The EU has moved closer to banning traditional bottom trawling methods

Has the EU has moved closer to banning traditional bottom and beam trawling methods?

The European Union took a step closer to removing bottom trawling and beam trawling from certain fishing areas after a vote in the Parliament (EP) last night’s adopted resolutions against the fishing methods in a vote on the European Biodiversity Strategy 2030.

They EP also passed a resolution on the same Strategy requiring the EU Commission to draw up a definition on super trawlers and then makes plans to limit their activities.

The respective resolution texts adopted in the context of the European Biodiversity Strategy 2030:

Paragraph 74:

Notes with concern that the widespread physical disturbance of the sea floor in the coastal waters of the EU is continuing, in particular due to bottom trawl fishing, identified by the FAO as the type of gear that contributes most to annual discards and very detrimental impact on the sea floor, depending on the fishing and the details of the fishing areas; recalls that bottom trawl fishing is one of the most common types of fishing gear in the EU; recalls the existing requirement to stop fishing gear hitting bottom below 400 m in areas where vulnerable marine ecosystems are known or likely to exist; therefore calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure full and effective implementation of Regulation (EU) 2016/2336, including undersea mountains; requests the Commission furthermore, following restrictions in the Mediterranean, to limit the use of bottom trawls in other coastal areas, where necessary to protect coastal ecosystems, including in its forthcoming action plan to preserve fish stocks and marine ecosystems. protecting, to ensure the most sustainable and least harmful practices;

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Paragraph 76:

Requests the European Commission to draw up a definition of super trawlers and to consider measures to limit their activities in EU waters, in particular banning their activities in protected areas.

Dutch fishermen are extremely concerned about the future of trawling

Jan Steven Corf (UK-136) a member of EMK told the Dutch fishing organisation :

′′I’ve been a fisherman for almost 45 years. I’ve seen almost everything come by. This doom scenario is the most intense. We survived almost everything. From shrinking quotas to an oil crisis. This is very intense when fishing has been going on since time immemorial. Nevertheless, the fish stocks in the North Sea are excellent. It’ll take my time, but my own boys have to pay the bill. A unique hardworking sector is carelessly twisted by politicians who 90 % don’t know what they’re voting for. It is outrageous what happened in the EP. Actually, they should be judged that you treat your elected seat so carelessly.”

On the vote EMK themselves said:

“We leave to the fishermen and the specialist media the analysis of what this means in the short term for Dutch and Belgian fisheries – and also the answer to whether or not it is going to happen and what is possible? Fishermen have sunk into deep minor after tonight.”

On the vote, Dutch MEP and member of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee (PECH Committee), Peter van Dalen said:

“The (non-legislative) initiative report on the biodiversity strategy could be the death blow for many Dutch fishermen if the text is converted into legislation. While some would like to see this hard-working profession disappear so quickly, I don’t want that.  

“At the same time, I am a strong supporter of protecting our biodiversity, because it is crucial for our quality of life. Plants, insects and birds are currently disappearing from our nature at a rapid pace. For example, in the past ten years at least 160 species have been declared extinct, the number of meadow birds has halved and bees and insects are also declining rapidly. So there is a need to catch up to preserve and restore biodiversity, and the EU Biodiversity Strategy responds to this.

“So I fully support most of the strategy now proposed. Therefore, if fisheries had not been so mercilessly pushed aside in a few paragraphs of this strategy, I would have voted in favour of this initiative report. However, killing fisheries in this text is unacceptable: that is why I was forced to abstain in the final vote on this report.”

By Oliver McBride

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