Today May 26th, small-scale fishers in France will observe the “Bluefin tuna for small-scale fishers” day. The same day, a handful of French tuna millionaires, owners of 22 industrial purse seiners, will commence tuna fishing in the Mediterranean. Between them, they have appropriated 80% of the national Bluefin tuna quota, whilst hundreds of small-scale fishers on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts do not have the right to catch a single tuna.
Across Europe, small scale fisheries continue to provide the majority of fishing livelihoods (over 50% of at sea employment) and to constitute the majority of the fishing fleet (75% by vessel numbers). Yet, due to discriminatory policies that favour larger scale more industrialised forms of fishing, small-scale fishing fleets’ access to fishery resources has been squeezed. Nowhere is this more so than for Bluefin tuna. What is true for France, is true for other EU coastal states, as we highlighted back in 2017 in the documentary Blue Hope Tuna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XBTLToZP-r4
Small scale fishing is naturally a seasonally diverse, polyvalent activity, using a variety of techniques to catch an array of species, providing jobs locally and supporting local communities. However, starved of quota, small scale fishers have come to rely on a handful of non-quota species, which has increased their vulnerability and the vulnerability of the stocks they depend on. Access to Bluefin tuna would help to improve the viability of small scale fishing as well as to take pressure off the handful of stocks on which they depend.
Despite years of lobbying for a just quota allocation for small-scale fishers, little progress has been made. In 2006, a stringent recovery plan was put in place for Eastern Bluefin tuna, which saw quotas being slashed and allocated only to the larger industrial fleets. The success of the plan saw year on year quota increases since 2014 but so far all the benefits have been pocketed by those who caused the problem in the first place: the industrial purse seiners. To add insult to injury, any future allocation of tuna quota intended to benefit small scale fishers is likely to be purloined by larger scale interests. The proposal for a multiannual plan put forward in 2019 by the international tuna management body, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), defines small scale fishing in such a way as to allow any size of fishing vessel using any kind of gear to qualify as small-scale, so long as the vessel complies with at least 3 of 5 criteria making the definition a big loophole to define any boat, benefiting the usual large-scale fleet. On the basis of the current ICCAT definition, for example, a tuna catching vessel may be over 12 metres, and/or not using techniques that are selective and with a reduced environmental, so long as it satisfies the other 3.
Thanks to the recovery of Bluefin tuna stocks, in 2014 ICCAT proposed an annual quota increase of 20% over 3 years. In 2017, it recommended progressive quota increases up to 36 000 tonnes in 2020, and in 2018 ICCAT moved from the recovery plan to a management plan. However, only a relative pittance from these massive increases has been allocated to small-scale fishers.
The Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE), a platform representing 31 associations of small-scale low impact fishers from 15 EU member states, incorporating around 10,000 fishers is calling for quota justice. This should include setting aside at least 15% of the quota for small-scale hook and line fishers.
Such an allocation would provide a necessary oxygen bubble and help to breathe life into an ailing sector starved of fishing opportunities.
The 2019 ICCAT Multiannual Management Plan for Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea defines “small scale coastal vessels” as catching vessels with at least three of the five following characteristics: a) length overall <12 m; b) the vessel is fishing exclusively inside the territorial waters of the flag CPC c) her fishing trips have a duration of less than 24 hours, or d) the maximum crew number is established at four persons, e) the vessel is fishing using techniques that are selective and have a reduced environmental impact.
Action contre l’injustice de la répartition du quota de thon rouge
Le 26 mai 2020, la flottille de thoniers senneurs de Méditerranée débutera sa campagne de pêche du thon rouge. La Plateforme pour la Petite Pêche Française invite tous les pêcheurs artisans, en Atlantique ou en Méditerranée de communiquer aussi largement que possible sur la répartition inéquitable des quotas de pêche en France.
Fishers are fighting the storm, locked down and chained up.
24th of April 2020
Across the EU, the work of fishers and other food producers has been classed as essential. Fishers are struggling heroically, putting their lives at risk to bring food to our tables.
Despite this, lockdown and sanitary measures have closed markets at both home and abroad, creating a devastating impact. The EU has stepped in with amendments to the 2014-2020 EMFF allowing unspent monies to be used to support temporary cessation of activities and for storage aid. Member States are responding to the crisis in different ways, some with comprehensive packages of measures, as in the UK and Italy. Others like Ireland and Cyprus are doing little. In Ireland storage aid will be provided, whilst the authorities search for unused EFFF funds. We hear that in Cyprus the authorities’ response if to provide grants for temporary cessation.
LIFE members from the Zygi Fishers Association in Cyprus have updated us on how the island is fighting the #COVID19 storm: “The situation in Zygi is devastating for the fishers. In order to comply with the administration’s lockdown measures the local market which sells fish to restaurants was closed down and some fishers had to suspend their activities. There is another fish market where we usually sell fish but it can no longer buy our catch. The national government has offered € 1000 euros per month to vessels prepared to tie up during the lockdown. Some fishers applied for this financial help while others declined. Officials say this is the maximum they can do but we are sure that more could be done although at the moment we do not have any information on whether the government will be able to increase such help. The harbour looks pretty depressing. The boats of the fishers who suspended their work have been chained up by the Fisheries department. However we are optimistic that this is a temporary storm… and fishers know a lot about storms!”
LIFE advocates providing income support to fishers, who as self employed entrepreneurs often fall outside the social security system and have difficulties to access unemployment benefit.
Covid 19: Irish Islands’ Call for Tailored Emergency Measures for Small Scale Fishers
9th of April 2020
The Irish Islands Marine Organization (IIMRO http://www.iimro.org/index.html), representing islanders from Counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Cork, report that practically all of their members are tied up at present because of the collapse in the markets that usually take catches. The challenges presented by social distancing measures on small vessels are still being examined and it looks like these will remain for the foreseeable future. Many of island fishers have invested in gear for the coming season and will now not be in a position to fish for traditional markets with the subsequent loss of income that entails.
In terms of measures to support small scale fishers including those on the islands IIMRO propose the following:
Urgent immediate term measures
Direct income support for small scale fishers.
There is a need to reform of social protection laws for small scale fishers to include the complete value chain as per section 6.3 in the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries – VGSSF – (http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4356en.pdf), which states that:
States should promote social security protection for workers in small-scale ﬁsheries. They should take into account the characteristics of small-scale ﬁsheries and apply security schemes to the entire value chain.
IIMRO also calls for:
a repayment holiday on loans taken on fishing gears until the crisis ends; and
a fund to ensure vessels are maintained in a seaworthy condition for the duration of the crisis.
Short to Medium term measures:
IIMRO call on the European Commission to urgently issue guidelines to member states to include specific measures to be adopted based on input from small scale fishers’ representative organisations, prior submissions and the FAO VGSSF, including:
Section 9.4 of the VGSSF: States should consider assisting and supporting small-scale fishing communities affectedby climate change or natural and human-induced disasters, including through adaptation, mitigation and aid plans, where appropriate
Building Back Better, as per section 9.7 of SSF Guidelines. This outlines some key measures which can be introduced in the face of a crisis such as COVID-19.
States should understand how emergency response and disaster preparedness are related in small-scale fisheries and apply the concept of the relief-development continuum. Longer-term development objectives need to be considered throughout the emergency sequence, including in the immediate relief phase, and rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery should include actions to reduce vulnerabilities to potential future threats. The concept of ‘building back better’ should be applied in disaster response and rehabilitation.
Urgently address the imbalance in quota access for the small scale fleet across Europe. In Ireland SSF fleet quota uptake was a tiny 0.85% of the total Irish TAC in 2018. This would be in line with: UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life below water):
SDG 14b: Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets.”
SDG Indicator 14.b.1 – Access rights for small-scale fisheries
Indicator 14.b.1 – Progress by countries in the degree of application of a legal / regulatory / policy /institutional framework which recognizes and protects access rights for small-scale fisheries.
Facilitate local governance, as per section 10.7 SSF Guidelines. Provide special and differentiated treatment for small scale fisheries through provisions for member states to fast track and promote SSF producer organisation (SSF POs) recognition and membership of Advisory Councils. IIMRO has been refused recognition in Ireland as an SSF PO last year based on criteria from a replaced and repealed EU regulation. Had IIMRO had this PO recognition in place it would be better placed to coordinate a response among its members to COVID-19. This decision is in our opinion discriminatory against SSF and is the subject of an EU complaint.
