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Poland Urged To Lead Way For Sustainable Fisheries

POLAND - Baltic businesses and conservationists gathered at a seminar last week calling on Poland to lead progress on an ambitious reform of Europes Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Following the release of the CFP reform proposal by the European Commission on 13 July, the meeting stressed the opportunity before the Polish Presidency of the European Union to move Europe away from annual quota negotiations and set European fisheries on a stable track towards rapid recovery.

At the international seminar held under the patronage of the Polish Presidency of the European Union, representatives of industry, governments from Baltic countries, the European Commission and Parliament, the Baltic Sea Regional Advisory Council, as well as scientists, fishermen and NGOs discussed the opportunity for the Baltic Sea to serve as a model for Europes future fisheries management.

The meeting showcased the positive outcomes of fisheries management in the Baltic region including the Baltic Cod management plan, which has systematically followed scientific advice since entering into force in 2007. Also in 2007, all Baltic EU member states jointly committed themselves to combatting illegal fishing, working towards a culture of compliance and improving control and enforcement.

These two examples were highlighted as critical steps leading to the recovery of Baltic Cod. They demonstrate the need of setting clear and binding targets through long-term management plans and the importance of including such plans in the reformed CFP.

Baltic representatives of the WWF / Industry Alliance for CFP reform emphasised the need for the CFP reform to make ecosystem based long-term management plans mandatory for all EU fisheries by 2015, introduce effective regionalisation, maximise the value from catch to consumer and ensure that the CFP principles apply to all fisheries in EU waters and beyond.

WWF and its industry allies believe that this is a once in a decade opportunity to set right what the CFP has failed to deliver to date sustainable fisheries.

With three out of four assessed fish stocks in Europe overfished, a fleet which continues to be two to three times too large to be sustainable, and a 30 per cent fall in landings at EU ports between 1998 and 2008, an ambitious CFP reform is needed to ensure fish stocks recover and Europes fisheries return to prosperity. Without fish there is no future for fishermen, fishing communities or fishing industries.

During the meeting Leszek Dybiec, Adviser to the Minister, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said: "The Polish presidency strongly supports dialogue between all interested parties on the CFP reform as a vital contribution to the discussion on the package that has just been initiated in July. We are devoted to advance discussions on reform as far as possilbe in the second half of 2011 so as to faciliate the entry into force of the needed renewed CFP by 2013."

WWF's Fisheries Policy Officer, Ewa Milewska said: In the trinity of social, economic and environmental sustainability, the environment must take centre stage when reforming the CFP. Without healthy seas to support abundant fish populations there will be no fishing or fishing industry. Only a fundamental reform will guarantee Europes consumers a rich variety of responsibly and locally caught fish in the future.

Alex Olsen, Espersen, representing AIPCE-CEP said: "Sustainable fish stocks are crucial for us as processors and traders. Without fish no trade nor production. Therefore, we do have an urgent need for long term management plans for all fish stocks and a more decentralised management systems as tools to bring all European fish stocks to maximum sustainable yeild levels before 2015".

Jean Bos, representing Euro-Toques Poland said: Euro-Toques chefs are looking for high quality, sustainably caught, fresh local fish: this is why an ambitious reform of the CFP in terms of long-term fisheries management and effective regionalisation is essential to ensure the sustainability of stocks.

Per Baummann, representing EuroCoop and Eurocommerce said: "It is not possible to negotiate with Nature. Consumers expect that all goods they find in supermarkets are safeguarded by the companies providing them and that the sourcing of these goods should not threaten our common future".

the Fish Site Editor

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