Procedure : 2016/2035(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0221/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0221/2017

Debates :

PV 03/07/2017 - 27
CRE 03/07/2017 - 27

Votes :

PV 04/07/2017 - 6.6

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0280

REPORT     
PDF 361kWORD 78k
15 June 2017
PE 597.467v04-00 A8-0221/2017

on the role of fisheries-related tourism in the diversification of fisheries

(2016/2035(INI))

Committee on Fisheries

Rapporteur: Renata Briano

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Transport and Tourism
 INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
 FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the role of fisheries-related tourism in the diversification of fisheries

(2016/2035(INI))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC(1),

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2328/2003, (EC) No 861/2006, (EC) No 1198/2006 and (EC) No 791/2007 and Regulation (EU) No 1255/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council(2),

–  having regard to Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (‘the EU Water Framework Directive’)(3),

–  having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2012 on small-scale coastal fishing, artisanal fishing and the reform of the common fisheries policy(4),

–  having regard to its resolution of 2 July 2013 on Blue Growth: enhancing sustainable growth in the EU’s marine, maritime transport and tourism sectors(5),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 May 2014 entitled ‘Innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth’ (COM(2014)0254),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 30 June 2010 entitled ‘Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’ (COM(2010)0352),

–  having regard to the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 and in particular to Target 4 ‘Make fishing more sustainable and seas healthier’, in which the EU pledges, amongst other things, to eliminate adverse impacts on fish stocks, species, habitats and ecosystems, ‘including through providing financial incentives through the future financial instruments for fisheries and maritime policy for marine protected areas (including Natura 2000 areas and those established by international or regional agreements). This could include restoring marine ecosystems, adapting fishing activities and promoting the involvement of the sector in alternative activities, such as eco-tourism, monitoring and managing marine biodiversity, and combating marine litter’,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 3 March 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 September 2012 entitled ‘Blue Growth – opportunities for marine and maritime sustainable growth’ (COM(2012)0494),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 20 February 2014 entitled ‘A European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism’ (COM(2014)0086),

–  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries and the opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (A8-0221/2017),

A.  whereas traditional fishing has continued to decline;

B.  whereas diversification has become a necessity for many small-scale fishermen in order to provide additional sources of income, as their income is often inadequate;

C.  whereas when speaking of diversification in fisheries, it is necessary to take into account the fact that much of the fisheries sector depends almost entirely on traditional forms of fishing;

D.  whereas most coastal and island regions are suffering severe economic decline, resulting in depopulation as their inhabitants leave for areas with greater employment and education opportunities;

E.  whereas while some coastal fishing regions are located close to tourist destinations, they are not managing to achieve proper economic growth, even though the fishery and tourism sectors are compatible;

F.  whereas fisheries-related tourism can help to create jobs, promote social inclusion, improve the quality of life and revitalise communities that depend on fishing, especially in areas where there is little else in the way of economic activities; whereas this potential varies greatly, both in regional terms and depending on the type of fisheries involved and vessel sizes;

G.  whereas fisheries-related tourism can help reduce the impact on fish stocks and the environment, as well as increase knowledge and awareness of the need for environmental protection and cultural conservation; whereas, in particular, fishing tours and tourist services offered by fishermen ashore may be a genuine way of supplementing, and diversifying out of, the core activity in many European regions;

H.  whereas fisheries-related tourism activities can help raise the profile of fishermen and promote appreciation for, and understanding of, their complex field of activity; whereas fishing tours and other tourism-related fishing activities (tourist services offered by fishermen ashore, recreational fishing, etc.) are still little known to the general public, and there is a need to raise consumer awareness of the importance of consuming local fish products coming from a short supply chain;

I.  whereas fisheries-related tourism can afford an opportunity to attract tourists by providing a wide offering, ranging from local products to green business styles;

J.  whereas the traditional gastronomy associated with fishery products and traditional preservation and processing industries could represent a major asset for the tourism being developed around the fishing industry;

K.  whereas angling confers various social benefits, and has a favourable impact on human health and well-being;

L.  whereas the socio-economic gains resulting from fisheries-related tourism are of a highly seasonal nature, as they are made chiefly in the summer months; whereas the benefits to be gained from greater customer loyalty, an oft-quoted subject, are achievable throughout the year;

M.  whereas 2018 will be the European Year of Cultural Heritage, intended to make citizens aware of European history and impress upon them that the values embodied in their cultural heritage are a resource that they share; whereas traditional fishing forms part of Europe’s rich cultural heritage and contributes to the identity of local communities, not least in terms of how it has helped shape tastes, foods, traditions, history and landscapes; whereas this aspect is greatly enhanced through contacts with tourists;

N.  whereas the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) supports investment to help fishermen diversify their income by developing complementary activities, including investment for additional on-board safety equipment, fishing tours, shore-based tourism services, catering, recreational and sport fishing services, and fishing-related educational activities;

O.  whereas there is no common definition of fisheries-related tourism, nor is there any legal basis; whereas, for example, tourism of this type is considered an occupation in Italy, but in France is classed as a sideline activity; whereas, depending on the legal status accorded to it, significant differences can arise as regards tax arrangements, licensing procedures, qualification requirements, safety equipment, etc.;

P.  whereas the EU’s Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive require Member States to ensure good status of coastal and marine waters; whereas the Habitats Directive requires Member States to identify and maintain marine and coastal habitats by establishing and managing Natura 2000 sites;

Q.  whereas in most marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine and coastal Natura 2000 sites the tourism sector is particularly important; whereas there are many positive examples of shared management and partnerships between MPA management bodies and small-scale fishermen for the promotion of fishing tourism and other means of showcasing traditional fishing for tourism and cultural purposes;

R.  whereas data on fisheries-related tourism in and outside Europe are scarce and inconsistent and do not lend themselves to comparison;

