MEPs and the EU Fisheries Control Coalition call on Fisheries Ministers to digitalise the fishing sector
Press Release Date: June 15, 2022
Ahead of a key negotiating meeting scheduled for the 21st of June, key Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the EU Fisheries Control Coalition call on the Member States to be ambitious in requiring the installation of vessel tracking systems for all EU fishing vessels, as well as cameras on vessels at high risk of catching protected species or unwanted fish. As part of these negotiations, the EU Commission, the EU Council and the EU Parliament will aim to agree on requirements for such electronic and catch monitoring tools.
Vessel tracking systems and electronic monitoring tools allow authorities and stakeholders to compile data on the vessels’ fishing location, as well as on the species caught and their size. This information can provide clear benefits to fishers by identifying valuable fishing resources and creating a level playing field, while simultaneously improving fisheries management and control at sea, thereby contributing to the protection of the ocean.
“In the European Parliament we have been working for years now to bring legislation in line with the reality in fisheries where the digital transition is already underway. We are here today to show how the installation of electronic monitoring technology can help authorities, stakeholders and fishers themselves to collect vital data for the sustainable management of the fishing activities and bring a brighter future for our ocean” states Grace O’Sullivan, Member of the European Parliament by the Irish Green Party and shadow rapporteur on the revision of fisheries control rules.”
“The use of vessel tracking systems has clearly demonstrated the benefits to both fishers and the ocean. A vessel tracking system is a cost-effective means to engage fishers as key social and economic players in the management of marine resources, improve business management, and help fishers locate valuable fishing grounds. Ministers should therefore require these tracking devices for all EU vessels, and not create exemptions that will lead to a lack of level playing field and put at risk coastal communities and the resources they depend on” states Vanya Vulperhorst, Campaign Director Illegal Fishing and Transparency at Oceana in Europe.
To highlight the importance of these tools, the EU Fisheries Control Coalition has created an artistic, interactive journey in front of the European Parliament, illustrating both present conditions for fishers and the ocean, where the use of electronic monitoring tools is limited, and what a brighter future would look like where utilization of such tools contributed to thriving marine ecosystems and sustainable fishing activities. The event was attended by Member of the European Parliament Grace O’Sullivan and the lead negotiator on the future fisheries control rules, Clara Aguilera; as well as companies that showcased simple and cost effective tracking systems used on small scale fishing vessels. Participants had the opportunity to understand how these devices work and hear from experts about how their use is enabling more efficient fishing operations as well as ensuring the health of the ocean.