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Different Views Of Tuna Fishermen On New EU Fisheries Policy

The European parliament approved a major reform to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy this week, and the group that represents the Spanish industrial tuna fleet, Cepesca, is dissatisfied with the new amendments, while artisanal fishermen are applauding the vote and calling it “historic.”
Cepesca, the Spanish Fisheries Confederation, says the new policy only addresses the sustainability of the environment – management of tuna stocks – and ignores the sustainability of the social and economic aspects of fishing, including the fleet, crew, industry and coastal communities.
“It (European parliament) keeps backing an unbalanced, rigid and unrealistic fishery management, in which fleet, crew, industry and coastal communities become endangered species,” says Javier Garat, Cepesca’s secretary general.
Meanwhile, MedArtNet (Mediterranean Platform of Artisanal Fishers), which represents coastal fishermen in Greece, Italy, France and Spain – including the four Spanish almadraba (trapnet) bluefin fisheries – is pleased with the reform and says “sustainable fishing is not only going to make possible the durability of fish grounds, but also will guarantee the future of fishing communities.”
MedArtNet president and Spanish fisherman, Ramon Tarridas, is “very happy and satisfied” with the legal framework that will allow the fishing sector "to move from theory to practice” as far as sustainability is concerned. The new policy will establish co-management committees of fishery resources, where fishermen will have the same voice as politicians and scientists.
The fisheries policy, which is to take effect in 2014 and will last until 2020, will also oblige fishing vessels to land all catches thereby ending the wasteful practice of discarding unwanted species at sea.
Cepesca says it shares the European parliament’s goal of minimizing discards, but believes the reductions must be “gradual.” It’s asking the European government to evaluate the causes of discards for each fishery, to assess the socioeconomic impact and to recommend the most appropriate measures for each case.
A deal must now be reached in March between the European parliament and fisheries ministers of EU member states, to ratify the reforms.