S.  whereas in the 2012 ‘Blue Growth’ strategy the EU singled out coastal and maritime tourism as a key sector for the development of a solidarity-based sustainable economy;

T.  whereas in 2010, in the communication entitled ‘Europe, the world’s No 1 tourist destination – a new political framework for tourism in Europe’, the Commission set out the need to pursue a strategy for sustainable coastal and maritime tourism;

U.  whereas in 2012 the Commission launched a public consultation on the challenges and opportunities for coastal and maritime tourism in Europe and, on 20 February 2014, followed that up by publishing a communication entitled ‘A European Strategy for more Growth and Jobs in Coastal and Maritime Tourism’;

V.  whereas fisheries-related tourism activities are carried out by commercial fishermen seeking to diversify their activities, promote and enhance the status of their profession and their socio-cultural heritage, and improve the sustainable use of aquatic ecosystems, aims which they sometimes pursue by carrying tourists on fishing boats; whereas while these fishing activities plainly involve a tourism element and a recreational purpose, there is no clear-cut, standard-setting definition of them;

W.  whereas the term ‘fishing tours’ (pescaturismo in Italian; below ‘pesca-turism’) denotes tourist/recreational fishing activities carried out by commercial fishermen who take tourists on board their vessels in order to show them the fisheries world;

X.  whereas tourist services offered by fishermen ashore (ittiturismo in Italian; below ‘itti-tourism’) include gastronomic tourism and hospitality ventures run by commercial fishermen; whereas one of the main differences between the two aforementioned types of tourism is that the latter cannot take place aboard fishing boats;

Y.  whereas recreational fishing is an activity carried out solely for recreational and/or competitive sporting purposes, in which living aquatic resources are exploited, but catches may not, under any circumstances, be sold; whereas while the intention of recreational fishing is not to make a profit, it is included among tourist activities generating a parallel economy which should be exploited under the management of professional fishermen, through the services, facilities, and infrastructure offered to recreational fishermen; whereas, however, uncontrolled and intensive recreational fishing is liable to have an adverse effect on fish stocks in some areas;

Z.  whereas there are no reliable socio-economic or environmental statistics on the impact of recreational fishing on stocks, especially in areas where recreational fishing is intensive, and whereas there are no clear rules or exhaustive checks on catch, and still less on illicit sales of recreational catch through informal channels, generally linked to restaurants;

Tourism fishing in EU countries

AA.  whereas a study conducted in 2015 by the ‘il mare delle Alpi’ Coastal Action Group (GAC)(6) on public habits and views in the GAC catchment area showed that a third of interviewees eat fish several times a week, namely only four types of food-fishes, of which two are found in fresh water and the others in the sea (fatty fish, salmon, cod and trout); whereas tourism fishing leads to greater awareness of fish species and culinary traditions, which are often unknown to the wider consumer public; whereas in terms of diversification of the fishing effort, the impact is obvious;

AB.  whereas in Italy there has been a steady increase in applications for licences to carry out fisheries-related tourism activities; whereas, according to a recent survey, the Italian regions with the highest number of licences are Liguria (290), Emilia-Romagna (229), Sardinia (218), Calabria (203), Campania (200) and Sicily (136): whereas 1 600 licences in all were registered in the period from 2002 to 2012; whereas in 2003 the regions with the highest number of licences were Campania (63), Liguria (62), Sicily (60) and Sardinia (59), closely followed by Apulia (46), Calabria (39) and Tuscany (37)2;

AC.  whereas a third of the fleet licenced to carry out fisheries-related tourist activities is prohibited from carrying more than 4 passengers, 29 % may carry 5 to 8 passengers, and the remaining 37 % are allowed to carry between 9 and 12 passengers1;

AD.  whereas high tourist numbers are concentrated almost entirely in the months of July and August, meaning that fisheries-related tourism is extremely seasonal in nature and that it is important to encourage diversification;

AE.  whereas education follows a similar pattern to age classes, to the extent that the level of schooling is likewise higher among fishing-tour operators than among those who engage solely in professional fishing; whereas more than 30 % of the skippers hold a certificate or professional qualification and have at least a basic knowledge of English (64 %), French (34 %), Spanish (16 %), or German (7 %)(7);

AF.  whereas a survey of fishing tour operators in Italy has revealed that fishing tours can be beneficial to efforts to conserve fish stocks and marine ecosystems, particularly through reduced catches, as well as, from a social point of view, to the physical and mental well-being of fishermen and their families through reduced working hours at sea1;

AG.  whereas it has been noted that women have become involved in greater numbers not just in side activities related to fishermen’s work, but also in pursuing their own fisheries-related tourism activities;

AH.  whereas young people can also be considered one of the target groups for the development of fishing tourist destinations;

AI.  whereas traditional fishing is currently the least well-known primary sector activity and the one least studied and used as an educational tool at basic and intermediary academic levels;

AJ.  whereas there is broad scope for the introduction of educational activities relating to traditional fishing based on models such as that of the ‘farm school’;

AK.  whereas the development of tourism-related fishing activities depends to a crucial extent on partnerships, Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs), in which those working in the fisheries sector and other local public and private stakeholders together devise and implement a bottom-up strategy geared to, and meeting, the economic, social, and environmental needs of the area concerned; whereas, although FLAGs in the EU operate in very different contexts and adopt very different strategies, they have, almost without exception, recognised tourism to be a key development factor;

AL.  whereas the Commission has set up the European Fisheries Areas Network (FARNET) Support Unit to help implement Axis 4 under the European Fisheries Fund (EFF); whereas FARNET is a networking platform for fishing areas and helps FLAGs to pursue local strategies, initiatives, and projects;

AM.  whereas local stakeholders have learned, through the FLAGs, how the tourist offering of a fishing area can evolve to encompass a complete package of activities and, thus, remain attractive even within a tourism segment in which competition is very keen; whereas tourism can in this way become a major source of additional revenue for fishing communities, thus ultimately contributing to the overall development of coastal and island regions;

