EU fishing industries in task force plea

The Fraserburgh-registered pelagic vessel Taits at Peterhead in March 2014
The Fraserburgh-registered pelagic vessel Taits at Peterhead in March 2014

On August 7, the Russian Federation issued a ban on imports from the EU on a range of seafood and agricultural products for a year, or at least until the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia are lifted.

The ban is currently causing economic problems to the fishing sector which is still reeling from radical changes introduced by the recent overhaul of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

An estimated 153.8 million Euros will be lost following the closure of this vital market, made worse with Russia rapidly establishing firm markets elsewhere.

Commenting on the situation, president of Europeche, Javier Garat, said: ‘It is shocking that not only has the Commissioner proposed no action to address the impact of such economic uncertainty on the industry but absolutely no reaction has been made at all.

“The ban is causing serious financial losses to the sector at a time when we are already facing a vast swathe of new regulations from Brussels.

“At this challenging time, our fishermen feel frustrated and need clarity on what is being done to address the impact of the ban.’

In a letter addressed to European Fisheries Commisioner Maria Damanaki, the EU fishing and aquaculture industries has called for a Task Force to be created to support the appropriate management of this issue.

The Task Force would analyse the impact of the ban, and identify new potential markets to alleviate the concerns and consequences to fishermen.

Mr Garat added: ‘We must remember, however, that it is important that such a Task Force is initiated in a most timely manner in order that the most efficient preparations can be established.

“The Commission must take the lead and ensure that serious action is being taken to assist the entire supply chain as well as an already vulnerable catching sector.”