Fishing communities are part of fragile ecosystems we must protect
Fishing is a particularly critical issue since:
the health of the oceans is crucial to our survival on this planet;
oceans are very sensitive and hugely affected by all human activities, be they land-based or aquatic (learn more about it on the Slow Fish campaign site);
a large and increasing proportion of the world population live in coastal areas (44% of the population);
fishing implies harvesting from wild stocks in a largely unknown environment;
aquatic ecosystems are very difficult to understand and monitor;
most of the food we harvest from the sea does not respect national boundaries (large fish are mostly migrant and swim through many different territorial waters).
All this means that all issues affecting the oceans and land are closely interrelated and cannot be solved without strong coordinated efforts by all populations, in all countries and on many different fronts.
As with agriculture, at first the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) focused largely on the economic development of fisheries and on giving people access to as much fish as possible at the cheapest prices possible, thus promoting and consolidating large industrial fishing fleets.
It's true that this strategy did meet its initial goal. Never before, in fact, had people had so much access to fish. But, insofar as it largely underestimated the effects of overfishing, habitat destruction and damage to the balance of the ecosystem, as well as climate change and pollution, which are also devastating oceans and coastal communities, the strategy has now gone as far as it can.
It is high time that we focused on the conservation of the oceans and the livelihoods of fishing communities, which use much more sustainable methods, know the waters where they fish better than anyone else and ensure the well-being of millions of people in coastal areas.
We believe the first measures presented by the CFP are insufficient for conservation purposes and still fail to provide sufficient support to community-based fisheries.
We believe the CFP should:
strengthen scientific research at sea, at both national and community level;
provide strong incentives for allsustainable practices, while at once penalizing all unsustainable practices;
promote a truly territorial approach to allow the various local community representative bodies to decide the best way to manage their resources;
differentiate the measures applied to small-scale community-based fisheries from the ones applied to large-scale industrial operations;
fund education and training to promote a sustainable attitude to fishing and fish consumption;
use subsidies withheld from unsustainable vessels to encourage small-scale fishers to act as stewards of the oceans, thus recognizing and making the most their knowledge and allowing them to fish less.
improve the traceability of fish.
To know more:
Check out Slow Fish, the Slow Food campaign for sustainable fishing!!
Slow Fish is also an event, held every two years in Genova, Italy.
Watch the video Ending Overfishing, created by Ocean2012:
Position Documents Slow Food's position paper on fisheries
Commission fosters debate on potential "local food" labeling scheme Belgium | 06/12/2013
The European Commission has published today a report exploring the possibilities of adopting a local farming and direct sales labelling scheme in the future, as requested by the current legislation on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs
Commissioner Dacian Cioloş said: "Increasing the role of local food systems is an answer to a clear expectation among EU citizens. It is also particularly important for farmers and for the diversity of EU agriculture. Via direct sales and closer contacts with consumers, EU farmers can add value to their products, boost their sales and better understand the expectations of EU citizens with regard to food and food production methods. That's why we want to encourage farmers to develop local food systems and to discuss the best ways to increase the visibility of their products".
Towards a better use of our Genetic Resources Belgium | 02/12/2013
Last week the European Commission has published a Report on "Genetic Resources – From Conservation to Better Use," outlining Commission aims for the period until 2020. While issues of conservation and halting biodiversity loss in agriculture remain a central element, the report highlights the need for a change of rationale with greater emphasis on an increased sustainable use of our genetic resources such as traditional or endangered breeds of animals or plants.