AN.  whereas success stories testify to the FLAGs’ invaluable assistance to non-industrial fishing communities in Greece, Italy and Spain; whereas, in addition, the FARNET network has highlighted good practices in France, Belgium, Spain, Croatia and Italy(8);

AO.  whereas in Finland a model has been adopted for assessing the impact of fisheries-related tourist activities based on the duration of visits and the places of stay and number of visitors; whereas assessment findings have revealed problems regarding the definition of a ‘fishing tourist’ and the way in which visits should be counted(9);

AP.  whereas festivals are held in various coastal villages in Member States where it is important to integrate other means of increasing the tourism pull, such as by combining these with other quality offerings in the primary sector: disseminating knowledge of small-scale fishing and fishermen’s way of life, and providing contacts with traditional cultures, including regional foods and wines, and high-end products from the processing and canning industry reflecting the diversity of the EU;

AQ.  whereas in Spain, ‘Turismo marinero – Costa del Sol’ and other specialised agencies have been set up to promote the traditional fishing industry and help local people to develop and publicise fisheries-related tourist activities; whereas the Costa del Sol agency organises cooking courses on boats used by local fishermen, tours to observe fish species, and recreational fishing activities; whereas another option available is guided tours of the ‘Bioparc’, an open-air museum designed especially for children, where they can learn something about marine biology, traditional fishing (traditional fishing gear and techniques) and local culture; notes that the emulation of such initiatives, and the sharing of expertise in this area, among Member States would be beneficial to coastal and rural communities, particularly in peripheral regions(10);

AR.  whereas the Commission, Parliament and the Member States must therefore not prohibit traditional small-scale family fishing techniques indiscriminately, but must first make a proper impact assessment in order to avoid rendering emerging forms of sustainable, small-scale and authentic fishing tourism with traditional fishing gear impossible;

AS.  whereas in Croatia the fishing festivals held during the summer months at coastal and island tourist centres serve to promote fishing traditions, the cultural and historical heritage, local gastronomy and the traditional way of life;

1.  Considers it essential to redesign and adapt fishing vessels for tourist activities, bearing in mind that boats need to be renovated in order to guarantee tourists’ safety, and to ensure that there are no obstacles in terms of carrying out fishing activities while offering the comfort necessary for a pleasant experience, without increasing their fishing capacity; points out, however, that alterations of this kind, especially when carried out during the off-season for tourism, must not entail any restrictions for commercial fisheries;

2.  Highlights the as yet untapped potential of fishing-related tourism, which can bring considerable benefits to communities living in coastal areas by diversifying sources of local income; considers, in this regard, that fishing tourism at sea, and shore-based tourist services offered by fishermen, can complement commercial fishing and provide an additional income for fishing communities;

3.  Believes that the strategic goal of the Commission initiative should be to promote fishing tour activities, shore-based tourist services offered by fishermen, and sport fishing-related tourism, and to enable these to be developed to the full, throughout the EU, with the aid of a shared network and framework set up for this purpose;

4.  Calls on the Commission to promote, through the European Travel Commission and its portal visiteurope.com, sustainable recreational fishing tourism destinations in Europe, and, by means of a targeted information campaign, to make fishing businesses aware of the potential of these new and sustainable business models and of the growth opportunities they afford;

5.  Calls on the Commission to foster the establishment and development of fishing tourism, with the aim of applying a differentiated business strategy that is appropriate to the potential of this segment and able to meet its needs more effectively, working towards a new form of tourism in which the key concerns are for quality, flexibility, innovation and preserving the historic and cultural heritage of fishing areas, as well as their environment and health, among other aspects; calls as well on the Commission to promote and support investment in fisheries in the area of tourism, in order to create differentiated tourism capacities by promoting gastronomy connected with non-industrial fish products, angling tourism activities, underwater and diving tourism, etc., thereby sustainably capitalising on the fishing heritage and the recognisability of a specific fishing region;

6.  Calls on the Commission, in order to foster the establishment and development of fishing tourism, to encourage and actively support investments with a view to diversifying fisheries in cultural and artistic terms, as part of the traditional heritage (non-industrial products, music, dance, etc.), and to support investment in the promotion of fishing traditions, history and general fishing heritage (fishing gear, techniques, historical documents, etc.), by opening museums and organising exhibitions that are closely linked to coastal fishing;

7.  Calls on the Commission to look into the possibility of allowing a mixed use of vessels intended for catch-related activities so that, while still retaining this purpose, they may also accommodate other kinds of activities linked with the recreational and tourism sector, such as nautical information days or activities related to processing, learning or gastronomy, etc., in line with the system that operates in the rural sector involving farm schools or agritourism;

8.  Considers it necessary, therefore, to set up a European tourism fishing network, and a European network for tourist services related to sport/recreational fishing, following the highly successful example of FARNET, which offers considerable help to FLAGs;

9.  Considers there to be an urgent need to carefully direct support policies and properly assess their results, and to systematise, standardise and improve the gathering of statistics on the contribution of these diversifying activities to the revenue of European fishing areas; stresses as well the importance of monitoring the real impact of recreational fishing as an economic activity, its impact on stocks and any potential competition, via informal sales channels, with the professional fishing industry; urges the Commission to ensure that the fishing industry participates in the design of such monitoring measures;

10.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to develop and support partnerships with the fishing tourism sector promoted by MPA management bodies in the MPAs and in Natura 2000 sites with a view to combining the protection of natural resources with the promotion and development of culture through responsible enjoyment; 

11.  Considers it vital to harmonise the definition of tourism-related fishing activities at Union level, with particular emphasis on fishing tours, shore-based tourist services offered by fishermen, aquaculture-related tourism, and tourism related to sport/recreational fishing; this definition should take into account the wide diversity of forms these activities may take, guarantee the consultation of all stakeholders, and ensure that fisheries-related tourism is regarded as an ancillary activity that enables fishermen to supplement their main fishing activity without moving into a sector other than fishing;

