On 3 November 2020, Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Theodoros Zagorakis of the Group of the European People’s Party, filed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission.
“The EU must take action to protect fisheries and support prices for European fishermen.
Electronic auctions contribute to the modernisation of fish auctions and, according to the information that has so far appeared in the media, help fishermen to achieve better prices for their catches. In several fish auctions within the EU it is mandatory for auctions to be conducted electronically, with participants present either physically or via the internet.
In view of this:
1. What information does the Commission have on the number of electronic fish auctions in the EU?
2. Does it believe that modernising fish auctions will support prices and benefit fishermen?”
On 21 December, Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, responded on behalf of the European Commission stating:
“1. The Commission does not have figures on the number of electronic fish auctions in the EU. The recent evaluation of the marketing standards framework for fishery and aquaculture products(1) confirmed that the development of electronic auctions is increasing, but varies across Member States. Among the countries subject of the evaluation (Croatia, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain), France is the only one where distant selling is becoming predominant in some areas.
2. The digitalisation and modernisation of auctions could enhance remote purchasing at first sales. By giving the possibility to access the market without being physically present, electronic auctions could contribute to increase the number of buyers and increase competition at first sales impacting supply strategy and prices. Distance selling could also have a positive impact on cross-border transactions and the capacity of new operators to enter the market. This possibility could tackle the issue of decreasing numbers of buyers in some small auctions where the varieties and quantities are too low to attract distant buyers. In order to ensure transparent and harmonised information for distant buyers, common standards at first sales are needed. EU regulation on marketing standards for fishery and aquaculture products provides common grades on freshness and size, which support the decision of the distant buyer without any physical inspection of the product. In the current pandemic times, electronic fish auctions contribute to ensuring business continuity where physical auctions would need to stop or decrease operations to cope with social distancing constraints.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/fish-catch-box-market-fishing-984299/