The Netherlands has become the latest EU member state to criticize an action plan by the European Commission with stricter restrictions on deep-sea fishing.
The position of the Dutch cabinet has been presented and regrets that the action plan only covers activities related to deep-sea fishing.
“The position of the government is reassuring for the industry and shows that the future prospects of the fishing industry are not entirely in the hands of the European Commission,” said Johan K.
“Coastal states have a strong interest in fishing and will therefore take a strong stand to get the proposal to ban bottom fishing off the table.”
The Commission has already indicated that the expectations of the plan are not restrictive and that Member States themselves must take measures to limit the environmental impact of fisheries and aquaculture. Its proposals include the creation of new protected areas and stricter management of existing ones. Broadly speaking, the ambition is to bring all deep-sea fisheries in the Nowra 2000 zones under the Habitats Directive.
The attitude of the Dutch government, like that of Germany, France and Spain, is very critical of the Commission’s proposals.
The government notes that, under the Birds and Habitats Directives and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the EU Member States are free to take national measures that contribute to achieving their nature and environmental objectives. The Commission expects that (national) measures to achieve the environmental objectives in all protected areas should include a general ban on deep-sea fishing, which should be done through a new law, according to a report by the Dutch cabinet. A fundamental regulation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
Contrary to what the Commission claims, the government has taken the position that such a broad obligation should only be imposed on the basis of sound scientific evidence.
The Dutch government is not prepared to consider stopping deep-sea fishing in 2030 due to the major negative consequences for the fishing industry and supply chain, the lack of alternative fishing techniques for deep-sea fishing and the time needed to find new techniques.
In order to continue to signal the positive aspects of pulse fishing, the government added that although it is a deep-sea fishing method with effects on the seabed, the impact is significantly less than that of conventional fishing gear.