States should recognize, and promote as appropriate, that local governance structures may contribute to an effective management of small-scale fisheries, taking into account the ecosystem approach and in accordance with national law.
SSF POs will be a vital indicator of progress in this regard.
Establish a Small Scale Fishers Advisory Council for small scale fishers (under 12 meters using non-towed gear).
Provide core funding to cover running and administration costs of small scale fishery organisations at EU and member state level. Representative organisations that have the capacity to organise and coordinate small scale fisher efforts are’ more important than ever and need to be supported directly.
– Principle 10: Building alliances for ordinary fishers. Assist small scale inshore and offshore fishers in exerting political influence and building alliances at European, regional and national levels; To promote fisheries policies that work for all Irish fishing interests, not just the powerful; The full and equal involvement of fishers in the future development and implementation of fisheries policy at national and international level;
– Principle 20: Looking out for small scale fisheries and provision of aid for Fishers – Support aid for small-scale fishers of a Member State who are directly affected by an unforeseen closure of a fishery they conduct fishing activities in that lies within the Economic Exclusive Zone of their Member State; Legislate to enable access to compensation, aid or funding for operators of fishing vessels less than 12 metres, particularly those who use static gears; Seek preferential access for small scale, inshore, artisanal or coastal fishers between the baseline and 12 miles out.
Markets Collapse and Fishers Left without Social Protection
Brussels, 3rd of April 2020
Last Wednesday 1 April, Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries, contacted LIFE to ask about how the small scale fisheries sector is faring faced with the crisis caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. LIFE emphasised that a large section of the small-scale fleet is trying to keep active, to keep their livelihoods afloat, to provide locally caught fresh fish, but is facing huge difficulties to do so. With many markets closed, wholesale fresh fish prices have slumped, and there is restricted access to storage and alternative marketing facilities. Fishers also face difficulties to meet the new sanitary requirements and the social distancing measures. Because of these difficulties, a large part of the fleet has been forced to tie up.
The Commissioner informed LIFE about the new emergency measures that were being introduced through amendments made to the EMFF regulation ( https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=COM:2020:142:FIN). These are designed to make it easier for member states to access EMFF for temporary closure of activities and storage aid. Details of these and other new measures are provided via the link https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/coronavirus-response-fisheries-and-aquaculture_en.
In its communication, the Commission highlights the small-scale coastal fishing operators and fish producers have been particularly hard hit by the crisis.
LIFE explained that for those who wanted to keep active, this was no help; that in fact storage aid would most likely have a depressing effect on fish prices once the crisis eases. What active fishers need most is income support, and support to sell their fish direct to consumers. The Commissioner responded that such support can only be provided at member state level. The Commission could only help by using available funds to allow member states to respond with greater flexibility to the crisis.
He emphasised the important role that the small scale low impact fleet makes to local economies and to sustaining both the social and environmental aspects of fisheries. He was friendly and concerned. He has asked to be kept informed.
Jerry Percy, Senior Adviser to LIFE and Director of the New Under Ten Fishermen’s Association [NUTFA] has sent us his personal view on the situation in the UK:
Impact of the Global Covid-19 Pandemic on UK Fisheries
Like almost every other element of UK industry, the fishing sector, right through the supply chain from net to plate is a mess of epic proportions and the effects of the pandemic will continue to have massive economic repercussions for the foreseeable future. However, for many boats in the UK fleet, a surge in demand for direct sales of fresh fish provides not only a lifeline, but could hopefully be the start of a renaissance of interest in the buying of fresh fish by households that have rarely if ever had the courage to buy fish that is not already covered in breadcrumbs.
The impact of the Coronavirus has almost overnight largely decimated those companies reliant on high end products such as dive caught scallops, lobster and crab, whilst prices for the main finfish species have crashed.
The vast majority of crews on the small scale, under ten metre fleet are paid on a share basis and appear to be as economically vulnerable as those in the gig economy in relation to the financial support terms, or lack of them, announced by the government at the time of writing. Proportionally more crews in the over ten sector are employed on a wage, and therefore able to access financial support, but nevertheless, the lack of direct financial support to the self employed is cause for concern irrespective of the size of vessel involved.
