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Procedure : 2015/2090(INI)
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PV 11/04/2016 - 23
CRE 11/04/2016 - 23

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PV 12/04/2016 - 5.16
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Tuesday, 12 April 2016 - Strasbourg
Small-scale coastal fishing in regions dependent on fishing

European Parliament resolution of 12 April 2016 on innovation and diversification of small-scale coastal fishing in fisheries-dependent regions (2015/2090(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,

—  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,

—  having regard to Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) on measures during the adoption of which it is necessary to take into account the special characteristics and constraints of the outermost regions,

—  having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2012 on small-scale coastal fishing, artisanal fishing and the reform of the common fisheries policy(1),

—  having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2013 on marine knowledge 2020: seabed mapping for promoting sustainable fisheries(2),

—  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 6 October 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative: Innovation Union’ (COM(2010)0546),

—  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1291/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 establishing Horizon 2020 – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) and repealing Decision No 1982/2006/EC,

—  having regard to the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee, delivered on 15 October 2014, on the communication entitled ‘Innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth’ (2015/C 012/15),

—  having regard to the opinion of the Committee of the Regions, delivered on 21 January 2015, on the communication entitled ‘Innovation in the Blue Economy: realising the potential of our seas and oceans for jobs and growth’ (2015/C 019/05),

—  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 3 March 2010 entitled ‘Europe 2020 – A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2010)2020),

—  having regard to its resolution of 8 September 2015 on untapping the potential of research and innovation in the blue economy to create jobs and growth(3),

—  having regard to the Commission communication of 13 May 2013 entitled ‘Action Plan for a Maritime Strategy in the Atlantic area: delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ (COM(2013)0279),

—  having regard to the Commission Green Paper of 29 August 2012 entitled ‘Marine Knowledge 2020: from seabed mapping to ocean forecasting’ (COM(2012)0473),

—  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(4),

—  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 (A8-0044/2016),

A.  whereas coastal fishing accounts for 80 % of the European fleet and, together with shellfishing, guarantees a high level of employment in coastal areas, islands and the outermost regions, and generally represents a socially and environmentally sustainable form of fishing that has considerable potential; whereas its influence on the social heritage and cultural characteristics of coastal and island areas is exceptional and diverse;

B.  whereas most coastal and island fishing constitutes a traditional form of commercial fishing, i.e. a way of life and the principal fishing source of livelihood and of direct and indirect job creation, particularly in areas which depend on coastal fishing and which require special measures and support to facilitate growth and development;

C.  whereas coastal fishing varies to a great degree between individual Member States and also between different coastline regions within a single Member State, in terms of its basic definition and characteristics, a situation that will need to be rectified and harmonised in the common fisheries policy (CFP) in the future, and whereas significant differences exist between the Member States in terms of geography, climate, ecosystems and socio-economic factors;

D.  whereas there are differences in the characteristics of coastal fishing in the various seas within the European Union, such as in the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean Sea as a whole, which differ from those in the open seas of the Atlantic Ocean, including along the coast of French Guiana and in the Indian Ocean basin;

E.  whereas Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) defines small-scale coastal fishing as fishing carried out by vessels of less than 12 metres and not using towed fishing gear, and whereas this is the only definition of coastal fishing in EU legislation;

F.  whereas the reformed CFP has regionalisation as one of its cornerstones in recognition of the fact that, given the huge diversity of Europe's fisheries, centralised management is not appropriate; whereas given the very nature of coastal and island fishing, regionalisation and a non-centralised approach is of particular importance in this sector and the communities it serves;

G.  whereas operations financed by the EMFF may benefit from an increase by 30 points in aid intensity where they concern small-scale coastal fisheries;

H.  whereas Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the EMFF states that in Member States where over 1 000 vessels can be considered to be small-scale coastal fishing vessels, an action plan must be drawn up for the development, competitiveness and sustainability of small-scale coastal fishing;

I.  whereas coastal fishing should be managed pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013, taking into account the diversity of the fleets’ fishing gears, geographical and climate-based constraints, techniques and fish stocks in individual Member States and in every individual fishing zone, thereby contributing to the conservation of local traditions and fishing-related activities;

