries running about creating half-baked truths in documentaries.
If the fishing industry is to survive, it needs strong leadership and, it needs to be given the tools to fight back where it is being wronged.
to the Members of the Committee on Fisheries of the EP
Dear Member of the Committee on Fisheries of the EP,
I am writing to You on behalf of Swedish professional fishing and would like to express my deep concern for the future. I am seriously concerned that, soon, the EU will no longer have professional fishing and therefore no producers of marine food.
A few days ago, the Meeting of the Council of Ministers in Luxembourg, which set the fishing possibilities for 2022 in the Baltic Sea, was concluded. All cod fishing is now stopped, and many other stocks are in poor condition.
The cause of the Baltic Sea’s problems cannot be found in fishing. The causes of the Baltic Sea’s problems can be found in the absence of a functioning marine environment policy. Fishing is to blame for the overriding of marine environment policy for too long. As far as the Baltic Sea is concerned, we are now in an emergency and measures to address the problems relating to old environmental offences, eutrophication from agriculture et cetera is needed. If the Green Deal is to be credible, we urgently need to address these problems.
Professional fishing faces major challenges in addition to the acute marine environment crisis.
- What youth wants to be a professional fisherman if monitored all working hours by CCTV? Of course, we should have a fisheries control, but to be monitored by a camera on board feels disproportionate. No human wants to be watched when working.
- We are faced with a situation where fishing soon will have to pay CO2emissions charges. Profitability is already under so much pressure that the industry cannot cope with such a cost. There are also currently no alternatives that work for the propulsion of a fishing vessel.
- In addition, there are the massive expansion plans for marine wind power. Soon there will significantly less good fishing grounds for fishing.
Without professional fishing, the EU will be obliged to import marine food. It’s not a situation that I think anyone wants to see become a reality. Fishing in the EU is a long-established basic industry and people are asking for fish. It is high time to seriously do something about the marine environment, because it is the one that needs to be addressed, most of the EU fishing fleet fishes sustainably in the long term. All charges and future ones such as CCTV and CO2 charges risk leading to a situation without any European fishing.
Most of the EU fishing fleet consists of small family-owned companies – it is their future that is at risk. I am seriously concerned about developments, and, with this letter, which has been deliberately written briefly, I would like to express my deep concern and that of many other fishermen.
Peter Ronelöv Olsson
Chairman, Swedish Fishermen’s PO (SFPO)