With boats landing to market prices falling by the moment, a strong landing of Pollack for instance crashing to £0.41 per kilo on Newlyn market having averaged around £4 in previous weeks, and with the skipper of one vessel landing a significant quantity of the species having leased quota at £0.50 per kilo to catch it in the first place, many boats are tying up rather than lose money. Merchants and processors, reflecting the loss of many export markets as well as reduced demand domestically, especially within the foodservice sector were reluctant to pay good money for fish that they may then get stuck with. To add to the problem, some processors sold off some of their frozen inventory to reduce their overheads, putting further downward pressure on prices. And to add insult to injury, many of the larger retailers, who had already reduced opening times for their fresh fish counters decided to close them altogether for lack of staff, and I guess the volatility of supplies.
First sale prices for a basket of species:
The graph above illustrates the reduction in first sale prices of an arbitrary range of species and sizes over the last couple of months. It is by no means scientific and ignores the quantities of fish landed by the day but does reflect the sort of landings from many inshore boats on the south coast.
The scale, speed and severity of the downturn in demand and therefore prices clearly came as a shock to many producers, processors and merchants, much of it driven by the loss of the primary market for fish in the UK, the foodservice sector. It is a fact that the home consumption of fresh fish in the UK has been falling for years, for a variety of reasons including changes in working practices, the availability of aptly named and highly processed convenience foods, including fish based products and a growing ignorance related to what to do to prepare a fresh fish. The old adage that the British consumer won’t touch anything with eyes or a pulse holds true for fish especially.
BUT, out of all this adversity has come an almost overnight change to the normal processes and supply chain logistics around the sale of fish to the UK consumer.
The demand for the established home delivery services of boxed fish has rocketed with supply struggling to keep pace with the rush of orders. Based in Plymouth, Sole of Discretion, [ https://soleofdiscretion.co.uk/ ] supplier of ethically sourced fish delivered to your door by them or via some of the well known home delivery services has seen much increased demand and Pesky Fish in London [ https://www.peskyfish.co.uk/ ]whose ground breaking supply chain approach connects buyers with same day supplies direct from inshore boats has had hundreds of new domestic customers signing up with them every day.
This step change in domestic demand for high quality fresh fish has been matched in many areas by the increased custom at fishmongers across the country.
Although these changes are of little if any benefit to the producers of high end and expensive shellfish, for many of the boats in the UK fleet, it is or at least appears to be not only a lifeline in terms of keeping the boats at sea but hopefully the start of a renaissance of interest in the buying of fresh fish by households that have rarely if ever had the courage to buy fish that is not already covered in breadcrumbs.
At the same time, maritime based charities have stepped up their support to the fishing sector.
DEFRA have created a Fisheries Covid-19 Industry Working Group to ensure that up to date intelligence across the entire panoply of the fishing industry is available to them and both Westminster and Scottish governments are apparently actively considering ways to support their share fishermen. [NB: at the time of writing there are strong rumours of support for share fishermen and the self employed but nothing concrete as yet. We can only hope that the government comes good or we won’t have much of an inshore sector left post virus].
As part of the group, we have been lobbying government for a relaxation in relation to access to quota for shell fishermen unable to sell crab and lobster, a relaxation of the 30kg per day restriction on direct private sales by fishermen and a similar approach to allow fishermen to process and sell fish whilst ensuring safe and hygienic practices.
The main need for the catching sector remains a fair deal for all share fishermen and the self employed segment. In light of the recent requirements to avoid close contact, many boats will be forced to tie up as it is of course impossible to self isolate aboard ship or stay two metres away from each other!
In addition, a vast range of both local and national initiatives are underway or in development to meet the increasing demand for home delivered fish. These range from individual fishermen advertising on the internet through to larger cooperative approaches such as:
Seafish together with DEFRA had launched their Sea for Yourself campaign in March of this year and whilst it may have been thought to have been unfortunate timing, it is in fact timely in underpinning the obviously increasing interest in buying and cooking fresh fish [ https://www.seafish.org/article/sea-for-yourself ]. In addition, processors are looking to provide more packaged fresh fish products for the chilled cabinets of major retailers and these will carry a link to the Seafish website for recipes and cooking advice.
So like almost every other element of UK industry, the fishing sector, right through the supply chain from net to plate is a mess of epic proportions and the effects of the pandemic will continue to have massive economic repercussions for the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, many fishermen are battling on, still going to sea to land fish for what we can only hope is a rapidly expanding domestic market.
