This declaration was developed by fishing, environment and development organizations in order to draw the attention of EU decision-makers to the challenges and opportunities of sustainable coastal and artisanal fishing. The declaration has been signed by over 70 organizations and will be presented to the EU Commission and Parliament over the coming weeks.
Artisanal coastal fishing activities, account for around 80% of the fleet (by vessel numbers), catch around 30% of the fish by value, and provide 65% of direct employment in European Union fisheries (1). Artisanal coastal fishing fleets that fish in a non-intensive manner, using a range of seasonally diverse fishing methods on a range of species, have a relatively low impact on the ecosystem.
Such fisheries also generate considerable ancillary jobs; they provide the social, economic and cultural fabric that sustains many coastal communities, where they make an important contribution to food security and political, social and economic stability.
Artisanal coastal fishing, if treated fairly, managed responsibly, with well defined rights, has the potential to deliver healthy fisheries over the long-term and sustainable livelihoods.
Artisanal coastal fishing fleets are highly dependent on the grounds they exploit and operate in some of the most sensitive and biologically rich marine ecosystems. As a result they have developed a broad range of responsible management measures. If given support and provided with equal opportunities by the European Union, by national administrations and by an appropriate legal framework, building on such measures could assure sustainable fisheries as well as the conservation of valuable marine ecosystems across Europe.
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), as promoters of marine resources conservation, social justice and economic equity, have an important role to play in raising public awareness about the future of fish stocks and sustainable development. They seek to democratise the policy-making and decision-making processes, make institutional processes more transparent and decision-makers more accountable
Artisanal coastal fishing interests and NGOs both tend to be under-represented in decision-making fora, where they are given less participation rights, support and consideration than other interests.
Our organisations of artisanal coastal fishers and NGOs share a common interest in placing European fisheries on a sustainable footing by supporting the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in ways which ensure the recovery of fish stocks and marine habitats where necessary, the promotion of sustainable fisheries, a just allocation of fishing access based on social and environmental criteria, and an equitable distribution of the benefits derived from these activities.
We therefore have agreed to work together on the CFP reform to achieve these objectives, and we call on the EU Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, the EU Fisheries Ministers and the Members of the European Parliament to ensure that:
(1) No EU wide definition of coastal artisanal fishing exists. These figures are indicative, not absolute. They were provided by DG Mare as a portrait of small-scale coastal fisheries at the Seminar on Small Scale Coastal Fisheries on February 25 2010 in Brussels. 77% of the EU fleet are under 12 metres non-trawlers; estimates based on the Annual Economic Report indicate that vessels under 12 metres provide 65% of employment and 30% of the catch by value, subject to the uncertainty of the economic data provided by Member States.