Scale Matters: Quality Counts – Securing sustainability through the CFP Reform


We, the undersigned organisations, representing artisanal coastal and inland fishworkers, development and environmental NGOs and other stakeholders, 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 habitats, the promotion of best practice, a just allocation of fishing access based on social and environmental criteria, and an equitable distribution of the benefits derived from these activities. 

New fisheries policies that reward best practices with preferential access to fish resources, and target capacity reduction programmes so as to eliminate the most harmful fishing methods would go a long way to placing European fisheries on a more sustainable footing. 

This was recognized in the European Parliament resolution on the Green Paper adopted in February 2010. The resolution highlighted that, although local fishing communities should be given primary access to fish stocks, access rights should no longer be based solely on the criterion of historical catches. Rather, environmental and social criteria should gradually be introduced to determine who should have access to fishery resources, where the use of such criteria could foster a dynamic that would lead to improved fishing practices and a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable fishing industry. (1)

A significant proportion of the European fleet is small in scale and fishes in a non-intensive manner, using a range of seasonally diverse fishing methods on a range of species, with a relatively low impact on the ecosystem. This artisanal segment of the coastal and inland fisheries generates considerable ancillary jobs and provides the social, economic and cultural fabric that sustains many communities, where it makes an important contribution to food supplies and political, social and economic stability. This has been highlighted in the 2009 Statement from the Brussels Workshop on Common Fisheries Policy Reform in the European Union and Small-Scale Fisheries (2) and in the 2010 A Coruña Statement (3), amongst others. However, the qualitative aspects of different fishing gears and practices have been largely overlooked by the Commission in its reform package.

Coastal artisanal fishers are likely to be marginalised under the compulsory regime of Transferable Fishing Concessions as proposed by the Commission. Such a regime will favour the most economically powerful enterprises rather than the most sustainable fishery activities. However, if treated fairly, managed responsibly and given well defined fishing access, these kinds of fishery activities have the potential to deliver healthy fisheries and sustainable livelihoods over the long-term.

European Commission projections show employment in the fish catching sector is set to decline by 60% over the next 10 years, with the heaviest losses falling on the artisanal sector, which employs around 65% of the fisheries workforce.

We therefore call on the Members of the European Parliament, the Member States of the EU, and the Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs to turn the tide by:

  • Providing priority access to fish resources to those who fish in the most environmentally and socially sustainable way. Sustainability criteria should rank access to resources, favouring those who have the least impact on the marine environment, who can demonstrate compliance and who operate within and contribute to local communities;
  • Revoking the compulsory nature of the proposed Transferable Fishing Concessions (TFCs) scheme and providing a range of tools to be selected and adapted to enable the allocation of access to fishing opportunities based on sustainability criteria; 
  • Including firm timelines for the development and adoption of multiannual plans that apply the appropriate measures through genuine bottom-up, participative co-management processes, through co-management committees, and giving due weight to sustainable development while ensuring the involvement and collaboration of all segments in the sector and stakeholders; and
  • Establishing and applying clear conditions and protocols to avoid conflicts between different users targeting shared stocks or common fishing grounds.

List of signatories:

  1. 40+ Fishing Boat Association
  2. 5 Terre Academy
  3. Acció Natura
  4. Amigos de la Tierra España
  5. An Taisce
  6. Archipelagos, Institute of Marine Conservation
  7. Asociació de Naturalitstes de Girona (ANG)
  8. Asociacion de Armadores de Artes Menores de Catalunya (ADAMEC)
  9. Asociación de Defensa Medioambiental Salvemos Monteferro
  10. Asociación para la Investigación del Mar (AIMARES)
  11. Associação Portuguesa para o Estudo e Conservação dos Elasmobrânquios (APECE)
  12. Associació Catalana d´Oceanògrafes i Oceanògrafs (ACOIO)
  13. Association des Ligneurs de la Pointe de Bretagne
  14. Associazione Locale-Globale
  15. Ateneu Juvenil, Cultural i Naturalista de Girona
  16. Baltic Environmental Forum
  17. Baltic Wolf
  18. BirdLife Europe
  19. Birdwatch Ireland
  20. BLOOM association
  21. Blue Ventures
  22. Bridport Commercial Boatowners and Fishermen's Association
  23. Cadgwith and Helford Fishermen's Association
  24. Cardigan Bay Fishermen's Association
  25. Cátedra de Estudios Marítimos, Universitat de Girona
  26. Centre d’Etude, de Recherche-Action et d’Appuis pour le Développement  (CERAD)
  27. Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB)
  28. Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements (CFFA)
  29. Coastal Fisherman Union of Rethymnon
  30. Coastwatch Europe
  31. Cofradía de Pescadores de Cedeira
  32. Cofradía de Pescadores de l'Estartit
  33. Collectif Bar Européen
  34. Comité Local des Pêches Maritimes et des Élevages Marins du Var
  35. Community Atgaja
  36. Community of Arran Seabed Trust Limited
  37. Confédération Africaine des Organisations de Pêche Artisanale (CAOPA)
  38. Confraria de Pescadors de Sitges
  39. Cooperativa Porto de Abrigo
  40. Coral Cay Conservation
  41. Cornish Handliners Association
  42. Danish Society for a Living Sea
  43. Danmarks Naturfredningsforening
  44. Deepwave
  45. DEPANA - Lliga Per a la Defensa del Patrimoni Natural
  46. Deutsche Umwelthilfe
  47. Dingle Oceanworld
  48. Donegal Small Islands Fishermen
  49. Eastbourne Fisherman’s Protection Society
  50. Ecologistas en Acción
  51. Eko-Unia
  52. Enalia Physis - Environmental Research Centre
  53. Environmental Centre for Administration and Technology
  54. Environmental Information Center
  55. Estonian Sportfishing Federation
  56. EuroNatur
  57. European Network for Women in Fisheries and Aquaculture (AKTEA)
  58. Fair Oceans
  59. Federación Galega de Cofradías de Pescadores
  60. Finnish Association for Nature Conservation
  61. Fish Fight
  62. Fishermens Federation for Small-scale fishery in Sweden (SYEF)
  63. Fishing For Jobs
  64. Fondazione Cetacea
  65. Fundació ENT
  66. Fundació Mar
  67. Fundación Lonxanet para la Pesca Sostenible
  68. Fundacja Sprzatanie Świata - Polska
  69. Galway Atlantaquaria
  70. Gent del Ter
  71. Gesellschaft zum Schutz der Meeressäugetiere e.V. (GSM)
  72. Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine
  73. Global Water Partnership
  74. Goede Vissers
  75. Greenhouse Malta
  76. GreenLife
  77. Greenpeace
  78. Grupo de Estudos de Ordenamento do Territorio e Ambiente GEOTA
  79. Grups d'Estudis Socials, Universitat de Girona
  80. Hastings Fishermen's Protection Society
  81. Iberian Biodiversity
  82. Institut de Medi Ambient de la Unversitat de Girona (IMA – UdG)
  83. Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Medio Ambiente (IIDMA)
  84. International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)
  85. Irish Bass
  86. Irish Seal Sanctuary
  87. Irish Wildlife Trust
  88. Irukandji Aquatik Films
  89. Kenna EcoDiving
  90. Klub Gaja
  91. Latvian Anglers Association
  92. Liffeysound Radio
  93. Liga para a protecçao da natureza
  94. Lighthouse Foundation
  95. Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux
  96. Lithuania Association
  97. Lithuanian Entomological Society
  98. Lithuanian Fund for Nature
  99. Lithuanian Ornithological Society
  100. M.E.E.R.
  101. Marefondum
  102. Marevivo
  103. Marine Conservation Society
  104. Marine Network of Friends of the Earth, England Wales and Northern Ireland - MARINET
  105. Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles (Medasset)
  106. Mediterranean Platform of Artisanal Fishers
  107. Mediterrània-CIE
  108. Mudeford and District Fishermen's Association
  109. National Association of Small Boat Owners of Iceland
  110. National Sea Life Centre Bray
  111. Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU)
  112. Nature Trust (Malta)
  113. Natuurpunt
  114. Nederlandse Elasmobranchen Vereniging
  115. Nederlandse Netwerk voor Vrouwen in de Visserij VinVis
  116. NEREO
  117. Netherlands Inland Fishers Association
  118. New Economics Foundation
  119. New Under Ten Fishermen's Association
  120. Noé Conservation
  121. North West Traditional Fishermen
  122. Observatori de deute en la Globalització
  123. OCEAN2012
  124. Oceana
  125. OceanCare Switzerland
  126. Oceanográfica: Divulgación, Educación y Ciencia
  128. Orford and District Inshore Fishermen’s Association
  129. Our Earth Foundation
  130. People Uniting and Generating Aid for Development (PUGAD)
  131. Pew Environment Group
  132. Plataforma rural - Alianzas por un mundo rural vivo
  133. Polish Ecological Club
  134. Poole & District Fishermen's Association
  135. Pro Wildlife e.V.
  136. Professional Fisheries Association of Fourni Korseon “O Glaros”
  137. Prud’homie de Pêche de La Seyne-sur-Mer
  138. Prud'homie de Pêche de Sanary
  139. Quercus (Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza)
  140. Red de Semillas "Resembrando e Intercambiando"
  141. Rede de colectivos Foro Social de Cangas
  142. Reef Check
  143. SCIAENA - Marine Sciences and Cooperation
  144. Scottish Creelers and Divers
  145. Sea First Foundation
  146. Seas At Risk
  147. Share the World's Resources
  148. Shark Trust
  149. Sharklab
  150. Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity
  151. Societat Catalana d’Educació Ambiental
  152. SOS Grand Bleu
  153. South Coast Fisherman's Council
  154. Stichting de Noordzee
  155. Submarinistas en Acción
  156. Sustainable Development Initiatives (DVI)
  157. Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust
  158. Swale Fisherman`s Association
  159. Swanage Fishermen's Association
  160. Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)
  161. Tethys Research Institute
  162. The Fisheries Secretariat
  163. The Gowienica Rivers Association
  164. Union Intersyndicale des Petits Métiers de Pêche de Méditerranée (UIPMPM)
  165. Verdegaia
  166. Veterinaris Sense Fronteres (VsF)
  167. WWF
  168. Xarxa de Custòdia del Territori

Notes to editor:


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