J.  whereas given that each fishing area has its own specific characteristics, the exchange of information and of good practices between the different areas may help to considerably improve the impact of fishing activities on the environment and marine ecosystems and also enable better interaction between all of the human and economic activities taking place in and around coastal areas;

K.  whereas the revenues of small-scale fishing have been decreasing substantially, as a result of the significant increase in operating costs, in particular owing to fuel costs, and owing to the reduction in the value of fish at first sale, often imposing an increase in fishing effort;

L.  whereas the management of various stocks of several prime target species has in many regions placed serious restrictions on fishing and on small fishing communities;

M.  whereas mainly traditional fishing gears and techniques, such as almadraba fishing traps, which by virtue of their specific characteristics define the identity and way of life of coastal regions, are used in coastal fishing, and there is a vital need to preserve their use and protect them as an element of cultural, historical and traditional heritage;

N.  whereas non-industrial fishing contributes to the viability of coastal and island communities in terms of controlling increasing depopulation, the fight against ageing in the fisheries sector and unemployment; whereas development and innovation may play a fundamental role in job creation in these communities; whereas, in addition, non-industrial fishing makes use, in certain zones, of ancient fishing gears and techniques which are more environmentally friendly and which have less of an impact on the status of endangered stocks;

O.  whereas non-industrial, coastal and traditional fishing is environmentally friendly and forms the basic economic building block for maintenance, development and employment in coastal and island communities;

P.  whereas, in accordance with the Mediterranean Regulation, the classification of towed gears also includes trawl nets and seine nets, even though other classifications – such as that of the Food and Agriculture Organisation – consider seine nets to be a separate group of fishing gears; whereas provisions relating to towed trawl nets should not be applied to traditional coastal seine nets, which are used to catch species that are not endangered;

Q.  whereas despite talk of innovating and diversifying the fisheries sector, account must be taken of the fact that a huge fishing community is extremely dependent on traditional and ancient forms of fishing;

R.  whereas the new CFP acknowledges the importance of fishing-dependent coastal and island regions, and whereas the role to be played by Member States in ensuring an adequate standard of living for those who depend on fishing activities, contributing to the attainment of such a standard in the context of coastal fishing, and promoting sustainable coastal fishing and the diversification of activities in fisheries and income for those living in these coastal areas, while taking into account its cultural socio-economic reality and environmental factors, should also emphasise the importance of training and health and safety at sea for fishermen; in line with the special protection conferred by Article 174 TFEU;

S.  whereas the new Regulation on the Common Fisheries Policy gives preferential access to small-scale, coastal and traditional fishermen within a zone extending for 12 nautical miles, i.e. in the most sensitive part of the EU’s waters, and whereas the Commission's evaluation of the old Regulation on the Common Fisheries Policy found that the 12-mile zones were one of the few successes of the old management regime, which was subject to many conflicts in relation to the use of space and resources with other overlapping human activities on the coastline;

T.  whereas Article 349 TFEU states that, when adopting measures – especially measures relating to the fisheries sector – the special characteristics and constraints of the outermost regions must be taken into account, with emphasis on their geographical isolation, remote location and oceanic conditions, in an often highly specific regional context where self-reliance is needed in terms of food production;

U.  whereas it should be noted that, because of the particular geographical characteristics of the outermost regions and their extreme remoteness from Europe, coastal fishing is integral to the economic development of these regions;

V.  whereas coastal fishing in the outermost regions also faces competition from vessels sailing under non-EU flags that use the same fishing areas and target the same species to sell on the same markets, in addition to competition from non-EU imports which are subject to completely different operating costs and regulatory, sanitary and environmental constraints; whereas, in this context, any efforts to aid endogenous development and self‑reliance in terms of food production would come to nothing unless supported by specific EU policies in these regions;

W.  whereas, in the outermost regions, marine aquaculture also contributes, alongside coastal fishing, to economic development and the supply of fresh produce to the local area;

X.  whereas the majority of coastal regions, especially those in southern European countries and island regions, are facing a significant economic decline, which is resulting in depopulation and the exodus of their inhabitants, who seek opportunities in areas offering better prospects for employment and education;

Y.  whereas the European crisis has demonstrated the need for Europe to diversify its economic activities, and the importance of analysing new models of innovation and knowledge which may create new employment at local level.

