The PFA has issued a response to TNI report on Dutch pelagic fishing companies

The PFA has issued a response to TNI report on Dutch pelagic fishing companies

The Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association (PFA) has responded to the TNI reportDangerously efficient industrial fishing: the threat of multinational Dutch fishing companies to European small-scale fisheries

In a recent publication, the Transnational Institute (TNI) argues that the catching capacity and efficiency of pelagic freezer-trawlers are in direct conflict with small-scale local fishers and that by definition they are dangerous for marine ecosystems and fish populations.

The report claims “Within the European fishing fleet new generations of technologically advanced, hyper efficient industrial vessels, have gotten too good at fishing. This limited number of vessels has a massive impact on the ocean. Fish stocks have largely declined since the 1980s, but not all fishers contribute to the problem to the same extent, nor are all fishing livelihoods impacted to the same degree. The crisis of overfishing, fuelled in large part by a small number of vessels, is threatening the livelihoods of coastal communities and small-scale fisheries around the world who depend on the ocean as a source of food and income.”

The PFA has hit back by saying “Unfortunately, TNI, as it has made clear to the PFA, consciously chose to build a one-sided and biased narrative, taking the assumed perspective of its target audience, small-scale French fishers. The result is a series of misconceptions and inaccurate, incorrect, fact-free and scientifically unsupported statements about pelagic fishing and the PFA’s members.”

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The PFA subsequently engaged in a dialogue with TNI and we thank TNI for allowing our formal response to be published alongside the report on TNI’s website. In our response, we extensively show that:

  • pelagic fishing is not in competition with small-scale fishing (we operate outside the coastal areas and target different stocks, on different fishing grounds and for entirely different markets)
  • scientifically sound stock management is at the heart of our responsible operations (not the size of a vessel but quotas dictate catching capacity; we advocate sustainable fisheries, also through the Pelagic Advisory Council made up of industry, ngo’s and scientists; pelagic stocks are in better shape than demersal stocks)
  • the environmental impact of pelagic fishing is actually the lowest of all fisheries (very low by-catch rates; no discarding allowed; no damage to seabed habitats; lowest carbon footprint of all animal protein production)
  • There is nothing unusual, let alone illegal, about lobbying for sustainable fishing opportunities and about international acquisitions based on the mutual interest of buyer and seller
  • Allegations of illegal practices are either unproven or misrepresented

The PFA response can be read by clicking here.

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