OFERTA LABORAL Técnico de proyectos – PROGRAMA DE PESCA SOSTENIBLE BALEAR
La organización LIFE (Low Impact Fishers of Europe) plataforma europea de pescadores profesionales de pequeña escala y bajo impacto y la Fundación Marilles – entidad sin ánimo de lucro que trabaja para la conservación del mar Balear – han unido fuerzas para impulsar un programa que tiene por objetivo transformar la flota pesquera de Baleares en una de las más sostenibles del Mediterráneo.
La pesca profesional puede ser una amenaza o una oportunidad para el medio marino. Todas las artes de pesca, tanto si es de arrastre, palangre o redes de trasmallo, tienen en mayor o menor medida un impacto sobre el medio marino. Pero la dependencia de unos mares saludables, y su amplio conocimiento y experiencia, hacen de los pescadores unos actores clave para la sostenibilidad marina.
La flota pesquera balear se puede dividir a grandes rasgos entre unas 300 embarcaciones de pesca de pequeña escala, aproximadamente, y 35 embarcaciones arrastreras. Al igual que en otras regiones del Mediterráneo, la medida de la flota y el número de pescadores se ha reducido notablemente en las últimas décadas, con consecuencias económicas y sociales significativas.
Si se les acompaña bien, la pesca profesional tiene la capacidad de dejar atrás la etiqueta de amenaza para el mar para convertirse en actores de cambio proactivos, y ser reconocidos como “custodios del mar” y líderes en su conservación. La creación de reservas marinas de interés pesquero en Baleares, en muchos casos lideradas por cofradías de pescadores, es un buen ejemplo que ilustra un potencial hasta ahora poco explotado.
En LIFE y Marilles creemos que la mejora del medio marino balear implica trabajar constructivamente con los pescadores profesionales, con un enfoque “de abajo hacia arriba” y de manera holística, para implementar soluciones que ayuden a mejorar el medio marino y contribuyan a unas comunidades viables. Estas iniciativas, además de las Reservas Marinas, también incluyen planes de gestión (y cogestión) por áreas y especies clave (como la gamba y la langosta), la certificación y revalorización de productos que vengan de una pesca de bajo impacto y sostenible.
Hay que aprovechar al máximo el potencial del sector pesquero para mejorar el estado de conservación del mar Balear y acelerar una transición hacia una flota verdaderamente sostenible; quizás la más sostenible del Mediterráneo.
Buscamos un/a técnico de proyectos apasionado/ada por el mar Balear y conocedor/a del sector pesquero profesional. Una persona proactiva,emprendedoray creativa; con una formación relevante en el mundo de la pesca, con capacidad multidisciplinaria y buenos dotes comunicativos. Habrá tenido experiencia previa trabajando con pescadores, será empático/a y tendrá un talento especial para establecer buenas relaciones y ganarse su respeto. Será esencial tener capacidad organizativa, habilidad de coordinación de múltiples actividades y proyectos y preferentemente una buena base científica.
El técnico de proyectos formará parte del equipo de LIFE; responderá directamente a la Coordinadora de LIFE Mediterránea, con base en Barcelona y trabajará también de forma coordinada con la dirección de LIFE con sede en Bruselas. Por motivos logísticos esta persona podrá ser alojada en la organización Marilles con sede en Baleares donde será considerada una persona más del equipo. La excelente coordinación y comunicación con LIFE y Marilles será básica para poder desarrollar este trabajo con éxito.
La principal responsabilidad de este técnico de proyectos será desarrollar e implementar el Programa de LIFE en Baleares, los principales objetivos del cual son:
Mejorar el conocimiento del sector pesca de pequeña escala en Baleares, documentando el conocimiento tradicional y experiencia de los pescadores sobre el medio y recursos marinos; promoviendo y apoyando colaboraciones con la comunidad científica y proyectos de ciencia ciudadana.
Fortalecer la cohesión y capacidad del sector pesca de pequeña escala para actuar como agentes de cambio para mejorar la sostenibilidad del medio marino balear, identificando, promoviendo e implementando (con un enfoque de “abajo hacia arriba”) iniciativas para favorecer la sostenibilidad ecológica y económica del sector, siempre fomentando la colaboración y networking.
