A coalition of nine member states directly impacted by Brexit has called for continued joint management of shared European fisheries rescources.
Speaking in the European Parliament, Gerard van Balsfoort, chairman of the European Fisheries Alliance, said that responsible management of the shared resource was a “prerequisite” for continued economic vitality:
“We call upon all stakeholders to come together to devise a post-Brexit fisheries management system based on the current arrangement that safeguards continued sustainability of stocks and economic prosperity for both UK and EU fishing fleets.”
Key topics discussed at a gathering of scientists and NGOs included the benefits of well-managed and sustainable stocks (EU and UK fleets); international laws; cross-border fisheries management and potential effect of a ‘hard Brexit’ on stock sustainability and the marine environment.
When the UK ultimately leaves the European Union and is outside the Common Fisheries Policy, a new arrangement wil be required to manage over 140 shared stocks.
According to the EPA, continued close cooperation between the UK and the EU on all aspects of fisheries management as laid down in the CFP needs to be the basis of a future management system to ensure stock sustainability. This includes data collection, scientific advice, management decisions, control and enforcement.
The meeting was convened by MEP Alain Cadec and chair of the EP’s fisheries committee and was held before a public gallery, MEPs and representatives of the European fishing industry.
Stock sustainablity was key to a viable fisheries sector, Cadec added.
“The future of our fishermen should not be held hostage by short-term political considerations. We will protect the achievements of the European fisheries management system and EU fishermen from any potentially damaging unilaterial British decision.”
The EFA comprises the fishing fleets of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden. it accounts for more than 18,000 fishermen and 3,500 vessels and has an annual turnover of circa €21bn.