Strategic Directions for the Baltic Sea fisheries

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1 Strategic Directions for the Baltic Sea fisheries ÖF2020 conference Simrishamn, Sweden, 17 November 2017 Marcin Ruciński, Baltic and North Sea Coordinator

2 WHO WE ARE & HOW WE WORK Some figures to start with Ca small boats, ca fishers from 12 Member States Ca. 30 Member Organizations 8 employees How did it all happen? November 2012 small-scale fishers Congress adopts LIFE Declaration & Objectives Mission Statement agreed one year later in Santiago The organization grew with new Members joining Greenpeace helped in setting up the organization in the beginning In the Baltic Sea 9 organizations in total Denmark Germany Poland Sweden A freshwater fisheries organization from Finland this is surely not the end! We work at the following levels European through Brussels office Regional through offices in the UK, Barcelona & Warsaw National through activities of our Members

3 PRINCIPLES, OBJECTIVES, CRITERIA (1/2) The HOW (or the principles) Organization run by fishermen for fishermen Cooperation not confrontation Agree to disagree amicably If you re not in the (decision-making) room, you re nowhere Recognize the role of women (AKTEA) Seek solutions, do not create problems The WHAT (or the objectives) Re-balance the status quo Build alliances with: other fishers, NGOs, public, scientists Support Member Organizations Ensure rewards for sustainable, low impact fishing Help dismantle bad subsidies, promote good ones Exert political influence

4 PRINCIPLES, OBJECTIVES, CRITERIA (2/2) The WHO (or the Membership criteria) Fishing using low impact gears & practices The owner is aboard the vessel when fishing Fishers important to socio-economic fabric of their coastal communities Commitment to - Sustainability - Obeying the Regulations - Applying self-imposed fish & habitats conservation rules (if Regulations weak or absent) The daily work We do not replace fishers. We help them to engage Building capacity of our Members Positions on specific issues agreed with Members We help exchange experience and best practice Publishing articles, position papers Lobbying the authorities Strong presence in the Internet and Social Media

5 STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS FOR BALTIC SEA (1/4) SSFs must be listened to by all decision-makers, at all levels Why? Fisheries sector is making good profits overall, but 53 out of 135 coastal communities in Europe are making losses Karmenu Vella, 12 October, Tallinn Number of gillnet sets used in Sweden: ; Vesa Tschernij, 17 October, Kołobrzeg So many SSFs depend on Baltic cod, which is in deep trouble This crisis must be responded to! More must be done for the Baltic cod to turn the corner Think outside of the TAC level box: curb discards, improve spawning protection, look at prey availability/spatial management, think of protecting key cod habitats (Article 8 of Basic Regulation) Draw inspiration from Western cod example SSFs problems must be at the centre of decision-makers attention Regulatory solutions must be tailored to SSFs needs Are SSFs optimally represented?

6 STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS FOR BALTIC SEA (2/4) Fishing for quality, not quantity and getting rewarded The price per kilo Baltic cod is roughly the same as in 1990s if sold through traditional channels Competition from mass retail labelled products is fierce How to add more value to our fish? Tell the powerful story behind products offered by SSFs: sustainable, low impact, locally sourced, personal touch, different from mass retail but avoid adding to communication chaos (in consumer s head) Use today s and tomorrow s technology - wisely Think of seasonality and small quantities as assets, not liabilities Analyze your markets in-depth both local ones and those of big cities Establish the presence in the right market niches Regulators! Avoid narrow understanding of economic efficiency Think communities, not just spreadsheets Remember Article 17 of Basic Regulation when dividing up national quotas Help assuring top quality & freshness of the product (where needed)

7 STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS FOR BALTIC SEA (3/4) Contributing to better knowledge of fisheries & ecosystems Since 2012, ICES cannot provide a quantitative/msy-based assessment of Eastern Baltic cod stock SSFs can be helpful here How can SSFs help? Utilise Local Environmental Knowledge (LEK) to complement mathematical models and research cruises on which ICES advice is based Use today s & tomorrow s technologies to collect & report data while on fishing grounds Make them fully available to scientists to improve advice and for other purposes Incorporate the data and LEK into existing EU Data Collection mechanisms Encourage, support and develop Fully Documented Fisheries Regulators! Get outside the box of mathematical models when looking at science Listen carefully to what fishers say when they re back from the sea Remember that latest advice is normally based on 1-2 years old data

8 STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS FOR BALTIC SEA (4/4) SSFs: stewards of the marine environment For many years, small-scale fishers have been facing strong competition from marine predators and other users of marine space SSFs must be present in decision-making rooms to Deal with predator-prey-fisher interactions, avoiding lethal measures Avoid incidental catches of sea birds and marine mammals Support the necessary adjustments in fisheries (gears!) Impact Marine Spatial Planning processes SSFs know their waters best Use gathered data to help inform EBFM processes Regulators! See EBFM as two-way road: not only restricting fisheries for their ecosystem impact, but helping fisheries overcome the environmental challenges Photos used for illustrative purposes only. No copyrights claimed

9 CONCLUSIONS Simply put: we want a bright future for our fish, the fishermen and the marine environment The Strategic Directions are of course strongly linked with one another, on many counts but all of them rest on the hope to get the Eastern cod stock right WE CANNOT FAIL THIS TIME ROUND!

10 THE VISION We meet in early 2020s at a herring fest Sillaroden in Ronneby We eat fresh, sustainable cod, locally caught by small-scale fishers which is nice, big and fat Seals cannot eat our fish or destroy our gear because it comes from improved cod pots, which are also completely safe for seabirds Other fish species straight from local SSFs are also up for sale, attracting lots of consumers, even if the prices are quite high ICES scientists are happy to advise a 30% TAC hike for Eastern cod thanks to a robust stock recovery New EU fisheries commissioner attends the event to inform that most of the subsidies remaining post-2020 are directed to benefit the coastal communities and SSFs Bengt Larsson & his wife win the herring rowing/selling contest OK, time to wake up and work on the Strategic Directions!

11 THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION! Marcin Ruciński Baltic and North Sea Coordinator

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