Next Common Fisheries Policy – this time with fishers on board?

24 Sep 2019

The representatives of trade unions, European Commission and other stakeholders in the fisheries sector gathered in Brussels on 24 September to discuss the trade union vision for a more social Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The occasion for that was the final seminar of ‘A socially sustainable CFP’ project, run jointly by the ETF and EFFAT and co-funded by the European Commission.

The joint vision was established by trade union representatives from fisheries, aquaculture and fish processing sectors during  three thematical seminars:

– Market, trade and international dimensions of EU fisheries (Malaga, June 2018);

– Health and safety and working conditions (Venice, November 2018);

– Fisheries management and financial instrument (Boulogne-sur-Mer, February 2019).

With the help of external experts from Key Traceability the trade unions developed asks that should be taken into account during the next revision of the CFP. These asks were presented and discussed at the final seminar in Brussels.

In the presentation ‘Market, trade and international dimensions of EU fisheries’ Juan Manuel Trujillo (CCOO, Spain) stressed the need for level playing field between the fish products from the EU and third countries, as well as cooperation between countries. He linked the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) with the issue of poor working conditions and labour abuses.

During the subsequent roundtable these topics were discussed further. The participants remarked that existing regulations on international trade of fish products and of social clauses in Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements need to be enforced better. Potential measures aiming at improving traceability of fish products that will also include labour dimensions were discussed.

In the next session dedicated to H&S and fisheries management Wietze Kampen (CNV, the Netherlands) and Bruno Dachicourt (CFTC, France) presented the demands concerning the fishers’ working conditions. They highlighted the issue of missing ex-ante impact assessment on social consequences of CFP measures. Another necessary change concerns data collection. Currently, there is no harmonised EU methodology for data collection on accidents, and there are only two indicators that concern social aspects of fisheries (jobs and income). Both speakers highlighted that workers need to be consulted about future CFP policies and measures.

During the roundtable that followed the need for a better coordination between different bodies (European Commission’s DGs, Member States, Advisory Councils, Social Dialogue Committee) was raised. The participants also came up with proposals concerning potential social indicators. It was also stressed that any EU funding should be conditional to compliance with the labour and social regulations.

Please find the seminar document and the programme here.