Mejorar la gobernanza pesquera en las Islas Baleares mediante la creación y seguimiento de al menos dos nuevos comités clave de cogestión, que diseñen e implementen planes de gestión de áreas o especies prioritarias clave.
Dar a conocer la importancia de este sector como catalizador de iniciativas de conservación del recurso pesquero y el medio marino y fortalecer su buena organización, gobernanza y participación en procesos de decisión política en el ámbito balear y nacional.
Facilitar el acceso del sector pesquero artesanal a fuentes de financiación.
Para lograr estos objetivos el trabajo sobre el terreno será una parte importante de este trabajo e incluirá múltiples reuniones con pescadores y las organizaciones correspondientes (cofradías, etc.).
A partir del programa general de LIFE en Baleares, crear e implementar una estrategia y plan de trabajo a tres años vista para reducir el impacto negativo de la pesca profesional en Baleares y acelerar una transición hacia una flota pesquera sostenible y unas comunidades prósperas, teniendo en cuenta:
Ideas y sugerencias del sector pesquero profesional de pequeña escala.
Principales presiones y amenazas sobre hábitats y especies vulnerables del mar Balear.
Prioridades para mejorar la gestión de recursos pesqueros del mar Balear.
Oportunidades para maximizar impacto fortaleciendo iniciativas existentes o sugerencias de actores clave.
Estrategia y forma de trabajar de LIFE y de Marilles.
Diseñar e implementar planes de trabajo anuales con descripción de actividades y realizar un seguimiento de la implementación del programa a través de indicadores.
Divulgar y dar a conocer el programa mediante la participación en conferencias, mesas redondas, actos, etc.
Identificar oportunidades para desarrollar alianzas con otras iniciativas de pesca sostenible en el ámbito nacional, mediterráneo e internacional.
Trabajar con los responsables de comunicación de LIFE y la Fundación Marilles para coordinar la estrategia de comunicación y relación con los medios, incluyendo atender y responder a preguntas y solicitudes de medios de comunicación (TV, radio y prensa).
Trabajar con los responsables de captación de fondos de Fundación Marilles y LIFE para contribuir a la salud financiera del programa y su ampliación mediante la redacción de propuestas de financiación.
Titulación superior, preferentemente relacionada con el medio marino y/o la pesca (incluido económica o ciencias sociales).
Al menos 5 años de experiencia trabajando con pescadores profesionales o en el mundo de la pesca.
Buen conocimiento del contexto marino actual en Baleares y de su sector pesquero.
Empatía, diplomacia y relaciones interpersonales, capaz de facilitar, mediar, negociar, promover cohesión en grupos diversos.
Excelente expresión oral y escrita en catalán y castellano. Habilidad para trabajar en inglés.
Experiencia laboral en gestión de proyectos y/o desarrollo de programas.
Experiencia en redacción de propuestas de proyecto y captación de fondos.
Actitud proactiva y emprendedora.
Organizado/da y centrado en consecución de objetivos.
Atención al por menor y ojo crítico.
Residir en Baleares.
Disponibilidad para viajar a otras islas Baleares.
Carné de conducir y preferiblemente con la posibilidad de utilizar un coche para el trabajo de campo.
Contrato de 36 meses (sujeto a periodo de prueba)
000-40.000 euros de salario anual bruto (según experiencia)
Trabajar desde casa y/o en espacio co-working en Palma de Mallorca.
Envía Curriculum Vitae y carta de presentación (2 páginas máximo) explicando por qué te gustaría ocupar este puesto y por qué eres la persona ideal a estas direcciones:
Entrevistas: 30/31 de marzo de 2020 (fecha por confirmar)
Para más información:
– Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE)
La plataforma LIFE (Low Impact Fishers of Europe) es una organización de organizaciones, gestionadas por pescadores y para los pescadores. El objetivo principal de LIFE (www.lifeplatform.eu) es proporcionar servicio, apoyo y voz específica y dedicada a los pescadores europeos comprometidos con la sostenibilidad, tanto hombres como mujeres, de pequeña escala y que utilizan artes de pesca de bajo impacto. Los objetivos principales de LIFE son acercar los pescadores de pequeña escala de la periferia al centro de los procesos de toma de decisiones y construir su capacidad para desarrollar soluciones comunes a los problemas comunes, teniendo en cuenta el talento y la experiencia de los pescadores en contribuir en el desarrollo sostenible del sector y al bien común. Este enfoque “de abajo hacia arriba” permite a los pescadores de pequeña escala convertirse en agentes proactivos del cambio en la transformación de la pesca europea a un nivel sostenible y próspero y mantener así la estructura y la cultura de las comunidades costeras a menudo vulnerables y de los pescadores que forman parte integrante de ellas.
