Europe’s fishing industry is at a critical point, while the European Parliament, Fisheries Committee and DGs face huge responsibilities, according to EAPO President Pim Visser

The new European Parliament is facing a huge responsibility, according to Pim Visser, president of the European Association of Fish Producers Organisations (EAPO), speaking after reviewing the outcomes of its AGM in Skagen earlier this summer.

He commented that presentation on governance challenges for the European seafood industry by a guest speaker at the AGM contributed substantially to this outcome.

‘There is a huge responsibility for the new European Parliament – particularly the members of the Fisheries Committee – and for the Directorates General of the European Commission acting on fisheries aspects,’ Pim Visser said.

‘A well-structured representation of the fishing industry must be available to provide grassroots expert input from the sector so that these important institutions are well informed to make balanced legislative and governance decisions. The recent Commission decision to implement emergency procedures to the Eastern Baltic cod fishery is an example of the lack of awareness of the industry’s capability to assist in solving sustainability problems.’

At the AGM this year Pim Visser proposed to the EAPO Executive Committee a number of short-term action points for the European fishing industry. Aspects put forward are the economic, social and environmental objectives of the current and future Common Fisheries Policies, including the impact of climate change and the implementation of the Single Use Plastics Directive.

He commented that besides all these challenges, there is the Brexit elephant in the room creating difficulties for many parts of the EU fishing industry to plan ahead – hence his statement that the European fishing industry finds itself at a critical turning point.

The future of EU fisheries representation was a key subject at this year’s EAPO AGM, hosted by the two Danish members (Danmarks Fiskeriforening PO and Danmarks Pelagiske PO). Around the meeting the hosts organised a variety of activities which included an early morning visit to seafood related companies in the busy fishing port of Skagen.

The EAPO President expressed his gratitude to the hosts for setting the scene for achieving a general awareness under the membership of the need for an ambitious work plan for joint European fisheries representation.

EAPO President Pim Visser