Sarkozy: Fisheries policy must be science-based

By

Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
August 3, 2009

Reliable and independent scientific advice will shape France’s participation in reform of the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), French President Nicolas Sarkozy said this week.

Speaking in the port of Le Havre at the close of a national stakeholder meeting on the future of France’s fisheries, called “Grenelle de la Mer,” Sarkozy emphasized that the time has come to base all public decisions regarding fisheries management on “independent and shared scientific advice.”

Regarding both CFP reform and the annual barter for fishing quotas in December, President Sarkozy stressed he would ask his fisheries minister, Bruno Le Maire, to ensure that scientific advice formed the backbone of all negotiations.

The Grenelle de la Mer initiative was launched by French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo in April. State and local government, unions, industry and non-governmental organizations all participated in the dialogue.

Born from the initiative is a “blue book,” published last week but still to be validated by an inter-ministerial committee (CIMER), which constitutes 138 different commitments related to the sea and the French coast that, in effect, lay out France’s maritime strategy over the next 10 years.

France has “for too long forgotten about its maritime vocation,” said Sarkozy in his speech. “Ours is the last generation with the ability to take action before it’s too late. We must protect marine resources now in order to fish better in the future. We owe this to fishermen, and we owe it to future generations.”

Listed among the commitments, and highlighted by Sarkozy during his speech, is France’s support for a ban on the international trade of bluefin tuna.

“I am delighted that the Grenelle de la Mer permitted us to advance toward the protection of this emblematic Mediterranean species, as requested by scientists for so long,” said Sarkozy.

France last month backed a proposal tabled by Monaco to list Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

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