Brussels, Belgium – Global environment organisation WWF and the leading associations for European seafood processors and retailers today announced they will work together to push for solutions to the crisis of European seas and fisheries.
The EU Fish Processors’ and Traders’ Association, AIPCE-CEP, and Eurocommerce, which represents retail, wholesale and international trade interests to the EU, and WWF will be jointly seeking reforms to the troubled European Common Fisheries Policy to lay the basis for sustainable fisheries and a sustainable fishing industry.
The current EU Common Fisheries Policy has failed to secure the health of EU fisheries, and has put most of them under severe strain, compromising the ability to offer the EU population the sustainably harvested fish they are demanding.
“In the last decade conservationists and the seafood industry have definitely changed. Where once we might have been adversaries, today we are allies and all agree that without these key reforms we will not be able to bring European fisheries back to wide scale health and prosperity,” said Tony Long, Director of the WWF European Policy Office.
“Today’s alliance already represents a very significant portion of the supply chain from the processing and trading sector and the retail sector, and from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. Sustainability is a conservation necessity and a business necessity today.”
AIPCE President Guus Pastoor said “For the sake of an improved CFP, EU Fish processors and traders are convinced that it is necessary to join forces to achieve sustainable and profitable fisheries for the future of all EU citizens. Therefore we feel committed to support an alliance of partners seeking for a reform which meets the needs of the sector.”
Xavier Durieu, Secretary General of EuroCommerce, said “The commerce sector is committed to play an active role in helping to achieve a sustainable and well managed supply of fish, which in turn should enable retailers to meet the growing consumer demand for healthy and environmentally friendlier fish and aquaculture products.”
The alliance is seeking the replacement of “political quotas” for fish with mandatory long term management plans firmly based on science for all EU fisheries by 2015.
The alliance is also seeking to have all regional stakeholders play effective roles in developing fisheries plans and a culture of compliance for fisheries.
Strong EU standards should also apply wherever the EU fishes and this should be reflected in EU fishery and trade polices and fishing agreements and partnerships.
Fisheries policy should also seek to maximise value from catch to consumer, avoiding waste and ensuring stable supplies of seafood and added value at each stage of supply chain.
In the next months WWF and its allies will present their shared position to members of the European Commission and the Parliament involved in the reform of European fisheries and actively engage more and more national offices and companies to move towards sustainable and well-managed fisheries inside and outside Europe.