One of the fishing industry's key criticisms of the proposed reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has been the absence of a social dimension. The European Commission addressed these concerns with its presentation of a working paper that spells out how and with what means the reformed CFP will help create jobs, improve the attractiveness of sea-related occupations and diversify activities.
In 2007, the total number of jobs in the EU fisheries sector was around 355,000, of which 145,000 (45%) for the catch segment, 137,000 (34%) for processing, 55,000 (16%) for aquaculture and 18,000 (4%) for related services. Small-scale fishing activity (vessels under 12 metres) account for around 40% of the catch segment and 80% of all EU fishing vessels. The sector represents 0.2% of total EU employment although this figure is higher in certain member states (1.5% in Greece) and coastal areas (3% in Galicia, Spain). The Commission acknowledges that the employment trend is negative. The catch segment has lost 31% of its jobs since 2002 and aquaculture 16%, as a result of increasingly scarce resources, the sector's limited attractiveness (low earnings) and occupational risks (working conditions and safety).
The Commission sets medium and long-term objectives for a more social reformed CFP: reversing the decline in employment, especially in the catch segment; enhancing the attractiveness of the sector and turning it into a source of high-quality jobs; ensuring the viability of local communities by promoting economic growth and jobs; facilitating the transition to sustainable fishing; and unlocking the potential of European aquaculture to expand and create new jobs in inland as well as marine aquaculture.
EMFF TO THE RESCUE
The Commission stresses that ensuring the viability of fish resources is a condition for improving employment, which means achieving maximum sustainable yield (MSY). Once MSY levels have been achieved, fishing quotas should go up by 20% by 2020 and employment on...