– Fundación Marilles
Marilles es una fundación sin ánimo de lucro que trabaja para convertir las Islas Baleares en un ejemplo mundial de conservación del mar. Financiamos proyectos que mejoran la conservación del mar Balear, lideramos el diálogo entre actores locales para diseñar soluciones; y colaboramos con otras fundaciones y donantes privados para atraer más financiación. Creemos que todo el mundo tiene un rol que ejercer en la conservación del medio marino y que una sólida base científica es esencial para poder avanzar. Más información en: www.marilles.org
Recognized, respected and rewarded: Aktea calls for a fair treatment and a voice for women in fisheries and aquaculture
Over 40 fisherwomen from 9 Member States gathered for three days to raise awareness about their work, on the need for gender equality and for their important contribution to European fisheries.
Brussels, Belgium, 27h February 2019 – 40 women professionals from the small-scale fisheries sector, from the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, Malta, Cyprus, Italy, Croatia, France and the Azores gathered in Brussels over 3 days from the 24 to 26 February, to revive, renew and relaunch the AKTEA European Network of Women in Fisheries and Aquaculture.
Strengthening the organizations of men and women professionals and their participation in governance is a key part the project “Mainstreaming small-scale low impact fisheries in the Mediterranean”, which is implemented by the Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE) with the support of the MAVA Foundation (https://lifeplatform.eu/eu-projects-2/). The pan European meeting was co-organised by AKTEA and LIFE, in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), thanks to this project.
In a video address to the meeting, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Mr Virginijus Sinkevičius, acknowledged that there is still a long way to go in order to give women the place they deserve. He observed that many family enterprises in the small-scale fisheries sector rely on women for shore based administrative and manual tasks, which are “not remunerated, rewarded or recognized”. This puts women in a very precarious situation, he said. He further stated that it is unacceptable in the 21st century for women to be so strongly underrepresented in formal governance and in the decision-making bodies of professional organizations. He highlighted the potential of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to address deficits in gender equality, and underscored his commitment to promoting the social dimension fisheries – including gender equality and the role of women in fisheries in the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy, which will be reviewed by December 31 2022.
On day 1, participants – shellfish and seaweed gathers, vessel skippers, gear riggers, entrepreneurs engaged in fish processing, marketing and “pesca-tourism”, and fishing family members supporting family enterprises – met informally, got to know about each other’s situations, and began to formulate plans for the future.
Day 2, hosted by the EESC, was devoted to a capacity building workshop, where participants learned about how European fisheries and social policies, if properly implemented, could make all the difference to their livelihoods. Sr Gabriel Sarró Iparraguirre, EESC Rapporteur on the social dimension of fisheries, welcomed the participants. Drawing on his own experience working at sea in the fisheries sector over many years, he explained that it is the womenfolk – wives, mothers and daughters – who give value to European fisheries. They are the driving force and constant source of support to the work done by men he said. Brian O’Riordan, Executive Secretary of LIFE, highlighted how Europe’s fishing policies have become victims of their own success; promoting increased productivity and technological progress, industrial fishing had depleted European seas and marginalised traditional small-scale family based livelihoods, which could make all the difference if given the chance.
Katia Frangoudes, one of the founders of AKTEA in 2006, highlighted how gender equality is a fundamental principle of the European Union, with equal pay for work of equal value included in the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Despite significant progress at European level in recent years on equal treatment policies and legislation, gender mainstreaming, and despite the reaffirmation of gender equality in the Union in the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, gender equality is still a much-neglected area in the fisheries sector at member state level.
Marja Bekendam, the outgoing Chair of Aktea, highlighted the advances made by women’s organizations over the 10-year period that she has been presiding over Aktea. She emphasised that despite this progress, there is still a long way to go, notably for women to engage more meaningfully in the Advisory Councils, and to become more integrated into other decision-making bodies.
