European Commission launches call for evidence to gather feedback on new initiatives to accelerate energy transition in EU fishing industry

European Commission launches call for evidence to gather feedback on new initiatives to accelerate energy transition in EU fishing industry

The European Commission has launched a call for evidence to gather feedback on a new initiative to help accelerate the energy transition of the EU fisheries and aquaculture sector.

The Commission believes that the sectors are too dependent on fossil fuels. They say:

“The EU fisheries and aquaculture sector is currently energy intensive and highly reliant on fossil fuels, making it vulnerable to fuel price increases.

“The recently published 2022 annual economic report on the EU fishing fleet, for example, shows that the current energy crisis, caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, has had a strong impact on the economic performance of the fishing fleet. The EU reacted immediately and adopted a range of crisis support measures to support the sector, allowing it to maintain its overall profitability in 2022.

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“The current reliance on fossil fuels, however, is a structural problem that requires a long-term approach to make the sector resilient and sustainable.”

In the light of this, the Commission has launched a new initiative to reduce this dependence. They say:

“The EU fisheries and aquaculture sector can strengthen its resilience and improve its long-term social, economic and environmental sustainability by reducing the energy needs and increasing the use of clean and alternative power sources.

“The Commission is preparing a new initiative to develop a long-term strategy for the energy transition of the sector. The initiative will put in place the structures to enhance cooperation between stakeholders and help to remove the current barriers to the uptake of energy-efficient technologies.”

The Commission say they initiative will support the energy transition in the sector by:

  • enabling strong engagement of all the people, authorities and organisations concerned (including NGOs, fishers, aquaculture producers, shipbuilders, equipment producers, research institutes, renewable energy providers, and ports)
  • closing the gaps in knowledge, technology and innovation
  • securing adequate financial support
  • ensuring the right skills and workforce, fit for and adapted to the energy transition in the EU fisheries and aquaculture sector
Have your say – your feedback matters!

Your feedback is highly valued in the preparation of this initiative and will help to shape the approach to the energy transition. The Commission invites all stakeholders, including the fishing industry, non-governmental organisations, academic, scientific, social and economic partners, and citizens to share their views by responding to the Call for evidence, until 05 December 2022.

The feedback received will support the Commission in developing this initiative, which it envisages to present towards the beginning of next year. The initiative also provides for continuous involvement of stakeholders during its implementation.

The Commission says that currently, almost all fisheries rely on fossil fuels for their operations, while aquaculture facilities can be energy intensive. Between 2009 and 2014, European fisheries were on the path to reduce their energy intensity by more than 15%, supported by the recovery of fish stocks. This positive trend, however, has started to stagnate, which calls for a new push for more coordinated efforts amongst the stakeholders.

A recent Commission study shows that there is already a wide range of technologies available that can help speed up the energy transition for fisheries. However, their uptake is limited by a range of barriers, which need to be addressed to give a new push to the transition. Furthermore, more effort is needed to develop the clean and renewable energy sources that can power the sectors in the future.

Economic evidence shows that fuel prices are a major driver of the sector’s economic performance and that strong dependence on fossil fuels is a structural weakness in the resilience and economic sustainability of the sector. The annual fuel consumption of the EU fishing fleet is of almost 2 billion litres. It is, therefore, important to boost the energy transition of the sector to secure its future, a fair income for the fishers and aquaculture operators, and reduce its environmental impact.

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