New EU fisheries chief in “positive and constructive” talks with fishing body

Published on
December 13, 2019

Europêche’s recent meeting with the new European Union Commissioner for Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius has been described as “positive and constructive” by the European fishing association’s president, Javier Garat.

The meeting allowed Europêche to explain what it sees as key problems and challenges facing the fisheries sector, and to propose potential solutions. Garat, who is also general secretary of Spanish fishing body Cepesca, told Sinkevičius that fish stocks were moving closer to maximum sustainable performance thanks to the sacrifices made by the fishing sector, and he asked that socio-economic impact reports submitted by member states be taken into account along with the scientific advice when quotas and total allowable catches (TACs) are set for 2020.

The Europêche delegation also highlighted the importance of Brexit and the possible consequences it could have for the fishing sector.

Other issues discussed included the landing obligation and climate change, and their effects on fisheries. Europêche also asked for the level of funding available through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to be increased or at least maintained for the 2021-2027 period. This, it said, would allow for the modernization of boats, in particular crew accommodation areas.

"We do not want to increase capacity, but to make our ships offer better conditions on board for our crew and that we can meet the objective of the International Maritime Organization of reducing 50 percent of GHG by 2030," Garat said.

Sinkevičius, from Lithuania, was one of 27 commissioners to be appointed by the European Council and announced by the new president of the commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on 28 November, 2019. Their term in office runs from 1 December, 2019, until 31 October, 2024.

Until his appointment as E.U. commissioner, Sinkevičius was Lithuania’s minister of economy and innovation. Prior to this, he was chair of the Committee on Economics for the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, a member of parliament in Lithuania, and deputy leader of the Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union.

Photo courtesy of European Parliament

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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