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Commercial Fishing



Spanish fishing sector calls for EU support. The Spanish fishing sector, grouped in the Spanish Fishing Confederation ( CEPESCA ), believes that the European Union (EU) must decide whether in the new political cycle , which will begin after the elections to the European Parliament on June 9 , it wants to have its own fishing fleet or leave the supply of fish to its citizens in the hands of third-party fishing powers and, consequently, renounce its food sovereignty over one of the highest quality proteins for human beings.

The sector, which declares itself “cornered” by the decisions taken by European politicians over the last five years, will approach with this certainty a round of contacts with the representatives of the political parties participating in the European elections on 9 June to convey this concern to them, present their proposals and demands and offer all their collaboration in the face of the new legislature.

In the opinion of the sector, the future representatives of citizens in the European Parliament will assume an enormous responsibility due to the need for the EU to “define its position and its future as a project in a geopolitical environment like the current one, marked by instability and unknowns . ” In the opinion of the sector, Europe must adopt decisive measures in strategic areas, such as defence, energy or the nutrition of its citizens.

In this regard, the fishing sector encourages those who will be our representatives in the European institutions to become aware of and feel proud of our country’s fishing leadership in Europe . The Spanish fleet generates 20% of the EU’s total fishing production and is the leader both in volume (765,237.25 tons of fish and seafood in 2023) and in global turnover (1,790.29 million euros in first sale in the year 2023 and an added value that exceeds 10,000 million euros), plus imports of 1.56 million tons and exports of 1.08 million tons.

The sector will convey to the political parties the paradoxical situation that, in its opinion, fishermen are experiencing, pressured and “cornered” by the European green obsession , despite the fact that, as the FAO states in its vision on the Blue Transformation, “ Aquatic foods offer incredible potential to improve nutrition due to their high nutritional value and address food security challenges. These expectations are supported by their immense biological diversity, the greater efficiency of their production systems, their lower ecological footprint and lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to land-based animal production systems . In this sense, the sector remembers that, according to UNCTAD, the European fleet has managed to reduce its emissions by 52% since 1990 , currently representing just 0.01% of CO2 emissions in the world.

According to the sector, and as stated in its demands to political parties, current times require that the EU reinforce and once again place its production of primary foods, including seafood , at a prominent place on the agenda and structure of the European Commission (EC). To achieve this, the sector requests having a Fisheries Commissioner, unrelated to environmental responsibilities, and an executive vice president of food sovereignty .

The sector believes that the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) needs a surgical review and with a professional prism capable of rebalancing its objectives and reinforcing the socio-economic and food security dimensions , as well as ensuring that European fishermen remain competitive at an international level . Likewise, they request that unviable fishing policies be reviewed , such as the landing obligation, and that regulations be simplified , eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy.

Likewise, the sector points out, the EU must strengthen the external dimension of its fisheries policy to guarantee good international governance and redefine its basic principles on how to participate and position itself during bilateral, trilateral and multilateral fisheries negotiations in the field of international governance to adequately defend the interests of the European fleet .

In this regard, the sector will draw the attention of politicians to the need to apply mirror clauses to imports to avoid what is happening, for example, with the “slow and unstoppable decline” of the European tuna fleet (France and Spain). against third fleets, such as the Asian ones, in geographical areas such as the Indian Ocean. Furthermore, the sector points out, it happens that these fleets subsequently export their products to the European market even without meeting the environmental, health and social standards required of the European fleet. For this reason, fishermen are requesting the creation of a Euro-label for fishery products. It is worth remembering that last year alone the EU imported 35,000 tons of tuna loins covered by autonomous tariff quotas, of which 23,752 tons entered Spain free of tariffs, 98.96% coming from Asian countries.

The sector also requests to trust scientific data again in the face of the “extreme environmental witchcraft that seems to have cast a spell on a good part of European parliamentarians and the European Commission” and that leads the EU, the sector believes, to self-harm and impose closures of zones to fishing activity without an appropriate scientific basis and without a rigorous analysis of the socioeconomic impact for its fishermen and its citizens.

Thus, the sector requests the urgent review of the bans on bottom fishing in the 87 areas of the eastern Atlantic of the EU , following scientific recommendations and leaving bottom longline and gillnet gear outside the scope of the Implementing Regulation. .

The sector also appeals to rationality to address the fleet decarbonisation process and advocates for a transition with realistic deadlines , where there is close collaboration with the scientific and technological environment, legislative barriers, such as capacity restrictions, are eliminated. of ship tonnage, adequate financing formulas are sought and aligned with logistical developments not only in the EU, but in the world.

Finally, the sector is convinced that a new political approach to European fishing activity based on knowledge about its reality would make the sector an attractive alternative for new generations , thus solving the threat of generational change .

In this regard, and in the meantime, the sector demands that the full movement of European fishing workers in the EU and the validation of qualifications issued in EU Member States be facilitated, the development of educational Vocational Training programmes Dual more adapted to reality, as well as the relaxation of the regulations for hiring foreigners .