The NWWAC/NSAC have issued their joint advice on social aspects in fisheries to Commission

The NWWAC/NSAC have issued their joint advice on social aspects in fisheries to Commission

The North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) and the North Sea Advisory Council (NSAC) have written to Charlina Vitcheva, Director-General of DG MARE in relation to joint advice on social aspects and fisheries.

In 2021, the North Western Waters AC and the North Sea AC set up a joint Focus Group Social Aspects with the aim of developing advice over a range of issues relating to this topic. A first submission was made in March 2022 in response to the fuel provisioning crisis affecting the fishing sector as a consequence of the war in Ukraine.

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This second advice aims to act as a framework document outlining those social aspects in need of considerations for future advice which the joint Focus Group will continue working on.

It follows from the framework regulation for the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that “The CFP should ensure that fishing and aquaculture activities contribute to long-term environmental, economic, and social sustainability”. In other words, sustainability in fisheries should address the three pillars: economic development, social development, and environmental protection. However, detailed overarching social objectives are in general missing in the CFP.

The STECF – Social dimension of the CFP (STECF-20-14) publication states that “Fisheries throughout Europe have undergone major structural changes, leading to important social consequences for both individual fishers as for fishing communities. In several fishing communities and regions of the EU, the social importance of the fisheries sector outweighs its direct economic contribution. There is an increasing awareness that more attention should be paid to the social dimension of fisheries, emphasised by the mission letter of EU Commissioner Sinkevičius explicitly mentioning the need to address the social dimension.”

With this in mind, the NWWAC and the NSAC came together in October 2021 to set up a joint Focus Group on Social Aspects in Fisheries. Both commercial and recreational fisheries in the European Union and beyond support livelihoods and contribute to food security and maintaining viable coastal communities. Fisheries management systems need to address and incorporate all three sustainability pillars in order to realise the full benefits of the fishery. The aim of this advice is to act as a framework document outlining those social aspects in need of considerations for future advice while also addressing specific issues raised in the European Parliament opinion ‘Fishers for the future’ (2019/2161(INI)) and the Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on ‘Social dimension of fisheries’ (exploratory opinion) EESC 2019/03203 (link).

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NWWAC/NSAC issue joint advice on social aspects in fisheries to Commission

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