12.  Highlights the importance of distinguishing between the various forms of fisheries-related tourism, which include fishing tourism (pesca-tourism and itti-tourism), maritime and coastal water-based activities, recreational fishing (including angling tourism), inland fishing, and activities based on heritage and culture that are geared towards creating synergies with marketing initiatives for high-quality primary products, while respecting the natural heritage and the need to ensure animal protection and biodiversity;

13.  Calls on the Commission, in light of the huge differences among EU fishing operators involved in tourism, to adopt common rules on navigation safety, health and hygiene requirements for vessels used to carry out fishing tourism activities, and possible tax concessions, with the proviso that the aforementioned measures are sufficiently flexible to accommodate major differences in terms of individual fisheries and fishing vessels, and allow for distinctive regional characteristics;

14.  Recommends that the principle of the decarbonisation and energy efficiency of motorised vessels be included among the adaptations that must be made to such vessels when they are converted for use in these activities;

15.  Believes that it is advisable for proper transport and accommodation facilities to be provided for the tourists concerned, and for public spaces to be maintained and looked after, as and where required, in order to guarantee the long-term success of tourist activities;

16.  Calls on the Member States to fulfil their obligations under the EU’s Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive in order to ensure good status of coastal and marine waters, in particular by improving resource efficiency and by effectively preventing and tackling pollution and waste;

17.  Calls on the Member States to lighten the administrative burden by simplifying licensing and other bureaucratic procedures;

18.  Stresses the need for these activities to be compatible with the protection of biodiversity, Natura 2000 sites and MPAs (EU Biodiversity strategy, Birds and Habitats directives) and thus the need to enhance dialogue and synergies with other concerned Member States;

19.  Believes that training courses should be provided for fishermen and fish farmers, as well as for their families and all local people involved, so as to ensure that they have the language skills and the knowledge necessary to welcome tourists and guarantee their safety, and to promote information on marine biology, local fish species, the environment and cultural traditions; calls on the Commission and the Council to recognise the role played by women in the fishing tourism sector, and in the sustainable development of areas that depend on fishing, with the aim of guaranteeing their participation on equal terms;

20.  Calls on the Member States, and on regional and local authorities, to disseminate widely information about the Commission’s European Job Mobility Portal EURES, which provides information for jobseekers and employers about job opportunities, skills and training needs in the ‘blue jobs’ sector, and to promote open online courses aimed at upgrading or reorienting skills relating to tourism management and innovative pesca-tourism;

21.  Calls on the Commission to include a dedicated section in the European Small Business Portal aimed at helping entrepreneurs/fishermen obtain funding for activities in the field of fisheries-related tourism;

22.  Considers occupational skills acquisition in fields such as digital marketing, the management and maintenance of social media communication, socio-cultural management and language skills to be a priority in fishing areas, so as to promote both the creation and the dissemination of fisheries-related tourist offerings;

23.  Considers it important that individual tourism offerings should have their own distinctive identity deriving, in each instance, from a strategy based on local peculiarities and the specialisation associated with them, and on the resources available; calls, accordingly, on the Commission and the Member States to promote sustainable forms of tourism and eco-tourism, not least through innovative marketing strategies, which should focus on traditional and sustainability characteristics and which should be monitored continuously with a view to balancing supply and demand;

24.  Calls for integrated offerings to be designed that provide consumers with full experiences based on the structured and synergetic combination of everything an area has to offer, and for partnerships to be formed to capture consumers via the tourism dynamics already in operation in areas adjacent to traditional fishing areas, such as conference and/or career tourism;

25.  Calls on the Commission to support and promote the involvement of fisheries and fishery workers also in projects relating to cultural and heritage tourism, such as the rediscovery of seafaring activities and traditional fishing grounds and occupations;

26.  Notes the importance of collaboration between tourism operators and fishermen in order to maximise the potential of fisheries-related tourism;

27.  Stresses the importance of tourism activities related to wildlife observation, and in particular whale watching, while respecting the natural wildlife habitats and biological needs; whereas this could have many educational, environmental, scientific and other socioeconomic benefits, and could help raise awareness of, and appreciation for, these unique species and the precious environment in which they live;

28.  Calls on the Member States and local and regional authorities to provide sustainable innovative infrastructure, including internet connections and IT, to help encourage the development of fisheries-related tourism and the regeneration of existing maritime, river and lake infrastructures;

29.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States and regional and local authorities to intensify promotion and communication campaigns, for instance in connection with the ‘European Destinations of Excellence’ and the ‘European Year of Cultural Heritage’ 2018, as well as initiatives similarly aimed at improving knowledge and awareness of traditional fishing culture and aquaculture; urges stakeholders to tap the potential of tourists and those able to travel off-season;

30.  Believes that responsible and sustainable business models for the diversification of fisheries must imply respect for the culture of local fishery communities and help preserve their identities; emphasises, in particular, that tourism-related recreational fishing should be in line with the interests of small, local artisanal fishing enterprises;

31.  Believes it important to develop pesca-tourism and itti-tourism as forms of ‘activity holiday’ experiences with major spin-off benefits, such as the promotion of maritime culture and fishery traditions, as well as education in matters of environmental awareness and species conservation;

32.  Points out the need to look into ways of expanding the potential demand for converted vessels, by broadening what is on offer, in order to appeal to, for example, the educational community, which has experience in using the agricultural sector for teaching purposes, as in ‘farm school’ projects;

33.  Underlines that product diversification necessitates suitable promotional efforts, and that a visibility strategy is needed for the target group of fishermen, including cross-border promotional initiatives;

34.  Believes, therefore, that fishing localities should consider launching joint marketing campaigns with other destinations in the same region – as was suggested in Parliament’s resolution on ‘new challenges and concepts for the promotion of tourism in Europe’(11) – and promoting joint marketing platforms with a particular focus on promotion and online sales, on the basis of international cooperation;

