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Commercial Fishing



Transnational Institute report on fishing criticised. The Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association has responded to the recent TNI report ‘Dangerously 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.

A statement from the PFA said:

“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.

“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