"In many regions fisheries are a major source of employment for local people. This is also true of the fish processing sector, which is concentrated around fishing areas and which often provides considerably more employment than the extractive sector. We must bear in mind that fishing has a history and culture going back hundreds of years. It is also part of the landscape and a tourist attraction," according to Olgierd Geblewicz (PL/EPP), Marshal of the Western Pomeranian Region and the author of this opinion.
Creating an EU framework for collecting, managing and using data in the fisheries sector is an important part of the establishment of a common fisheries policy at the regional level. Amendments to the Commission proposal, providing for consultation with local and regional authorities in regions where fisheries play an important role, will allow these authorities to take informed decisions.
In order to develop long-term policies and ensure efficient fisheries management, local and regional authorities must be able to draw on data and scientific advice. A holistic approach to fisheries will not upset the balance of the marine ecosystem and will prevent any irreversible consequences.
Mr Geblewicz's opinion also stresses the importance of collecting data for qualitative and quantitative analysis of the blue economy and the need to present the data in a format that could be used by local and regional authorities.
It also underlines the importance of socio-economic data in fisheries and aquaculture, which in the medium term could help to harmonise and improve social legislation in these sectors and provide new opportunities for jobs and growth in coastal areas.
It is estimated that for every euro invested in data collection, control and enforcement in the fishing industry, there is a potential tenfold return.