GEPETO’s objective is to redesign the economic future of fishing in the European Atlantic Arc.
Fishing in the Atlantic Area – the importance of cooperation
Fishing has been identified as a key sector of the maritime economy in the Atlantic Area. The project by proposing long term management of fisheries that respect the three pillars of sustainable development, will seek to make European fishing in the Atlantic Area more competitive internationally.
Beyond “maritime resources”, on which the current Common Fisheries Policy is based, this project supports a socio-economic approach to fisheries management that integrates notions of business profitability and competitiveness. Such an approach is extremely innovative and should facilitate the improvement of economic efficiency of implemented policies, while maintaining the integrity of exploited fish stocks.
In addition, the project will aim for a positive impact on the environment as the management method being tested is both more sustainable economically and more respectful of the marine environment.
The fishing sector belongs to sectors confronted with the absolute necessity to concentrate their resources. Transnational cooperation is a must because:
- Fish stocks do not acknowledge borders. It is quite frequent to see fleets from different countries exploiting the same stock. When it comes to managing these stocks, upstream cooperation from the various parties involved is essential to avoid confrontation downstream.
- Fishermen of the Atlantic Arc are faced with common challenges: economic crisis, loss of competitiveness due to imports, overexploitation of resources etc. In addition, they sell their products on a common market. The pooling of resources to face these challenges is essential to maintain sector competitiveness.
- This project will provide expertise aimed at advising the European Commission on the Common Fisheries Policy that is transnational by its very nature
It is essential to find a balance that will facilitate the development of fisheries that create wealth and employment and contribute to the life of coastal areas. To meet this challenge and to provide an economic future for fishing, new innovative management methods should be considered.
- Long term Management Plan proposals, no longer based on stock but on Management Units, developed by professionals, scientists and NGOs with the participation of administrations. These will be concrete proposals to improve the management of deep water resources, adapted to the market and ecologically sustainable.
- A Fisheries Atlas of the project area, that compiles the fishing data collected by Member States, which have already agreed to distribute it. The atlas will constitute a tool of common and shared understanding of fisheries management.
- A better definition of innovative concepts of the future Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). “Management Unit” and “fishery” are future concepts that have left their mark on the debates on the future CFP, but their defining contours are fuzzy. The GEPETO project, through the discussions that it will generate, will bring a clear and above all, shared definition of these concepts.
Reinforcement of the expertise capacity of the Regional Advisory Councils (RAC)- and that of fishing businesses, members of the South Western Waters RAC and North Western RAC – as Management Plan proposals will directly feed their work and be useful decision tools for fishery cooperatives and RAC members. Finally, the South Western Waters RAC and the North Western RAC will be better able to fulfil their duties as advisory bodies with the European Commission.