Z.  whereas some coastal fishing regions are located close to economically developed regions and tourist destinations but are nonetheless unable to achieve adequate economic growth; whereas the pressure to use the sea’s resources is already growing in such regions, and the fisheries sector is being marginalised in favour of tourism, even though the two sectors are compatible and complementary;

AA.  whereas logbooks often represent an administrative burden for small coastal fishing businesses and greater flexibility would be desirable;

AB.  whereas this pressure on coastal areas from the tourism sector is principally caused by certain specific activities, such as uncontrolled recreational fishing, which in some areas are putting a strain on the sea’s resources and affecting business opportunities for those who live in traditional fishing areas;

AC.  whereas the founding of Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) in areas which rely on fishing is vital, as such groups are recognised as a useful instrument that provides opportunities and possibilities for the diversification of activities in fisheries, which ultimately leads to the general development of coastal and island regions and to social cohesion in these regions, and there is therefore a need to further increase economic resources to enable these groups to form and to act in the relevant areas;

AD.  whereas female shellfish gatherers remain invisible and women are under‑represented in general in the fisheries sector;

AE.  whereas women working in the maritime sector as net‑makers, provisioners, unloaders and packers remain invisible as a group;

AF.  whereas the economic crisis is also making itself felt in the fisheries sector, especially for those population groups that have been most affected by the unemployment situation such as young people and women, and therefore diversification and innovation are necessary in order to increase employment, to take advantage of new possibilities such as blue and green development, and to prevent and counteract the marginalisation of fisheries in developing and peripheral regions; whereas special attention should be taken on professional training;

AG.  whereas diversification in coastal and island regions may be carried out through activities related to the marketing and promotion of fish products, gastronomy, tourism, cultural, historical and traditional heritage, the environment and green growth;

AH.  whereas the concept of the blue economy is developing and may give a strong boost to growth and economic development, as well as the creation of employment, in particular in coastal and island countries and regions and in the outermost regions;

AI.  whereas the coastal and island communities have a fundamental interest in the materialisation of the concept of the blue economy;

AJ.  whereas the EU’s ‘Innovation Union’ initiative acknowledged and identified shortcomings that restrict and prevent the development of research and innovation, such as inadequate investment in science, the lack of adequate data on seas and oceans, insufficient funding and a lack of cooperation between the private and public sectors;

AK.  whereas the development of the blue economy would contribute to economic growth overall – and particularly in coastal, island and outermost regions – and it is precisely the regions that depend on fisheries that have a key role to play in the development of innovations and that should be involved at every phase of the development of the blue economy;

AL.  whereas in the fisheries sector, in the same way as in other sectors, the environment and the economy go hand in hand; whereas the development of the blue economy should therefore focus on social economy and on sustainable and environmentally friendly projects and activities aimed at introducing developing coastal activities and preserving the maritime environment and biodiversity as a whole, with specific support for environmentally friendly artisanal fishing activities which encourage biodiversity; whereas these projects and activities must also be sustainable from the social and economic point of view so as to ensure that non‑industrial fishing remains viable;

AM.  whereas the blue economy may also contribute to developing safety aboard fishing vessels and improve fishermen’s working conditions and day‑to‑day wellbeing;

AN.  whereas environmental and selectivity targets apply equally across the board, but it will be problematic for small vessels to meet the landing obligation for discards;

AO.  whereas anthropogenic influences, i.e. human activities, in coastal regions have been underestimated in the context of environmental protection issues; whereas the cumulative effects of various activities on coastal regions have not been adequately recognised or assessed; whereas activities that take place in some areas, such as maritime transport, tourism, uncontrolled and exhaustive recreational fishing in some areas, the sale of species obtained through this activity, poaching, urban and industrial waste water from the mainland, etc., particularly affect the fisheries sector;

