The European Fisheries Policy is currently one of the most important issues on the agenda of Policy Coherence for Development (PCD) due to its influence on developing countries. With direct impact on the lives of more than 150 million people, policies on fishing involve the sustainability of fish stocks, but also in the daily life of thousands of people belonging to fishing communities, where sometimes situations of extreme economic and social fragility are encountered.
Aware of the challenges facing the European fisheries sector, the MEP João Ferreira – Vice-President of the Confederal Group of the European United Left / Nordic Green Left and member of the Fisheries Committee – met on 25th May with the IMVF team of project Coerência.pt. The ultimate goal was to prepare a written opinion on the Policy Coherence for Development in the fisheries sector that the MEP will soon provide to the relevant technical Commission.
The European Union has sought to have a strong and active voice in promoting a Fisheries Policy that is more just and sustainable. The reform of the European Fisheries Policy may be a firm step in the promotion and defence of a Coherent Fisheries Policy aligned with the objectives of development. But it is essential to increase the synergies between actions and policies in the areas of Fisheries, Trade, Environment, Innovation and Research among others, that is, it is imperative to strengthen the Policy Coherence for Development to give voice to the aspirations of the developing countries so they are able to reformulate their fisheries sector in a sustained and sustainable way, thus enabling them to ensure their food security and sovereignty.
There are three fundamental issues that the PCD seeks to address as regards fisheries:
1: The sustainability of fish stocks and their impact on the day-to-day of fishing communities in developing countries;
2: Consistency between the Partnership in the Field of Fisheries and objectives for Development Cooperation in partner countries, and the impact of financial compensations paid to partner countries for on the right to fish.
3: Developing a regional system for monitoring and governing marine resources.
In the Commission’s Statement on the external dimension of the Common Fisheries Policy, the PCD is approached as an insurmountable question. The Commission also highlights the need for improved scientific information as well as conducting scientific audits. The respect for Human Rights is also protected as an essential condition for the celebration and renewal of fishing agreements.
The proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council on the common fisheries policy highlights the need to specify the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP); greater consistency between the strategic initiatives of the CFP; the preservation of marine biological resources; reforming the common market, among others.
The dice are cast. It is now for the EU to incorporate innovative and sustainable measures in the reform of the European Fisheries Policy. But this requires a genuine political will that can prevent the common tragedy (a dilemma that arises from the situation in which multiple individuals acting independently and rationally according to their own interests ultimately undermine, ultimately a shared but limited resource, even when it is clear that in the long-term nobody will benefit from this destruction) and go towards a sustainable fisheries sector, consistent with the goals and values of the EU. This is the time to act.
Because development is a shared responsibility. What will be your role?
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