Responsible and sustainable management of fisheries requires decisions based on solid foundations. The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) opinion on data collection in the fisheries sector , adopted at the plenary session on 10 February, underlines the crucial importance of free access to the data collected and of taking better account of the needs of local and regional authorities.
"In many regions fisheries are a major source of employment for local people. This is also true of the fish processing sector, which is concentrated around fishing areas and which often provides considerably more employment than the extractive sector. We must bear in mind that fishing has a history and culture going back hundreds of years. It is also part of the landscape and a tourist attraction", according to Olgierd Geblewicz (PL/EPP), Marshal of the Western Pomeranian Region and the author of this opinion.
Creating an EU framework for collecting, managing and using data in the fisheries sector is an important part of the establishment of a common fisheries policy at the regional level. Amendments to the Commission proposal , providing for consultation with local and regional authorities in regions where fisheries play an important role, will allow these authorities to take informed decisions.
In order to develop long-term policies and ensure efficient fisheries management, local and regional authorities must be able to draw on data and scientific advice. A holistic approach to fisheries will not upset the balance of the marine ecosystem and will prevent any irreversible consequences.
Mr Geblewicz's opinion also stresses the importance of collecting data for qualitative and quantitative analysis of the blue economy and the need to present the data in a format that could be used by local and regional authorities.
It also underlines the importance of socio-economic data in fisheries and aquaculture, which in the medium term could help to harmonise and improve social legislation in these sectors and provide new opportunities for jobs and growth in coastal areas.
It is estimated that for every euro invested in data collection, control and enforcement in the fishing industry, there is a potential tenfold return.
Across the European Union, 116, 000 people work in the fish processing industry and around 85, 000 in aquaculture. The Spanish fisheries industry alone employs one quarter of the people working in this sector across the EU, and the four major fishing countries (Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece) account for around 70%.
Common Fisheries Policy
The CFP is a set of rules for managing European fishing fleets and for conserving fish stocks. The CFP aims to ensure that fisheries and aquaculture are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable and that they provide a source of healthy food for EU citizens. Its other goal is to foster dynamic growth in the fisheries industry and ensure a fair standard of living for fishing communities. The current policy stipulates that between 2015 and 2020 catch limits should be set that are sustainable and maintain fish stocks in the long term. The reform also changes the way in which the CFP is managed, giving EU countries greater control at national and regional level.
The European Committee of the Regions
The European Committee of the Regions is the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives from all 28 Member States. Created in 1994 following the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, its mission is to involve regional and local authorities in the EU's decision-making process and to inform them about EU policies. The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission consult the Committee in policy areas affecting regions and cities. To sit on the European Committee of the Regions, all of its 350 members and 350 alternates must either hold an electoral mandate or be politically accountable to an elected assembly in their home regions and cities. Click here for more details on your national delegation.
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