Vella has stronger grasp on fisheries but still vague & evasive – fish4tomorrow

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Vella has stronger grasp on fisheries but still vague & evasive - fish4tomorrowOn Monday Karmenu Vella, Commissioner Designate for the environment, fisheries, and maritime policy faced a three hour grilling session by MEPs as part of his confirmation hearing.

fish4tomorrow, in reaction to the hearing said in a statement today that “the way Mr Vella dealt with a number of questions was far from convincing. However, he did appear to have more grasp and vision when the topic of discussion was fisheries.”

“It was encouraging to hear Mr Vella express his support for small scale fishing operations and how he believed the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) should pay more attention to this sector. Mr Vella also reiterated that fishing at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) is the fulcrum of the new Common Fisheries Policy reform. This means that the new policy will aim to fish at levels which ensures the sustainability of fish stocks,” the NGO said.

It added, “other issues Mr Vella showed promise on were the importance of shark conservation, on taking decisions based on scientific advice and research, and how he believes that illegal fishing needs to be tackled with the utmost urgency.”

“Mr Vella was still vague on most issues and failed to provide concrete answers on a number of questions. In other instances he appeared to evade questions altogether such as when Mr Vella was asked about how he plans to deal with Europe’s heavy reliance on imported fish, what his plans are for aquaculture, and how he aims to tackle the issue of how industrial fishing is damaging the fishing industry in areas like the Baltic region,” fish4tomorrow concluded.

The fish4tomorrow campaign was formed in 2010 following several discussions between different Maltese NGOs and environmentalists regarding the state of Maltese and European fisheries.

fish4tomorrow aims to create a culture of sustainable seafood consumption through effective campaigning and lobbying. To do this, the coalition will assist restaurants and markets in addressing the issue of overfishing by helping them to identify and highlight sustainable seafood choices in their establishments.

The campaign promotes establishments which serve and promote sustainable seafood and will help build public support and enthusiasm for the sensible management of Malta’s fish stocks. Ultimately, the fish4tomorrow campaign strives to increase the demand for environmentally sustainable seafood in Malta.

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