“There is a strong economic case, and not just a social and a cultural one, to preserve and enhance future traditional fishing in the same way that this is being done for fish stocks,” MEP Alfred Sant told the European Parliament.
Dr Sant, explaining his vote in favour of the report, “Status of fish stocks and socio-economic situation of the fishing sector in the Mediterranean” at the European Parliament, said that, “we can no longer ignore the fact that institutionally and economically, the position of traditional fishermen was not sufficiently taken into account when conservation policies were being drafted.”
“In part this happened because the legitimate interests of these fishermen were not adequately represented and assessed, in the face of a fast growing and politically effective `modern industrial’ sector,” he added.
The Maltese MEP remarked that, “this has got to be corrected. Fortunately, there is a growing awareness among traditional fishermen even in the remoter areas that they need to mobilise more effectively. For even now, there are some who consider traditional fishing as an economically non-viable activity which must be tolerated till it dies out on its own.”
Dr Sant continued by saying, “I voted for this resolution because it makes a serious effort to consider traditional and artisanal fishing as an integral part of the fisheries sector in the Mediterranean, giving members of this community the prominence they deserve, while relating it in a realistic way to the effective management of fish stocks.”
The dramatic decline of Mediterranean fish stocks is dealt with in the Report – more than 90% of those assessed are overexploited, with some on the verge of collapse.
Dr Sant said that it stresses the need to improve stock assessment (data collection, availability and analysis; suggesting a common database) as well as control and surveillance, and to strengthen cooperation among Mediterranean countries (EU and non-EU), particularly in view of tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The Report, he said, refers to preferential treatment for small and artisanal fisheries as well as the need for a guarantee for a basic income for fishermen during `biological rest periods.’
It also refers specifically to talks on the problem of poor data as regards to fishing and the need to further involve fishermen in the decision-making process. The Report deals with the third country factor and the impact that fishermen from non-EU countries have on fishing in the Mediterranean.
The Resolution was approved with 558 votes in favour, 43 against, and 35 abstentions.