Participants spoke with passion on the need for inclusive fisheries policies based on socio-economic rights, implemented through EU regulations and schemes tailored to allow fair and safe working conditions. As highlighted by Farnet’s representative, recent studies show that women are key drivers of change and diversification of activities (such as in tourism, restaurants or direct marketing), providing an important share of income for their families, but that very often men remain the owner of the business.
The vital importance of women in the traditions and cultural fabric was illustrated in the presentations made by the participants, as well as the significant socio-economic and environmental benefits they generate. Their empowerment and inclusion are prerequisite for the sustainable management of fisheries activities and the conservation of the marine environment. Calls were made for EMFF funding to be channelled into training and capacity building dedicated for women in such areas as IT, accounting, business management and communication. They also saw the need for creating formal associations and organisations to make their voices heard, to take part in decision-making processes, and the need for measures to prevent the disappearance of their profession which is put at risk by the lack of generational renewal.
Women participants spent their final day discussing how to formalise cooperation through AKTEA, and agreeing on priority actions in the short to medium term. Working groups were constituted to develop proposals. The outgoing Chair of Aktea, Marja Bekendam, shared how much Aktea and the solidarity and support she had received over the years had helped her and her family enterprise through difficult times.
A request has been made for a formal meeting with Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius in the near future to discuss how the implementation of the CFP can be made more inclusive.
The encircling gillnet (GNC) is a traditional fishing gear used in the Netherlands by small scale low impact fishers to catch mullet. The technique requires that the gear is set around the schools of fish, which must be located by eye. As seabass tends to associate with schools of mullet, they have come to represent an important bycatch for hard pressed small-scale mullet fishers. In recent years, the schools of mullet have decreased whilst the presence of seabass has increased in Netherlands waters. As a result, GNC fishers are catching increasing quantities of seabass.
Given the short time the fish are in the nets, the quality of the fish is very good. Since the only propulsion needed is for the location and surrounding of the schools of fish, and since the nets are very light, energy consumption is low. Another big advantage of the gear for the fishery is the relatively low by-catch. The large mesh-size also ensures that 99% of the fish is above minimum landing size. A clear case of the right gear, for the right place at the right time.
However, despite these advantages, and despite the traditional use of the gear and the fishers’ track records for seabass for 2015 and 2016, the Netherlands authorities omitted to inform the European Commission and Council about the gear. The GNC fishers were therefore dumbfounded to find themselves excluded from the gears permitted to catch seabass under conservation measures introduced in 2017.
Their case was taken up by the netVISwerk fisher’s association, a partner organization of LIFE in the Netherlands. Thanks to their intensive lobbying efforts, three years later this traditional fishing technique was finally recognized and incorporated into the regulations in 2020 as a permitted gear for seabass fishing. Over the previous 3 years, fishers using the encircling gill net have been deprived of a catch allocation of seabass, with no compensation. In the new regulation, GNC (Gil Net enCircling) operators are allowed to catch and land 1400 kg of seabass.
In coordination with LIFE and LIFE’s other member organizations netVISwerk will continue to lobby to ensure a preferential treatment for small-scale low impact fishers to access seabass and eel stocks.
Planète Mer et le Cdpmem Var donnent rendez-vous aux professionnels le 6 février 2020 à partir de 8h30 au Palais du Commerce et de la Mer à Toulon pour une session d’information sur le rôle des gardes-jurés.
“Cette journée, organisée dans le cadre du projet PELA-Méd, est réservée aux professionnels.
Elle sera l’occasion d’échanges entre pêcheurs, gardes-jurés du littoral ouest, procureur de la
république, instances maritimes et judiciaires… afin de préparer au mieux l’arrivée potentielle
de gardes-jurés en Méditerranée française et, plus spécifiquement, dans le département du Var.”
LIFE members from Snowchange Cooperative raise the alarm: ice melting is leading to the disappearance of the traditional seining fishery season. Back in the 1960s the harvest could start in November and end in May, but fifty years after the season could be reduced to just a few weeks between February and March. This is having dramatic consequences on the livelihoods of local communities.
On the verge of economic collapse, they call on the new European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Mr Virginijus Sinkevičiusto take urgent action and establish specific support measures.