For the third edition of its Come On Board series, Blue Fish Europe invited a delegation of MEPs from the S&D group to Boulogne-sur-Mer. PECH Committee MEPs Renata Briano, Ulrike Rodust and Isabelle Thomas, their assistants and a political advisor of the S&D group boarded two fishing boats and experienced the work of fishermen for a couple of hours.
These two trawlers exemplify some of the best practices in sustainable fishing being implemented along the European coasts. Le Marmouset is one of the first fishing vessels in France to conduct a test of the newly created discard ban, while La Frégate is powered by a hybrid engine using both electricity and fuel and is experimenting with innovative designs to limit the consumption of energy on board. The two boats went fishing off the coast of Boulogne-sur-Mer, and demonstrated one haul. The crew talked about their daily work, their projects for the future and the innovative practices they are putting in place.
Back on the quay, fishermen and MEPs continued the discussions. They discussed at length the new Common Fisheries Policy and its implementing measures, including the discard ban, the review of the technical measures regulation, multiannual management plans, etc. MEPs learned about some of the concerns of fishermen regarding the implementation of the discard ban and the allocation of quotas. Fishermen and MEPs agreed that more regionalisation in the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy would benefit the European fishing sector, and that the continuous involvement of fishermen in the decision-making process was crucial to prevent one-size-fits-all European regulations.
Overall, both sides welcomed the opportunity to learn more about each other’s work and to open constructive channels of communication. The MEPs then continued their visit of the port infrastructures of Boulogne.
Our Come on Board! series of events provide guided tours of working fishing boats and European ports, as part of Blue Fish’s mission to promote best practices in sustainable fishing and to educate European stakeholders about the value of the fishing sector for the environment, the economy and coastal communities.