35.  Takes the view that, within this marketing strategy, synergies should be established among marketing initiatives for high-quality fresh or processed products, gastronomy and tourism, grouped into territorial areas that are coherent from a cultural, production-related or environmental point of view and/or that are synergy-based;

36.  Considers it necessary to preserve the use of traditional practices and techniques, such as the almadraba and xeito, given that these are closely connected with the identity and way of life of coastal regions, and for these to be recognised as forming part of cultural heritage;

37.  Points to the importance of investing in the diversification of fisheries with a view to promoting tradition, history and the fishing heritage as a whole (including traditional fishing gear and techniques);

38.  Points to the importance of investing in the diversification of fisheries to promote the processing of local fishery products;

39.  Calls on the Member States to adopt strategies to overcome the problem of seasonality affecting tourist activities, one possibility being to establish gastronomic festivals and events, port and village fairs/markets(12), theme villages or museums (witness Spain and Cetera) where events can take place all year round, regardless of weather or sea conditions;

40.  Is convinced that a balanced mix of alternative and targeted tourism products, and the appropriate promotion and marketing of those products, can help in balancing the problems of seasonality;

41.  Considers it essential for Member States, regions, and stakeholders to share best practices, given the lack of synergy among businesses in the EU’s sea basins, resulting in fragmentation and limited economic advantages; notes that research institutes, museums, tourism companies, managers of Natura 2000 sites and MPAs, traditional canning and fish processing industries, and other stakeholders should be encouraged to work together to develop sustainable innovative products which, in addition to bringing economic added value, also meet visitors’ expectations; stresses that these activities should be incorporated into a consistent general framework for promoting sustainable and responsible tourism in the basins concerned; considers that FLAGs can play an important role in this connection and therefore need to be provided with appropriate funding;

42.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to strengthen the links between local, regional and national authorities, and the EU, in order to promote forms of governance enabling cross-cutting policies to be implemented with a view to furthering aims in various fields of activity, including sustainable and inclusive growth;

43.  Calls on the Commission to promote, in the framework of FARNET and the FLAGs, a pan-European dialogue with ports and tourism stakeholders and environmental experts;

44.  Calls on national authorities and agencies to work more closely with tourism agencies and to accord a high priority to diversifying the blue economy, with particular reference to marine tourism and its complementary sectors; notes that this should also include the integration of sea angling, where relevant, into tourism packages and marketing campaigns, particularly for islands and coastal areas; emphasizes that licensing the dual use of fishing vessels – both commercial, small-scale and artisanal fishing vessels, and vessels for marine tourism, including tourism angling – should be considered a priority, and that grants should be provided to aid in their conversion;

45.  Calls on the Commission, the Member States, local and regional authorities, the sector concerned and other stakeholders to take targeted action in line with EU policies affecting the fisheries and aquaculture sector; points to the need to adopt a best-practice manual setting out the most significant examples to encourage other businesses to follow suit; points out that the local scientific community also needs to be involved in order to prevent environmental problems;

46.  Stresses the importance of environment-friendly business models, and therefore recommends that environmental experts should always be closely associated with local action groups (e.g. FLAGs and rural local action groups (LAGs));

47.  Calls for the earmarking of the funding needed to establish a European network for the exchange of best practices, and for the mapping of fishing activities with information regarding points of interest and the characteristics of each fishing community;

48.  Hopes that specific support mechanisms will be used (in the context of the EMFF and/or other instruments), which may be activated in the event of an emergency (such as a natural disaster) in areas in which fishing and fishing tourism represent the only source of income;

49.  Considers it necessary to encourage funding for measures of the type described under the EMFF, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund, the research framework programme and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), in close cooperation with advisers from the European Investment Bank (EIB), and to facilitate soft loan channels that make it possible to avoid the specific difficulties faced by women in finding funding to finance projects eligible for inclusion in national programmes;

50.  Stresses that for the 2007-2013 programming period, the FLAGs had at their disposal EUR 486 million from the EFF, and that approximately 12 000 local projects were supported during that period;

51.  Encourages the Member States and the FLAGs to make the best use of the available funds, and also to make use, where possible, of multi-funding (jointly with the ERDF, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) or the ESF);

52.  Calls on the Member States to set up contact points at regional level to provide adequate information and support;

53.  Recommends that FLAGs cooperate closely with tourism experts in order to identify projects and appropriate funding, through Axis 4 of the EMFF, for diversification in fisheries areas;

54.  Points out that the EMFF provides specific financial support to initiatives in fishing communities promoted by women;

55.  Calls on the Member States to ensure, through the establishment of the selection criteria for operations under the EMFF, that gender equality is well mainstreamed and promoted throughout the actions financed (e.g. by providing preference to actions aimed specifically at women or undertaken by them);

56.  Calls on the Commission to conduct a study to gauge the likely socio-economic and environmental impact of these activities;

57.  Calls on the Commission to analyse the socio-economic impact of recreational fishing on inland tourism, in particular in rural areas, and to propose possible measures for regions where the potential for such fishing is underexploited;

58.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission to improve the collection and management of data on fishery-related tourism;

59.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, the governments of the Member States, and the Advisory Councils.

(1)

OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 22.

(2)

OJ L 149, 20.5.2014, p. 1.

(3)

OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1.

(4)

OJ C 419, 16.12.2015, p. 167.

(5)

OJ C 75, 26.2.2016, p. 24.

(6)

‘Indagine sulle abitudini e opinioni dei cittadini nel comprensorio del GAC “il mare delle Alpi” – Analisi della pescaturismo in Italia come strumento di sviluppo sostenibile’ (2015).

(7)

‘L’integrazione della pesca con altre attività produttive – La pescaturismo come modello sociale e culturale’, Cenasca Cisl et al., (2005).

