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Fisheries organisations respond to the call of the European Bottom Trawling Alliance to launch a broad protest against European policies that are jeopardising the future of the sector

04, May 2023

The fishing organizations (Alleanza Cooperative Italiane Pesca, Federpesca, Coldiretti Impresa Pesca, Unci Agroalimentare) respond to the appeal of the European Trawling Alliance to give life to a large protest against European policies that are putting the future of the sector. European fishermen are called to protest jointly against EU policies that put the future of a vitally important sector at stake, expressing their strong unease with the fishing bans and the restrictions that the European Commission intends to impose on trawling through the Action Plan to protect marine ecosystems. Fishing is the exclusive competence of the European Union. However, what should be a policy that unites fishermen and makes them proud of the EU, has instead turned into a plea for disenfranchisement. The fishing sector is facing huge challenges such as Brexit, the effects of the post-COVID pandemic, competition for marine space with other economic sectors such as offshore wind farms, inflation and skyrocketing energy costs. The European Commission with its Action Plan and its proposal to ban trawling in 30% of our seas comes with a further trap that brings the sector to its knees and which, with this proposal to further reduce trawling , sparked protests from governments, the European Parliament and the fishing industry itself. And the navy of Emilia-Romagna adheres to the appeal of the national and European associations with 6 centers in the ports of the region: Bellaria Igea-Marina, Cattolica, Cesenatico, Goro, Porto Garibaldi and Rimini.

The appointment is set for Saturday 6 May at 11.30 am. In the fishing ports of Emilia-Romagna, the sirens of the fishing vessels stationed in the ports will be activated for five minutes to loudly highlight the profound dissent to the proposals of the European Commission included in the Action Plan to protect marine ecosystems. During the protests, videos of the protests will be recorded and transmitted to the European Commission on 9 May on the occasion of Europe Day. “The date of 9 May was chosen - declares Massimo Bellavista, Emilia-Romagna Fishing and Aquaculture Manager of Legacoop Agroalimentare - to highlight the strong concerns of fishermen, who have reached the limit of survival. The Common Fisheries Policy should be a policy that unites fishermen and makes them proud of the EU and which, instead, has turned into a policy of restrictions and disenfranchisement. That's why Europe Day was chosen as a date for loud protests”.

On 9 May the images and videos produced during the garrisons set up along all European coasts, from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, from the North Sea to the Baltic, will be uploaded to social networks, but also by those who fish in all seas of the world and disclosed online with the hashtag #SOS_EU_Fishing. “Fishermen and their communities are European citizens – declares Vadis Paesanti, Vice-President of Fedagri Pesca Emilia-Romagna – and the common fisheries policy should take care of our fishermen because the future of their work and their families is at stake. We fulfill our role by providing a high quality food product to our fellow EU citizens. And we do it in a sustainable way, according to one of the strictest regulations in the world and our fishermen carry out their role with pride and professionalism". What, then, should be a policy that unites fishermen and makes them proud to be Europeans, a policy which today is instead only a source of depressive prospects? This is the reason why Europe Day was chosen as a symbolic date to draw the attention of citizens, political forces and institutions to the profound discomfort and concern of the fishing class. “There is great discontent and a lot of uncertainty with the current situation – declares Patrizia Masetti, AGCI/AGRITAL Emilia-Romagna Fishing Manager – and we are witnessing a continuous reduction in the fishing fleet due to European regulations to protect the marine environment and recover fish stocks. And despite the enormous efforts made, the further reduction is the straw that overflows the vase”.

Bellaria Igea Marina: Quay of the Port
Cattolica: loading/unloading quay
Cesenatico: In front of the fish market
Goro: Quay of the Fishing Port
Porto Garibaldi: In front of the fish market
Rimini: In front of the Port Authority

Alliance of Fishing Cooperatives of Emilia-Romagna
Patrizia Masetti AGCI/AGRITAL Emilia-Romagna
Vadis Paesanti Confcooperative/Fedagri Pesca Emilia-Romagna
Massimo Bellavista Legacoop Agroalimen

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