Working Together For Maritime Policy

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
8 October 2010, at 1:00am

EU - Speaking at the Istanbul Technical University, Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said that it was vital for the EU and Turkey to work together to address common challenges in the seas.

Giving a short update on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform, Ms Damanaki said: "The main approach of the future CFP will have number of axes, including the eco-system approach more market-based management instruments, objectives which strike the right environmental-economic-social balance, a less centralized governance framework and a strengthened role for the EU in the international arena.

"We hope to have put together a broad reform package by mid-2011, with everything ready for adoption in late 2012. So we hope that Turkey will help us deciding and implementing this reform.

"Our joint work in the Mediterranean and Black Sea is already bearing fruit. This is all to the good, because for the European Union close and continuous dialogue with Turkey is an absolute must as we pursue our policy goals of sustainable fisheries and resources.

"For me, our cooperation in relation to the annual meetings of fisheries organizations such as ICCAT (blue fin tuna) and the GFCM (Mediterranean Fisheries) an in supporting Turkey in bringing its legislation into line with the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy are central planks of our work on maritime affairs and fisheries.

"As regards blue fin tuna you know that I want to see fully science-based decisions taken there through constructive dialogue. I trust that Turkey shares our recovery aims for this stock and, to that end, will implement its commitments to improve control and compliance and reduce the overcapacity of its fleet.

"The Mediterranean is both close to my heart and a source of concern to me – not least where securing sustainable fisheries is concerned. In this regard the EU’s Mediterranean regulation is vital for the establishment of sustainable fisheries in this sea basin. The measures we are promoting through the regulation are not about making territory.

They are about responding to scientific advice for the good of the Mediterranean’s stocks and, by extension, of its fishing and maritime communities. The situation in the Black Sea is similar. There, the involvement of Turkish scientists in the work of our Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) has been proven most welcome and should, I believe, act as a springboard towards broader and formalised scientific cooperation. Looking at matters in a wider context, governance in the Mediterranean and Black Sea and in international fisheries cooperation as a whole should be our aims here.

"The main problem which still remains to be solved is the problem of control and compliance of the fisheries sector, to our common rules for Mediterranean and Black Sea. Here we have received a lot of complaints we have received from citizens, NGO’s and our inspectors of course. To deblock the situation I’ ve already proposed here in Turkey to the Ministers I have met, to establish a bilateral Turkey-EU project for fisheries control and compliance under the supervision of the European Fisheries Agency which is located in Vigo-Spain. "

She invited Turkey to participate in the EU's working groups. Discussing Maritime affairs, Ms Damanaki said that fully-fledged cooperation between Turkey and the EU in maritime affairs was just as important to her as the joint work on fisheries, for a number of reasons.

These include Turkey’s status as a candidate country and its strategic location connecting Asia to Europe, and East to West. They also relate to the all-important cooperation we enjoy in no less than two of the five seas surrounding the EU and the promise that Turkey’s well-developed maritime sector harbours for further growth and possible synergies with the EU. These are all important reasons in their own right.

The integrated Maritime Policy offers a unique opportunity to work across sectors and borders. It permits us to have a holistic approach about all actions in sea: Ship buildings, transport, energy, tourism, fisheries, environmental protection.

In a short space of time maritime policy has managed to change the way we deal with our maritime assets and has placed maritime issues high on Europe’s agenda. These achievements should encourage us to keep pushing the boundaries when it comes to taking concerted action for the good of our marine environment, maritime economy and security.

My view is clear: maritime policy offers a proactive and pragmatic approach to maritime affairs in the common interest of all countries sharing a sea basin. The tools at its disposal make it both a reliable means of enhancing economic development, environmental monitoring and safety on Europe’s oceans and seas and a potent force to unite communities and peoples.