(8)

Socio-economic analysis on fisheries-related tourism in EUSAIR – Nemo project 1M-MED14-11, WP2, Action 2.3.

(9)

‘Perspectives for the development of tourism activities related to fishing’, European Parliament, IP/B/PECH/IC/2013-103 (2014).

(10)

‘Perspectives for the development of tourism activities related to fishing’, European Parliament, IP/B/PECH/IC/2013-103 (2014).

(11)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0391.

(12)

E.g. the Herring Fleet Days and Port Days in the Netherlands.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Background: necessity to diversify from traditional fishing activity

Over the last decades many of the traditional fishing communities all-over the European Union have come under increasing pressure from many different negative factors, such as overfishing and dwindling fishing stocks, climate change, pollution, decreasing populations, lowering appeal of fisherman's profession, etc.

In addition, while in some areas fishing remains an attractive choice as the professional activity, in many places it is becoming increasingly difficult for fishermen to make a decent living. The decline in employment in fisheries and shrinking profitability of the sector are often perceived as a norm. This further decreases the viability of traditional ways of life in many of the European coastal communities.

Therefore, more and more traditional fishing communities in Europe can no longer depend on traditional fishing activity alone. In order for them to recover and stay viable, new solutions must be found without delay.

Diversification from the traditional activity to other fields, among others to fisheries-related tourism is becoming inevitable and offers the potential to contribute to job creation, social inclusion as well as the revitalisation of fisheries-dependent communities.

Fisheries-related tourism as a possible solution

European maritime coastal areas, particularly the Mediterranean, but also the Atlantic, Baltic and Black Sea regions, already are the most popular tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors each year.

Unfortunately, the biggest part of these tourists are brought to the coastal areas by big tour operators and relatively few of them find their way to traditional fishing villages. The same could be said of different activities and other attractions that can be offered to visitors by most of the traditional fishing communities. On the other hand, in recent years there has been a growing interest in sustainable tourism and the potential to attract such eco-conscious tourists should be exploited.

It is necessary to help fishing communities and tourists find each other and to make sure that sufficient interest on both sides is generated in order to create a lasting beneficial partnership.

However, in order to use this potential, multiple different issues should be addressed.

Infrastructure

Investments at national, regional and local level are needed in order to provide the necessary infrastructure, from better internet connectivity to building new and better roads ensuring good access to remote fishing villages, to renewing maritime and fishing facilities, while at the same time ensuring that it is being done in a sustainable and environment friendly way.

Seasonality

Seasonality is also a big issue and could be addressed, for example through organising local festivals, culinary events, opening of museums and theme parks, offering to visitors different activities throughout a year and regardless of weather conditions. Promotional and communication campaigns are particularly important in this regard.

Legal status

There is no common legal basis for fisheries-related tourism. For instance, while considered a professional activity in Italy, France classifies it as occasional activity. Depending on its legal status in the different Member States, there may be significant differences as to the taxation regime, licensing procedures, obligations for qualifications, etc. Harmonisation is needed in order to establish a level playing field.

Safety of fishing vessels for passengers

Fishing or recreational sea trips, offered by fishermen in their fishing vessels while not used for their primary activity, is one of the possibly most obvious attractions that can be offered to tourists. However, safety regulations applied for such activity vary greatly from one Member State to another. Therefore, a solution to the issue on how to make use of the existing fishing fleets, particularly of the small-scale fishing vessels, without too much expenses and at the same time without compromising passenger safety should be found. Safety regulations should be harmonised and funding through the available financial instruments such as the EMFF, should be made easily accessible and used.

Harmonisation of a definition of the fisheries-related tourism

Despite its obvious big economic and social potential and variety of issues, many of which could be addressed at the European level, the EU legislation currently does not provide for a definition of "fisheries-related tourism". Harmonising this possibly could be the first step towards a more coherent EU policy in this field.

Policy framework

It seems obvious, that fisheries-related tourism could benefit greatly from an ambitious policy framework. Therefore, the Commission, but also Member States, regional and local authorities, industry and other stakeholders must take targeted action in coherence with EU policies that have an impact on this sector. Synergies should be maximised, stakeholder dialogue and cooperation by means of partnership, networks, clusters, etc. should be improved. Whereas the EMFF and other financial instruments are available to provide support for investments contributing to the diversification of the income of fishermen through complementary activities such as fisheries-related tourism, funds are not used efficiently and access should be facilitated.

A study by the Commission examining different aspects related specifically to fisheries-related tourism (socio-economic and environmental impact) and best practices already applied by the different Member States would be a welcome step forward.


OPINION of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (11.10.2016)

for the Committee on Fisheries

on the role of fisheries-related tourism in the diversification of fisheries

(2016/2035(INI))

Rapporteur: István Ujhelyi

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Transport and Tourism calls on the Committee on Fisheries, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions into its motion for a resolution:

1.  Underlines the importance of devising strategies that can help diversify the economy of the local area, provide additional jobs and income to families, and help halt the employment decline in communities dependent on the fisheries sector;

2.  Highlights the importance of distinguishing between the various forms of fisheries-related tourism, which include fishing tourism (pesca-tourism and ittitourism), maritime and coastal water-based activities, recreational fishing (including angling tourism), inland fishing, and activities based on heritage and culture that are geared towards creating synergies with marketing initiatives for high-quality primary products, while respecting the natural heritage, animal protection and biodiversity;

Investing in innovative, sustainable and tailor-made products

3.  Recalls that the 2010 Tourism Communication laid down the development of sustainable, responsible and high-quality tourism as one of the main objectives for European tourism for the purposes of encouraging job creation and growth;

4.  Stresses that, as travellers today are much more informed than they were in the past, if tourism localities are to prosper they need to be more attentive to the need to ensure quality, authenticity and a high price/quality ratio;

5.  Believes, therefore, that supply must be adapted to new forms of demand for tailor-made products at popular seaside resorts and unspoilt rural, coastal and island destinations, and that marketing platforms must be developed that are tailored to potential demand of this kind;

