The final AGRIFISH Council gathered in Brussels this morning to discuss and reach agreement over agricultural and fisheries issues for 2023.
After the unpredictability of the past few years between Brexit, COVID-19 and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, 2023 look equally as turbulent and as the Ministers for agriculture and fisheries stepped out into the daylight this morning, the price of fuel was expressed as a concern.
EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius said:
“It’s Sunday morning, we are going to start the AGRIFISH Council, and fisheries is going to be the centre of attention. It’s not going to be an easy Council this year was very difficult to our fisheries due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the peak in fuel prices.
“Operational costs to our fisheries were dramatically huge and had a drastic impact on their profits, but nevertheless I think we should still ensure that we find a way to help our fisheries in the short-term and I am very happy that the Commission reacted very quickly with the EMFAF and EMFF release and member states have already began to put those funds into operation, but long-term responsibility doesn’t go away. The responsibility for sustainability of the stocks is sustainability of the sector.
“I really count on ministers today to make a good decision for our fishers in the short-term, medium-term and long-term.”
The Czech Minister for Agriculture, Zdeněk Nekula said that there had to be a balance struck between maintaining sustainability and protecting fishing communities. He said:
“We need an agreement bearing in mind scientific advice but also keeping in mind the situation of the communities that are financially dependant on fishing”
This will be the final AGRIFISH Council for the Czech Republic in the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.