The Pelagic Advisory Council has written to the Director-General of DG MARE, Ms. Charlina Vitcheva on the issue of the call for evidence for energy transition in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
The Pelagic Advisory Council (PelAC) thanked the Director-General for the opportunity to respond to the commission’s call for evidence which was launched on 07 November 2022.
The AC did, however, express concern that the consultation period, which was less than one month, limited the ability of the AC to submit a detailed position on the issue. They say:
“During this consultation period it is not feasible to hold in-depth discussions with the members and to finalise our internal advice approval procedures. Nevertheless, through this letter the PelAC wishes to highlight the importance it attributes to this key topic, as well as its commitment to deliver on this discussion with the Commission.”
PelAC informed the Director-General that energy transition has been made a key priority by its members and they hope to deliver more detailed information in the spring of 2023. They said:
“The issue of energy transition in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, as outlined in the Commission note shared with the ACs during the Inter-AC meeting on April 29 2022, has subsequently been defined as a key priority issue for PelAC in its work programme. As such, the PelAC intends to deliver detailed input following a workshop foreseen in April 2023, which sets out to address the implications of energy transition in the pelagic fleet. Through the workshop, the PelAC aims to gather knowledge at the technical level as regards the state of play of research and ongoing projects relating to decarbonisation of the maritime/fishery sector, alternatives to fossil fuels (such as LNG, hydrogen or ammonia sources), and how more energy efficient technologies can be accommodated onboard pelagic vessels. The main objective of the workshop is to identify the key issues for the pelagic industry in the transition to cleaner energy sources, as well as the current gaps in research and development.”
PelAC congratulated the Commission for the initiative on delivering on energy transition. They say:
“The PelAC welcomes the Commission’s initiative described in the call for evidence, aimed at developing a strategy and a roadmap for energy transition in fisheries and aquaculture sector. In light of the EU Green Deal and the recent urgency of reducing the EU’s dependency to fossil fuels, the PelAC considers this initiative timely and relevant. Particularly, the PelAC embraces the emphasis placed by the Commission on multi-stakeholder consultation, and its intent to feed the input from stakeholders into the strategy and roadmap. The PelAC is keen to contribute to these developments and underlines the importance of securing engagement with stakeholders throughout the entire process.”
They continued: “Further, in the call for evidence the Commission notes that existing input from stakeholders will be considered when shaping the initiative on energy transition, such as the AC positions received during the targeted consultation on the review of the CFP launched earlier this year. In this respect, the PelAC reiterates its previous comment included in its response to this consultation, raising the potential conflicts that exist between certain fishing capacity rules in the CFP and the ability to meet GHG reductions targets by implementing new technologies. This is especially the case with regard to the provisions set out in article 22 and Annex II of the CFP, that don’t consider the search for profitable or improved vessel efficiency. The capacity ceilings as set in Annex II of the CFP hinder the ability for shipowners to satisfy the transition to the use of innovative, greener engines (LNG, hydrogen, etc.) that require larger vessels/engines to accommodate dedicated storage volume onboard. The PelAC strongly believes that such regulatory hurdles should be addressed when the Commission strategy for energy transition is being prepared.”
The letter concluded by saying:
“Given the very tight deadline for this consultation, the PelAC considers this submission an initial reaction to the Commission call for evidence, assuming there will be ample opportunity to provide more detailed advice as the Commission strategy and roadmap take concrete form, such as through the envisaged specific targeted consultation with Member States and Advisory Councils mentioned in the call for evidence document. The PelAC would welcome more details regarding the foreseen timeline for this consultation, considering that the output generated from the PelAC workshop planned in April 2023 is expected to form an important basis for the PelAC’s contribution.”