6.  Highlights the importance of supporting business platforms that are geared towards the type of customer who is looking for a top-quality tourist experience, meaning that skills training in this area and establishing technology infrastructure and digital distribution platforms must be a priority in public initiatives and eligible activities;

7.  Believes that responsible and sustainable business models for diversification of fisheries must imply respect for the culture of local fisheries communities and help preserve their identities; emphasises, in particular, that tourism-related recreational fishing should be in line with the interests of small local artisanal fishing enterprises;

8.   Believes it important to develop pesca-tourism and ittitourism as forms of ‘activity holiday’ experience with major spin-off benefits, such as the promotion of maritime culture and fisheries traditions, as well as education in matters of environmental awareness and species conservation;

9.  Stresses the importance of environment-friendly business models, and therefore recommends that environmental experts should always be closely associated with local action groups (e.g. fisheries and aquaculture local action groups (FLAGs) and rural local action groups (LAGs));

10.  Stresses that one of the obstacles facing pesca-tourism, and one that limits the potential benefit for fishermen, is the regulatory burden placed on small-scale commercial navigation together with the high cost of refitting fishing vessels to conform to tourism standards;

11.  Recommends establishing common definitions and rules for fishing tourism at national level, so as to avoid a situation in which Member States introduce different forms of legislation and regulation;

12.  Points out that the regulatory burden on fishing businesses, in particular as regards safety rules, building legislation and vessel safety, must be simplified in order to facilitate necessary investment;

13.  Objects to moves to introduce excessive charges at national or regional level for recreational skippers using public inland waterways, since such charges constitute a bureaucratic restriction and hinder soft pesca-tourism and nautical tourism;

14.  Points out the need to look into ways of expanding potential demand as regards converted vessels by broadening what is on offer in order to appeal, for example, to the educational community, which has experience in using the agricultural sector for teaching purposes, as in ‘farm school’ projects;

15.  Welcomes proposals at regional and national level to introduce tourist fishing permits, provided that - in line with the legislation on fishing and animal welfare - they guarantee a minimum level of expertise that ensures compliance with fishing provisions and correct rod use and treatment of fish caught;

16.  Stresses the importance of fishing tourism for the preservation of cultural and culinary traditions and traditional lifestyles in coastal and waterside areas;

17.  Reminds the Commission that boosting fishing tourism can increase the visibility of new tourist areas whose potential has yet to be harnessed.

18.  Stresses that, in order to encourage fishing eco-tourism, dedicated facilities should be created for fishing localities, such as campsites and mooring, parking and recreational facilities;

19.  Notes that angling tourism is a well-developed and growing business segment in some Member States, while it remains an unused potential in others; highlights the importance of recreational angling tourism in coastal and rural regions, and of inland fishing as a high-value and sustainable development activity;

20.  Highlights the need to assess the impact that tourism-related recreational fishing activities have on fisheries;

21.  Calls on the Commission to analyse the socio-economic impact of recreational fishing on inland tourism, in particular in rural areas, and to propose possible measures for regions where the potential for such fishing is underexploited;

Maximising the use of EU financial support

22.  Calls on the Commission to analyse the efficiency of EU action taken in the development of fisheries areas, and in the economic diversification of fisheries, including action taken under the European Structural Funds and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) in particular; calls on the Commission to publish regular overviews of what projects have been supported, and with what amounts;

23.  Expects in particular that the upcoming evaluation to be carried out by the Commission of the Community Local-led Development (CLLD) approach will help improve understanding of the socio-economic impact of the diversification measures taken under the EMFF, also in the framework of the joint strategies established by the LAGs and FLAGs;

24.  Stresses that for the 2007-2013 programming period, the FLAGs had at their disposal EUR 486 million from the EFF, and that approximately 12 000 local projects were supported during that period;

25.Underlines furthermore that in the current financial period, total funding available under the EMFF has increased to EUR 514 million for measures under CLLD;

26.  Encourages the Member States and the FLAGs to make the best use of the available funds and also to make use where possible of multi-funding (jointly with the EFRD, EAFRD or ESF);

27.  Calls on the Member States to make appropriate use of the funds available under the EMFF for the refitting and modernising of professional fishing vessels and for fishing businesses’ projects, and to set up contact points at regional level to provide adequate information and support;

28.  Recommends that FLAGs cooperate closely with tourism experts in order to identify projects and appropriate funding, through Axis 4 of the EMFF, for diversification in fisheries areas;

29.  Points out that the EMFF provides specific financial support to initiatives in fishing communities promoted by women;

30.  Calls on the Member States to ensure, through the establishment of the selection criteria for operations under the EMFF, that gender equality is well mainstreamed and promoted throughout the actions financed (e.g. by providing preference to actions aimed specifically at women or undertaken by them);

31.  Recommends that specific financial support be provided to local authorities in fishing areas for the opening of ‘infopoints’ tasked with presenting, promoting and providing information on fishing communities and traditional products, as well as on tourism objectives in those areas;

32.  Recommends that specific financial support be provided for encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation through the financing of activities reliant on the fishing industry;

33.  Recommends that the Commission, together with the Member States, adopt a suitable term to designate fishing communities in the Union or in sub-catchment areas, such as the ‘Aldeias do Mar’ (‘Sea Villages’) seaside communities in Portugal, with the involvement of FLAGs; urges that the necessary funding be earmarked for the establishment of a European network for the exchange of best practices and the mapping of fishing activities with information regarding points of interest and the characteristics of each fishing community;

Promotion of product diversification

34.  Is convinced that a balanced mix of alternative and targeted tourism products, and appropriate promotion and marketing of those products, can help in balancing the problems of seasonality;

35.  Stresses that in order to achieve the objective of diversification, all entrepreneurship initiatives must be locally based, with a guarantee that control over companies and cooperatives is retained at that level; points out that social economy initiatives are especially suitable for these purposes;

