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Tuesday, 2 September 2008 - Brussels
Fisheries and aquaculture in the context of ICZM in Europe

European Parliament resolution of 2 September 2008 on Fisheries and Aquaculture in the context of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe (2008/2014(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Recommendation 2002/413/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2002 concerning the implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe(1),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 7 June 2007 entitled 'Report to the European Parliament and the Council: An evaluation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) in Europe" (COM(2007)0308),

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 of 27 July 2006 on the European Fisheries Fund(2),

–   having regard to Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive)(3) and the Communication from the Commission of 24 October 2005 entitled "Thematic Strategy on the Protection and Conservation of the Marine Environment" (COM(2005)0504),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 10 October 2007 entitled "An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union" (COM(2007)0575),

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 June 2006 on inshore fishing and the problems encountered by inshore fishing communities(4),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 9 March 2006 on improving the economic situation in the fishing industry (COM(2006)0103) and its resolution of 28 September 2006 on that subject(5),

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission of 19 September 2002 entitled "A Strategy for the Sustainable Development of European Aquaculture" (COM(2002)0511),

–   having regard to the study for Parliament on "Regional dependency on fisheries"(6),

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A6-0286/2008),

A.   whereas Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) is not only an environmental policy but also an ongoing process aimed at improving the economic and social conditions of coastal zones and securing the sustainable development of all the activities pursued in those regions, such as fishing and aquaculture,

B.   whereas the implementation of ICZM is a long-term process and most national strategies adopted within the framework of the above-mentioned Recommendation began to be implemented only in 2006,

C.   whereas the management of coastal zones has so far been conducted in the medium term, ignoring the fact that these are complex natural ecosystems which change with the passing of time,

D.   whereas the decisions and measures that have been taken concerned an isolated activity and failed to tackle the problem of the degradation of coastal zones as a whole,

E.   whereas existing planning has so far focused on land and has failed to take into account the impact of some coastal activities on other activities pursued in the same region,

F.   whereas it is expected that national ICZM strategies will cost little to implement, while producing significant financial benefits,

G.   whereas there has been a failure adequately to involve representation of all sectors in planning and implementing measures to address the problems of coastal zones and, as a result, the interests of some sectors are being harmed,

H.   whereas the implementation of integrated-management policies involves the planning in coastal areas of population-related, tourism-related and economic uses and of landscape and environmental protection,

I.   whereas the effective coordination of ICZM bodies has not yet been possible except in isolated cases,

J.   whereas the implementation of policies to promote ICZM may, in some cases, require large-scale spending, which cannot be met by local communities, resulting in appeals to higher administrative levels and delays in implementation,

K.   whereas, owing to the cross-border nature of many coastal processes, regional coordination and cooperation are necessary, even with third countries,

L.   whereas fishing and aquaculture are two coastal activities par excellence which depend on the quality of inshore waters,

M.   whereas a level of technological development has not yet been reached in aquaculture which will enable that activity (which is intensive in nature) to be pursued away from coastal areas,

N.   whereas the fundamental and so far poorly acknowledged role played by women in fisheries-dependent areas must be taken into account,

O.   whereas inshore fishing accounts for 80% of the Community fishing fleet and contributes to the economic and social cohesion of coastal communities and the preservation of their cultural traditions,

P.   whereas fishing, even though it is not itself a source of pollution, suffers the impact of pollution caused by other activities pursued in coastal areas, which further undermines its viability,

Q.   whereas fishing and aquaculture are of great economic and social importance, since they are mainly pursued in coastal regions with fragile economies, many of which are disadvantaged and unable to provide their inhabitants with alternative job opportunities,

R.   whereas the existence of a clean and healthy marine environment will contribute to the future increase in fisheries production and thus improve prospects for this sector,

S.   whereas aquaculture is firmly based on the principle of sustainable development, and any environmental impact is offset by Community rules,

T.   whereas in an environment in which fish stocks are in decline and world demand for fish and shellfish is increasing, the importance of aquaculture in Europe is steadily growing,

U.   whereas not all Member States have yet completed their regional planning in line with the principles of ICZM for the balanced development of activities pursued in coastal zones,

V.   whereas there is fierce competition for space in coastal zones, and aquaculturists and fishermen have the same rights and obligations as other users,

W.   whereas the outermost regions, as defined in Article 299(2) of the EC Treaty and Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, may require the creation of specific integrated national ICZM strategies and an adequate adaptation of ICZM at EU level,

1.  Stresses the economic and social importance of fishing and aquaculture for coastal regions and calls for them to receive assistance within the framework of ICZM;

2.  Points out the need to ensure that the fisheries and aquaculture sectors are involved and well represented in transnational maritime clusters, and exhorts the Commission to stimulate this process;

3.  Emphasises that the European Fisheries Fund can contribute to the long-term funding of measures within the framework of ICZM, since it supports actions which contribute to the sustainable development of fishing regions;

4.  Points out the need to clarify the competences of the administrative bodies of the coastal zones concerned and establish coordinated strategies so that they can be more effective;

5.  Recognises the difficulties in coordinating the activities of coastal zone management bodies and calls on the Commission, in monitoring implementation of ICZM, to re-examine, after consultation with Member States, whether or not a coordinating body needs to be set up;

6.  Stresses the need for representatives of the fishing and aquaculture sectors to be involved in activities linked to the planning and development of ICZM, bearing in mind that their involvement in sustainable development strategies will increase the added value of their products, and recalls that the European Fisheries Fund may support such collective actions;

7.  Acknowledges the important role of women in fisheries-dependent areas and therefore calls on the Commission and the Member States to cooperate in order to promote and incorporate the principle of equal opportunities at the various stages of the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund, including the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation stages, as provided for in Article 11 of Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006;

8.  Calls for closer cooperation between competent bodies at regional level through exchanges of information relating to the state of coastal zones and the adoption of joint strategies to improve the environmental situation of local marine ecosystems;

9.  Calls on the national and regional governments of the outermost regions to prepare integrated ICZM strategies in order to ensure the sustainable development of coastal regions;

10.  Emphasises the importance, in the above contexts, of proper spatial planning;

11.  Aquaculture for repopulation purposes is an essential tool to achieve ecological conservation in certain coastal zones, and it must therefore be promoted, stimulated and financially supported;

12.  Stresses the importance of aquaculture to the food industry for social and economic development in some EU coastal communities;

13.  Considers that the fisheries and aquaculture sectors must both be included in a cross-cutting approach to all maritime activities taking place in coastal zones, in order to achieve sustainable development, in accordance with the new maritime policy guidelines;

14.  Stresses the need to develop and implement strategies to adjust to the dangers facing coastal zones, including climate change, taking fully into account the impact on fishing and aquaculture;

15.  Believes that data collection efforts must continue so as to contribute to the exchange and the use of information with a view to carrying out comparative studies, including data on the state of biodiversity and fish stocks;

16.  Considers that greater research efforts should be made in aquaculture with a view to introducing cultivation systems based on closed-circuit intensive production;

17.  Proposes that aquaculture projects which use renewable energy sources and which do not infringe areas protected under EU environmental law should be given priority under ICZM;

18.  Calls on the Commission, after consulting the Member States, to set a clear timetable for examining progress in the implementation of ICZM in the European Union;

19.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 148, 6.6.2002, p. 24.
(2) OJ L 223, 15.8.2006, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 164, 25.06.2008, p. 19.
(4) OJ C 300E, 9.12.2006, p. 504.
(5) OJ C 306 E, 15.12.2006, p. 417.
(6) IP/B/PECH/ST/IC/2006-198.

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