London, UK. On May 25th 2012, representatives from the disparate and often conflicting arenas of science, policy, politics and industry unanimously agreed that the North Sea should be used as a testing ground for exploring how European countries can reclaim more control from Brussels over their fisheries.
Organised by GAP2, the workshop brought together representatives from Belgium, the UK, Netherlands and Denmark, with the purpose of thrashing out the practicalities of one of the most controversial proposals of the EU Common Fisheries Policy reform package – “regionalisation”.
Regionalisation describes the move away from all fisheries management decisions being made centrally in Brussels, to a more devolved approach, where Member States work with regional stakeholders to decide upon the details.
Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations:
“Missing the boat in putting an end to Brussels’ micromanagement of our fisheries is not an option.
Europe’s fisheries need effective, flexible regional management, involving managers, stakeholders and scientists – and using the North Sea basin as a pilot for regionalisation would give us a set of practical recommendations, granting meaning to the Common Fisheries Policy reform”.
The principle has received widespread support, and workshop participants expressed a strong determination to take joint responsibility to help move the process forward by bringing the outcomes of the workshop to their Member State administrations, the Commission, the Council, the EU Parliament and other stakeholders.
The fishing industry, policy makers and scientist also agreed on a range of other issues, from the need for greater political will behind regionalisation, to the need for better understanding about how such changes would be funded by the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund.
Steve Mackinson, fisheries scientist and GAP2 coordinator:
“If we want sustainable fisheries, we need to involve the full range of fishermen, scientists and policy makers in deciding how and what we fish. We need people who live, work and breathe fisheries to work together, and find answers which still make sense when fishermen take them to sea.
GAP2 has brought these people together today, and now we have a solid set of recommendations to move forward with.”
To see those recommendations, read the full report from the day’s activities.
Images and videos from the event are below.
What might regionalisation of the Common Fisheries Policy mean in practice for the North Sea?” is a report of the day’s outcomes and points of consensus reached by the stakeholders at the GAP2 workshop.