36.  Calls, therefore, for support to be given to marketing platforms run by local entrepreneurs in order to ensure that they retain the highest possible degree of involvement and participation in, and control over, the entire value chain;

37.  Underlines that product diversification necessitates suitable promotion, and that a visibility strategy is needed for the target group of fishermen, including cross-border promotional initiatives;

38.  Believes, therefore, that fishing localities should consider launching joint marketing campaigns with other destinations in the same region - as was suggested in the EP report on ‘New challenges and concepts for the promotion of tourism in Europe’ - and promoting joint marketing platforms with a particular focus on promotion and online sales, on a basis of international cooperation;

39.  Takes the view that within this marketing strategy synergies should be established among marketing initiatives for high-quality fresh or processed products, gastronomy and tourism, grouped into territorial areas that are coherent from a cultural, production-related or environmental point of view and/or synergy-based;

40.  Calls on the Commission to actively support and promote investment in the diversification of fisheries in terms of the marketing and processing of local fish products, and to boost the development of local distribution channels;

41.  Reminds the Commission of the need to promote and provide certification for traditional fisheries products and establish local brands specific to fishing areas;

42.  Calls on the Commission to support investment in the diversification of the fisheries sector through the development of complementary activities, including investment in vessels, training, safety equipment, and cultural and educational activities;

43.  Calls on the Commission to actively support investment in the diversification of fisheries in the area of culture and art as part of the traditional heritage, and to support investment in the promotion of tradition and fishing heritage in general (techniques and fishing gears);

44.  Calls on the Member States, and on regional and local authorities, to share best practices in order to create greater awareness, across broader regions, of innovative fisheries-related tourism products that have proved to be economically, socially and environmentally successful;

45.  Calls on the Commission to promote, in the framework of the European Fisheries Areas Network (FARNET) and the FLAGs, a pan-European dialogue with ports and tourism stakeholders and environmental experts;

46.  Calls on the Commission to promote, through the European Travel Commission and its portal visiteurope.com, sustainable recreational fishing tourism destinations in Europe, and, by means of a targeted information campaign, to make fishing businesses aware of the potential of these new and sustainable business models and of the growth opportunities they afford;

Knowledge and skills

47.  Calls on the Member States, and on regional and local authorities, widely to disseminate information about the Commission’s European Job Mobility Portal EURES, which provides information for jobseekers and employers about job opportunities, skills and training needs in the ‘blue jobs’ section, and to promote open online courses aimed at upgrading or reorienting skills relating to tourism management and innovative pesca- tourism;

48.  Calls on the Commission to include a dedicated section in the European Small Business Portal aimed at helping entrepreneurs/fishermen obtain funding for activities in the field of fisheries-related tourism.

49.  Emphasises the need to raise awareness among local entrepreneurs, and provide them with training, on new joint online platforms for the promotion and sale of tourism-related products, including experience-based tourism, and to encourage them to hardwire these elements into their businesses so as to ensure that the profits of diversification remain in the local communities.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE ASKED FOR OPINION

Date adopted

11.10.2016

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

38

4

2

Members present for the final vote

Daniela Aiuto, Lucy Anderson, Marie-Christine Arnautu, Inés Ayala Sender, Georges Bach, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Deirdre Clune, Michael Cramer, Luis de Grandes Pascual, Andor Deli, Isabella De Monte, Jacqueline Foster, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, Merja Kyllönen, Miltiadis Kyrkos, Bogusław Liberadzki, Peter Lundgren, Marian-Jean Marinescu, Georg Mayer, Gesine Meissner, Cláudia Monteiro de Aguiar, Renaud Muselier, Markus Pieper, Salvatore Domenico Pogliese, Tomasz Piotr Poręba, Gabriele Preuß, Christine Revault D’Allonnes Bonnefoy, Dominique Riquet, Massimiliano Salini, David-Maria Sassoli, Claudia Schmidt, Jill Seymour, Claudia Țapardel, Keith Taylor, Pavel Telička, Wim van de Camp, Roberts Zīle, Kosma Złotowski, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska

Substitutes present for the final vote

Knut Fleckenstein, Maria Grapini, Werner Kuhn

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

Olle Ludvigsson


INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

Date adopted

30.5.2017

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

24

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Marco Affronte, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Renata Briano, Alain Cadec, David Coburn, Richard Corbett, Diane Dodds, Linnéa Engström, João Ferreira, Sylvie Goddyn, Mike Hookem, Ian Hudghton, Carlos Iturgaiz, António Marinho e Pinto, Gabriel Mato, Norica Nicolai, Liadh Ní Riada, Ulrike Rodust, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Remo Sernagiotto, Ricardo Serrão Santos, Isabelle Thomas, Ruža Tomašić, Peter van Dalen, Jarosław Wałęsa

Substitutes present for the final vote

Ole Christensen, Rosa D’Amato, Norbert Erdős, Jens Gieseke, Seán Kelly, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Francisco José Millán Mon

Substitutes under Rule 200(2) present for the final vote

John Stuart Agnew, Paloma López Bermejo


FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE

1.1 Final vote

24

+

ALDE

António Marinho e Pinto, Norica Nicolai

ECR

Remo Sernagiotto, Ruža Tomašić, Peter van Dalen

EFDD

Rosa D'Amato

ENF

Gilles Lebreton

GUE/NGL

Paloma López Bermejo

PPE

Alain Cadec, Jens Gieseke, Carlos Iturgaiz, Verónica Lope Fontagné, Gabriel Mato, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Jarosław Wałęsa

S&D

Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Renata Briano, Ole Christensen, Ulrike Rodust, Ricardo Serrão Santos, Isabelle Thomas

Verts/ALE

Marco Affronte, Linnéa Engström, Ian Hudghton

1

-

EFDD

John Stuart Agnew

0

0

 

 

Last updated: 20 June 2017Legal notice