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EU and African Fisheries Stakeholders Unite for Brighter Fishing Future

Sustainability Politics

GLOBAL - How can we combat illegal fishing, protect stocks from over-exploitation, and accrue social and economic benefits in non-EU waters? These are the questions that African and European fishers will aim to answer, coming together with NGOs and high-level policy makers at an exciting event to be hosted by the Long Distance Advisory Council (LDAC) in September this year.

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With a special focus on Africa, the EU’s role in improving environmental, economic and social sustainability in non-EU fisheries will be put under the spotlight at the international conference, “CFP: The External Dimension as a Driver for Change”.

Hosted by the Long Distance Advisory Council (LDAC), and with attendance from a range of industry, policy and NGO representatives from across the world, the event promises to generate new ideas for the practical implementation of the external dimension – a key outward-looking element of the Common Fisheries Policy.

More than 25 per cent of fish caught by EU vessels are actually taken outside EU waters. This means ‘external’ fishing activities contribute a huge amount of value – and seafood – to the European market.

Reflecting this, Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella will address the conference via video-link, and a significant contingent of DG MARE officials will be in attendance.

LDAC Executive Secretary, Alexandre Rodriguez, commented: “We are proud to have so many key policy players lined up to enthusiastically participate in this event. So far, delegates include representatives from the European fishing industry, African coastal communities, environmental and development NGOs, scientists and Member States' administrations. During the conference, we will hear from Isabella Lövin, Foreign Affairs Minister of Sweden, as well as from ministerial representation from Mauritania, the President of ATLAFCO-COMHAFAT, and the General Fisheries Director of Spain, Andrés Hermida, amongst others.”

Michel Goujon (Chair of LDAC WG and fishing industry representative from ORTHONGEL) and Raúl García (Vice-Chair of the LDAC and NGO representative from WWF), commented: “With fishing outside of EU waters playing such an important part for in the global supply of fish, we are all keen to attend this conference, meet with other colleagues and policy makers, and come out with some concrete conclusions regarding how the External Dimension will work for us, and for our counterparts overseas”.

As the EU is the largest single market for fisheries products in the world, it has a key responsibility in supporting good governance, and responsible exploitation in third countries’ waters. This is legislated for in the Common Fisheries Policy’s ‘external dimension’, which covers catches made under ‘fishing agreements’ with third countries, and those made on the high seas under the jurisdiction of ‘regional fishery management organisations’ (RFMOs).

With a new focus on sustainability in the external dimension following the reform of the CFP, fisheries stakeholders in the EU and further afield are poised to contribute new ideas to the practical implementation of this high-level policy. With a focus on bottom-up steps towards a brighter fishing future for all, sessions at this upcoming, collaborative, LDAC conference will be divided by theme: addressing how environmental, economic and social sustainability can be maximised in EU distant water fishing, as well as issues of good governance in international seas, fisheries investments in third countries and IUU fishing. There will also be in-depth ‘stakeholder only’ and ‘policy maker only’ panel sessions.

Find out more about the event, and register, here: