EU parliamentary election result may have consequences for seafood industry, Europêche boss warns

An Election Day rally on 8 June in Budapest, Hungary
An Election Day rally on 8 June in Budapest, Hungary | Photo courtesy of Blue Corner Studio/Shutterstock
6 Min

The rightward tilt of the European Parliament could negatively impact European fisheries, according to Europêche Managing Director Daniel Voces de Onaíndi.

The European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy was an issue of contention in the 10 June E.U. election, which resulted in a rightward swing in the selection of 720 members of the European Parliament.

The parties that fared best in the election are generally in favor of more decision-making authority remaining in the hands of individual national elected bodies, potentially undermining the regulatory authority of the European Commission and the office of the European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries.

“Nationalizing fisheries policies could result in fragmented management, with each country prioritizing its own interests,” Voces told SeafoodSource. “This could potentially lead to overfishing or unlawful quota grabs, as seen recently with Norway's strategy and practices regarding small pelagics and cod in the Atlantic.”

Voces specifically pointed to increasing frustration among E.U.-based fishing companies and officials over Norway’s recent unilateral quota-setting practices, spurning negotiations with other European coastal states and the E.U.

“Fisheries management is inherently transnational,” Voces said. “Fish do not recognize national boundaries, and effective management requires cooperation among countries, particularly in response to the effects of climate change.”

Voces said the consequences of Brexit “have shown how complex and problematic the separation of policies can be.”

“Fisheries management in the Northeast Atlantic has become more complicated, leading to tensions and difficulties in negotiations between the E.U., the U.K., and other countries. This serves as a cautionary example of how disintegration can create more problems than solutions,” he said.

Voces also expressed concern over the potential disintegration of the E.U. Common Fisheries Policy, which sets standards for the fishing activities of both E.U. vessels and those fishing in E.U. waters. Revisions to the CFP were approved and put into place in 2023, with feedback from Europêche and other groups representing Europe’s fishing industry, which had previously criticized elements of the policy.

According to Voces, the CFP provides a unified framework that ensures sustainable fishing practices across E.U. waters.

“While the CFP has its flaws, abandoning it in favor of national policies is likely to create more issues than it solves,” he said. “Instead, we should focus on refining and adapting the CFP to better meet the needs of member states and address current and future challenges. What is needed is to revise failing policies such as the landing obligation and adapt the CFP to new societal concerns such as food security, energy crisis, and climate change.”

Rather than abandoning the CFP, Voces said the European Parliament should focus on ...

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