On 6 November 2020, French Member of the European Parliament (MEP) France Jamet of the Identity and Democracy Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“In September 2020 the ‘Scombrus’, an 81-metre long giant trawler belonging to a subsidiary of the Dutch group Cornelis Vrolijk, was officially launched in France. Not content with looting the sea off Brittany’s shores before landing its entire catch in the Netherlands, and thus sounding the death knell for small-scale fishing in France, the ‘Scombrus’ will also bear a considerable share of responsibility for the impoverishment of fishery resources in French territorial waters. Trawlers of this kind can catch up to 200 tonnes of fish per day and are also responsible for the death of many dolphins.
1. Given the dangers referred to above, does the Commission ensure that the ‘Scombrus’ complies with EU fishing standards and quotas?
2. How does the Commission intend to achieve its objective of restoring fish stocks when vessels of this kind exist?
3. How can the Commission justify the double standards it is guilty of in granting rights to industrial fishing concerns that it denies to small-scale fishing fleets?”
On 22 January 2021, Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius responded on behalf of the European Commission stating:
“1. The Commission is aware of the fishing activities of the French trawler Scombrus, which has a fishing authorisation to operate in the North Sea. It is for the French authorities to control the operations of this vessel and ensure that its activities are in full compliance with the common fisheries policy (CFP) rules. In line with the EU Control Regulation, Member States have to adopt appropriate measures necessary for ensuring an effective control, inspection and enforcement of activities carried out within the scope of the CFP within waters under their sovereignty or jurisdiction and by fishing vessels flying their flag. The Commission regularly carries out audits in the Member States to ensure they comply with their obligations. Whenever shortcomings are identified, the Commission follows-up in the most appropriate way, including through action plans, administrative enquiries, EU-Pilot letters or infringement procedures.
2. The CFP includes a variety of fisheries management measures, including limits of fleet capacity, catch limits and specific conservation measures. These rules have been developed based on scientific advice and in line with the CFP objectives, aiming to ensure the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources. All fishing vessels, large and small, have to comply with the applicable rules and regulations.
3. In line with Article 16(6) of CFP, it is for Member States to allocate fishing opportunities to vessels flying their flags in line with the criteria specified in Article 17 of the CFP, obliging them to use transparent and objective criteria, including those of an environmental, social and economic nature.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/shrimp-fishing-boat-cutter-1724801/