Reclaim Our Seas Alliance: Brussels 7 December

Reclaim Our Seas Alliance (ROSA)

ROSA is an alliance of fishing groups from England, France, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland which together with the Irish People’s Movement is united in a campaign to halt the economic and social decline suffered by fishing communities caused by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

ROSA represents a new strategic direction for fishing policy that gives Member States with an interest in a particular fisheries area the primacy of deciding the right policy for that area.

Strategic Priorities:

  1. That the EU returns control of fisheries policy to the Member States.
    • The repatriation of decision making powers to Member States is the only democratic foundation for proper fisheries management arrangements both regionally and on a EU wide basis.
    • A Member State’s land and sea resources are a national asset and the heritage of its entire people and should be managed and developed for the benefit of the country.
    • The governing principle should be that custodianship of marine resources should rest with the State which can then allocate rights to utilise the living marine resources, regulate this utilisation to ensure long-term sustainability and the maximum social and economic benefit of its people.
    • The Common Fisheries Policy leaves little to no flexibility for Member States to implement measures in a manner that is sensitive to economic and social conditions.
    • Annual, prescriptive and restrictive quota and effort allocations provide little or no leeway for fisheries managers to implement EU policies sensitively. This is a key failing of the centralised Common Fisheries Policy.
  2. That the permanent transfer of fishing rights between Member States be opposed
    • Transferable rights may lead to reduced fishing capacity in the medium to longer term in some circumstances.
    • It is often smaller vessels which lose rights to larger, more profitable and financially more powerful operations.
    • Consolidation has led to fewer but larger vessels dominating the fishing fleet, with associated adverse impacts on smaller fishing vessels and their dependent communities.
    • Rights-Based Management becomes yet more controversial where rights may be traded between nations, leading to a migration of fishing rights from one country to another.
    • Reductions in fishing pressure can be achieved through improved fisheries management.
  3. That the EU should prevent fishery products over which it has no control in terms of sustainability, environmental and socio-economic impact into the EU market in direct competition with production from EU fishermen.
    • It is unacceptable that fishermen of EU Maritime States must adhere to official minimum prices and to a multitude of technical, administrative and control regulations, while their market is under-mined by cheap, often inferior, fishery products which are allowed to come into the EU market virtually unrestricted and often at very low prices.
      • Consumers must be made aware exactly what they are buying and what the quality, nutritional value and environmental impact is of this imported product.
      • Consumers would then be able to decide whether they would prefer fresh, wild, sustainable fish species .or imported, farmed, fresh-water catfish.
      • Minimum prices should not be abolished, but should be refined and adapted to make them more relevant to local marketing conditions
      • Prices should be consolidated and organised at regional or port level.
    • To have a good Common Market Organisation (CMO), it is essential to have a good common organisation for the resources of that market; the traceability of those resources is of utmost importance.
    • This could be one of the objectives of aid provided to Fish Producer Organisations to manage the markets and to continue to improve the organisation of supplies. A European label demonstrating the compliance with the conditions for the three pillars of the CFP (economy, social affairs and environment) is well-suited to this concept.
    • The basic objectives of the CMO must be retained, that is:
      • Striving to balance supply and demand in order to maximise value,
      • Stabilising prices in order to guarantee a minimum viable income for our fishermen, and,
      • Improving the overall competitiveness of the Community fleets.
  4. That there is a presumption of priority use for fishing interests in the designation of marine protected areas and conservation zones
    • The customary rights of fishermen must be given priority. They are not just stakeholders. They must not be denied access to the resources that have supported them and their communities for centuries. They must be protected from pollution, marine transport threats, pipelines, gravel extraction, telephone networks, and eco-tourism if it displaces the fishermen’s access to local grounds.
    • The key principles, at least in the opinion of the EU Commission, for setting up Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were spelled out by John Farnell Director Conservation Policy in the European Commission at a Conference organised by The Sustainable Development Intergroup of the European Parliament in November 2005 and chaired by Struan Stevenson MEP. These are:
      • Such areas should not include a complete ban on fishing.
        • ROSA – Neither should they include a partial ban, unless there is clear scientific proof that it is absolutely needed to protect the stocks
      • MPAs must be built on a solid scientific basis, although the precautionary approach may be necessary.
        • ROSA – The scientific basis must be sound long-term research with the onus of proof on the proposer. The fishing community should be entitled to present alternative scientific opinion if such exists.
      • MPAs must demonstrate economic and social equity, particularly where fishing communities rely on the areas in question.
        • ROSA – The monitoring should be initiated before the MPA is set up.
      • The governing authorities must ensure careful monitoring to measure the impact on bio-diversity.
      • There must be full consultation with stakeholders at all stages, including the design, operation and review of MPAs.
        • ROSA – The consultation must be genuine and meaningful, and not as often occurs, a mere sampling of fishermen’s views which are then ignored

ROSA Member Groups:

The Fishermen’s Association Ltd, Aberdeen, Scotland

Irish Fishermen’s Organisation, Dublin

Northern Ireland Fish Producer’s Organisation, Portavogie

Scottish Ship Chandlers Association, Aberdeen

South Western Fish Producer’s Organisation, Devon

French Industry representatives: Boulogne fishing co-operative, Picardie Fishermen’s Organisation, Boulogne Fishermen’s Organisation.

Irish People’s Movement, Dublin. The People’s Movement is attached to no political party and opposes all forms of sectarianism, racism and sexism. campaigning against any measures that further develop the EU into a federal super-state and working to defend and enhance popular sovereignty, democracy and social justice in Ireland.

For Further Information contact:

Roddy McColl, The Fishermen’s Association Ltd. [+44] (0)1224 313473 (M) [+44] (0)7900431477

Caitlin ui Aodha, Irish Fishermen’s Organisation [+353] (0)871205138

Kevin McCorry, The People’s Movement [+353] (0)86 3150301

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