Aquaculture for all

Failure of CFP Reform is too High a Cost

Sustainability Politics

EU - The price of a failed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is high, said Guus Pastoor, President of the European Fish Processors Association and the European Federation of National Organisations of Importers and Exporters of Fish (AIPCE-CEP). Charlotte Johnston, TheFishSite editor reports.

There are disastrous consequences if the market does not accept the CFP reform, he said, addressing a debate at World Fisheries Congress 2012.

He laid out what he believes are the key components to the reform and what their failures would mean:

  • Reform to better manage fish stocks - failure to do this will result in ecological loss.
  • Optimise fishing and market opportunities - failure will result in economic loss.
  • Restore societies confidence in fisheries - failure of this will mean a loss of reputation in seafood.

Consumers already have a negative perception of CFP, which means the changes this time must be hard hitting and effective, he said.

Mr Pastoor said to achieve this the whole industry must work together.

Working with imported fish

Mr Pastoor said that it was necessary to import fish products into the EU due to their being a supply deficit. The EU processes around 4.4 million tonnes of fish a year, he said, with a value of 23 billion to the economy. However EU consumers demand 13 million tonnes of fish products a year, meaning 9.6 million tonnes must be imported.

"Our market is too big to deliver too ourselves," he said. "Whilst a past failed CFP is partially to blame for EU imports, even with a successful CFP there would still be a need for imports to satisfy demand."

Demand is growing between one to 1.5 per cent a year, which means that in 20 years the EU will require an extra 1.5 million tonnes of fish.

Commenting that imported fish were no less inferior to domestic catches, as is often believed, Mr Pastoor said that as well as modernising the CFP, there were other ways which fishermen could add value to their catch.

The worst day to land catch is a Friday, he said, yet many do it. The popularity of fish increases at a weekend, and by landing catch on a Friday there is not enough time to process the fish to catch the weekend markets, he said.

"There are a number of ways to improve value throughout the chain," he concluded. "We just need to change the mindset."

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