The FD Podcast Series 1 Episode 19 – Swedish Fishermen’s Producer Organisation, (SFPO) Peter Ronelöv Olsson, joins Oliver McBride to discuss the future facing fishing boats in the Baltic Sea.
With fishing closed due to the situation with Baltic Cod, boat owners and fishers are being left high and dry without any compensation. Peter says that this is not right as fishers have no where else to turn now that the EU has decided to close the fishery.
The EU Commission’s decision caused Peter to write an open letter to the PECH Committee expressing his concerns over the future of his industry. Oliver and Peter discuss the impacts the closure is having on the fishers and their communities.
Oliver asks why cod stocks has declined so dramatically in the Baltic and if there is anything that can be done about it.
Peter talks about his fears for the future and other outside influences that are impacting fish stocks including seals and cormorants, and they look at the impacts that offshore wind farms are having right along the longest coast in the European Union.
Is fishing a bright place to attract young people into a career? Oliver and Peter look at the age demographics within the Swedish industry and it doesn’t give confidence.
If there are no fishers in the future, then where will the EU’s fish come from as a food source, he asks.
You can find Peter’s letter on the SFPO concerns for the future of Swedish fishing he sent to the PECH Committee below.
to the Members of the Committee on Fisheries of the EP
Dear Member of the Committee on Fisheries of the EP,
I am writing to You on behalf of Swedish professional fishing and would like to express my deep concern for the future. I am seriously concerned that, soon, the EU will no longer have professional fishing and therefore no producers of marine food.
A few days ago, the Meeting of the Council of Ministers in Luxembourg, which set the fishing possibilities for 2022 in the Baltic Sea, was concluded. All cod fishing is now stopped, and many other stocks are in poor condition.
The cause of the Baltic Sea’s problems cannot be found in fishing. The causes of the Baltic Sea’s problems can be found in the absence of a functioning marine environment policy. Fishing is to blame for the overriding of marine environment policy for too long. As far as the Baltic Sea is concerned, we are now in an emergency and measures to address the problems relating to old environmental offences, eutrophication from agriculture et cetera is needed. If the Green Deal is to be credible, we urgently need to address these problems.
Professional fishing faces major challenges in addition to the acute marine environment crisis.
- What youth wants to be a professional fisherman if monitored all working hours by CCTV? Of course, we should have a fisheries control, but to be monitored by a camera on board feels disproportionate. No human wants to be watched when working.
- We are faced with a situation where fishing soon will have to pay CO2emissions charges. Profitability is already under so much pressure that the industry cannot cope with such a cost. There are also currently no alternatives that work for the propulsion of a fishing vessel.
- In addition, there are the massive expansion plans for marine wind power. Soon there will significantly less good fishing grounds for fishing.
Without professional fishing, the EU will be obliged to import marine food. It’s not a situation that I think anyone wants to see become a reality. Fishing in the EU is a long-established basic industry and people are asking for fish. It is high time to seriously do something about the marine environment, because it is the one that needs to be addressed, most of the EU fishing fleet fishes sustainably in the long term. All charges and future ones such as CCTV and CO2 charges risk leading to a situation without any European fishing.
Most of the EU fishing fleet consists of small family-owned companies – it is their future that is at risk. I am seriously concerned about developments, and, with this letter, which has been deliberately written briefly, I would like to express my deep concern and that of many other fishermen.
Peter Ronelöv Olsson
Chairman, Swedish Fishermen’s PO (SFPO)