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Sunday, 23 February 2014

OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES (24.4.2013)

 OPINION OF THE COMMITTEE ON FISHERIES (24.4.2013)

for the Committee on Transport and Tourism


on Blue Growth - Enhancing sustainable growth in the EU’s marine, maritime transport and tourism sectors



The Committee on Fisheries calls on the Committee on Transport and Tourism, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1. Recalls the strategic importance of the fishing industry for ‘Blue Growth’ in terms of the supply of fish and the food balance in the European Union, as well as its considerable contribution to socio-economic well-being in coastal communities; recalls further that the EU imports over 60 % of the fish it consumes from third countries;

2. Acknowledges that the seas and oceans will increasingly play a key role in global economic growth in the future; considers that the ‘Blue Growth’ strategy, as part of the Integrated Maritime Policy, will encourage the development of synergies and coordinated policies in the fisheries and aquaculture sector amongst others¸ thus generating European added value and contributing to job creation in the marine sector;

3. Emphasises that aquaculture and fisheries should contribute to food production on a sustainable basis throughout the Union and to long-term food security and consumer protection; considers that the development and innovation of a sustainable aquaculture and fish processing industry should be encouraged, by cutting down bureaucracy and promoting employment opportunities in these sectors, improving the quality of life in both coastal and rural areas;

4. Recognises the advantages of growth in different marine sectors, e.g. the development of offshore energy installations and marine mineral mining and the importance of attracting investments in that respect; stresses, however, that when realising these activities the utmost attention must be paid to avoiding damage to the marine environment and to fishing grounds; supports, in this connection, the development of Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management as a means of achieving a coherent and effective use of marine space; maintains that these planning and management tools have to be applied at the practical level in order to gauge the cumulative impact of the numerous human activities carried out at sea and in coastal areas;

5. Welcomes the European Commission’s proposal for a directive establishing a framework for Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management and stresses the importance of coherence in its future application;

6. Stresses the importance of marine and maritime research and of data collection and exchange in understanding and taking account of the complex interaction between the various maritime sectors as well as for the development of sustainable fishing that is respectful of the environment and takes into account the social and economic needs of coastal and island communities;

7. Acknowledges that protecting Europe’s maritime borders is a challenge for Member States; considers that a successful blue economy requires secure EU maritime borders, with a view to ensuring the protection of the marine environment, fisheries controls, the combat of illegal fishing as well as law enforcement; points, therefore, to the importance of setting up a European coastguard to coordinate operations and surveillance at sea; furthermore, stresses the importance of stepping up regional cooperation initiatives relating to the fisheries sector;

8. Stresses the importance of the future European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), which for the first time combines Integrated Maritime Policy and fisheries funding, as well as of the European Investment Bank (EIB), in supporting the sustainable and environmentally friendly development of fisheries, aquaculture and fish processing, as well as revenue diversification in the fishing communities dependent on those sectors, in particular in respect of small-scale coastal fisheries, vocational training for women and young people and attracting new entrepreneurs to the sector;

9. Urges the EU to pursue ambitious international agreements aimed at improving management of fisheries, using as its benchmark its internal strategy for sustainable blue growth;

10. Stresses the importance of coastal regions and of sustainable coastal and maritime tourism for the development of an all-inclusive social and green maritime economy; urges the Commission to develop specific programmes dedicated to the development of fishing, coastal, maritime and cruise tourism, and other areas of economic development linked to the sea and to fishing activity, thus contributing to the socio-economic development of local communities; underlines the importance of the coexistence of mutually enhancing skills, essential in order to protect existing jobs and stimulate employment along maritime regions;

11. Points out that due account must be paid to the particular geography of the outermost regions.