• agri-food,
  • biodiversity,
  • environment,
  • fisheries,
  • Workers' rights

The European Parliament approved this week with 408 votes in favour, 66 against and 44 abstentions, the report on “The situation of small-scale fishing in the European Union and future prospects”, for which MEP João Pimenta Lopes (PCP, Portugal) was rapporteur.

Small-scale fishing is strategically vital for the supply of fish and for ensuring the food security and sovereignty of various Member States.

Artisanal fisheries are essential to coastal communities’ cultural heritage and provide employment and the public supply of high-quality fish to millions of people.

Since the 1980s, the number of fishermen dwindled from the Baltic to the Mediterranean and from the Atlantic to the Black Sea. Nonetheless, it accounts for three quarters of the fishing fleet in the EU and half of the working force with some 80 thousand fishermen, not to mention the indirect jobs that depend on this fishing segment (ports, transformation, distribution or restaurants).

EU fisheries policies heavily favour large-scale fish industry, often to the detriment of the smaller-scale sector. Small-scale fishers struggle to make their voice heard at Member State and EU levels, and while the Commission has a mouth full of intentions, actions remain absent to safeguard this fishing segment.

The future of small-scale, coastal and artisanal fishing depends on immediate, meaningful and effective measures, enabling the specific problems affecting this part of the fishing sector to be addressed. In the report, MEP João Pimenta Lopes suggests increasing fishing incomes, renewing, modernising and capacitating the fleet, enhancing the profession’s attractiveness, training young people and improving operating and safety conditions. There is an urgent need to support this segment, potentially the most sustainable both from an environmental and social dimension, to guarantee fishermen’s livelihoods are increased.

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