NGOs ClientEarth and Our Fish have come together to call for a 'rigorous plan' to decarbonise the fishing sector, if the EU is to stick to its commitments under the Green Deal.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council (AGRIFISH) is meeting with European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius on 21 March, to discuss a growing energy crisis in the EU fishing sector, as a result of increased fuel costs.
As the NGOs put it, this current situation is an opportunity to address the decarbonisation of the sector, so as to ensure a more resilient, sustainable industry going forward.
'A crisis is an opportunity to transform, not a reason for state aid addiction,' they put it in a statement.
Move Away From Fossil Fuels
“The European Commission and EU member states must steer away from fossil fuel subsidies and instead set a course that will take EU fisheries beyond environmental destruction towards a more resilient marine environment and fishing sector”, said Flaminia Tacconi, fisheries lawyer at ClientEarth.
“Fossil fuels will always be vulnerable to price shocks and instability and fishers need a long-term solution to protect them from this.”
Elsewhere, Rebecca Hubbard, program director at Our Fish, argued that the EU does not have a medium- or long-term plan to decarbonise the fishing sector, unlike with other sectors such as agriculture or transport.
“With oil prices fluctuating and vulnerable to geopolitical uncertainty and disruption, the European Commission and member states must use the current crisis as an opportunity to wean the fishing sector off fuel subsidies and develop a transition plan to low carbon, low impact fishing once and for all," she said.