Friday, May 30, 2008

Fuelling destruction

As fishermen all over Europe are protesting this week in the hope of getting more direct or indirect State and European subsidies, Oceana has drawn attention to the fact that governments should instead restrict the most energy-hungry fishing methods, such as trawling, especially deepsea trawling, and long distance fishing fleets.

"Governments should be helping their fishermen move away from fuel intensive gears such as bottom trawling, and restructure to address the chronic overcapacity of the EU fleet, which means that fishermen often have to fish harder, further and deeper to catch ever-dwindling stocks. This requires more fuel and makes the fisherman even more vulnerable to price hikes".

"We need intelligent programmes to promote less fuel dependent fishing gear which will have the double effect of reducing the dependency of the sector on fuel and also being less harmful to our seas", says Oceana Director Xavier Pastor.

What the EU Fisheries Commissioner Jose Borg is saying is not entirely different: "We must act now to restructure: I remain convinced that there is a future for European fisheries, but only if Member States, the sector and the Commission work together to create a smaller, more fuel-efficient fleet that is better matched to fishing possibilities."

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