AP.  whereas knowledge of the marine environment, specifically of the state of the marine ecosystem, is vital for assessing the impact of various activities on the environment, as is the laying down of suitable protection measures and monitoring programmes with the goal of promoting the recovery of fish stocks, the sustainable use of resources and the development of innovations; whereas data on the marine environment are inadequate and inadequately systematised;

AQ.  whereas in certain regions illegal fishing poses a real threat to the continued existence of non‑industrial coastal fishing as well as jeopardising the preservation of fishery resources and biodiversity;

AR.  whereas the Integrated Maritime Policy aims to respond to the new challenges faced by the seas, industry and fishermen throughout Europe, from protection of the environment to coastal development, by way of aquaculture, nautical tourism or other economic activities related to blue growth;

1.  Calls on the Commission to adapt the definition of coastal, small-scale coastal and traditional fishing in line with the socio-economic characteristics and specificities of the different regions, rather than solely according to the dimensions and power of fishing vessels, since the current EU regulations are not satisfactory; proposes to make use of regionalisation in order to adapt the definition of coastal fishing on a case‑by‑case basis in line with the specificities of each fishery; proposes to take into account a number of indicative criteria such as the size of the vessels, the fishing gears used, the selectivity of fishing techniques, the lengths of the fishing trips and whether the owner of the vessel is on board, the traditional formulas of entrepreneurship and the property and business structures traditionally operating in these areas, the involvement of the extractive sector in the activities of processing and sales, the true nature and scale of the extractive activities and other factors linked to traditional activities, the support from businesses or the influence on local communities;

2.  Calls on the Commission to consider the possibility of small-scale coastal fishing in island communities which traditionally depend on fishing for their own livelihood, and are engaged in fishing activities throughout the year;

3.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to gradually increase the quotas allocated to non‑industrial fisheries, in order to boost this socially and ecologically sustainable form of fishing;

4.  Calls on the Commission to support innovative projects and legal provisions that facilitate the development of the coastal, island and outermost regions, taking account of the diversity of socio-economic activities, as a means to drive the positive externalities of non‑industrial fishing, in terms of both social and economic cohesion and environmental protection by means of new types of support within the context of existing European funding; emphasises that priority should be given to projects that focus on sustainable job creation and retention, the increasing involvement of the extractive sector in processing and sales, the promotion of entrepreneurship formulas linked to social economy, the promotion of short market chains, the introduction of new technologies in the promotion and sale of fishing goods and services, innovation in the development of new goods and services, and maintaining and protecting traditional roles;

5.  Considers that the revision of the framework of technical measures must take into account the specificities of coastal fishing and allow for certain derogations, provided these are justified, in the context of regionalisation;

6.  Calls on the Commission to coordinate an investigation at European level to ascertain the impact of recreational coastal fishing on traditional fishing activities and also to define the parameters that are required in order to reduce recreational coastal fishing in some areas; calls for increased monitoring of this activity to prevent any interference between the extractive sector and these practices that are already a cause for concern in outermost regions with important tourism sectors;

7.  Calls on the Member States to give priority to small‑scale coastal fishing when granting EMFF funding and to streamline procedures for operators of those types of fisheries;

8.  Urges the authorities involved in promoting these activities to ensure that all local stakeholders, entrepreneurs’ associations, fishing and oceanography research institutes, universities, centres for technology and local and regional institutions participate in the innovation processes, in order to help the projects to introduce comprehensive measures, to improve their financing prospects and to provide them with sufficient support to meet the conditions specified in the European Fisheries Fund;

9.  Calls on the Commission to be accountable to the Parliament in respect of the action plans for the development, competitiveness and sustainability of small‑scale coastal fishing drawn up by the Member States for the purposes of the EMFF;

10.  Calls on the Commission to implement the necessary measures to support the various groups of women in the maritime sector so as to encourage their participation and ensure they are represented in all areas, both in decision‑making roles and fishing activities;

11.  Calls on the Commission to introduce specific measures to recognise and improve working conditions for women working as net‑makers, provisioners, unloaders and packers;

12.  Calls on the Commission, in close coordination with the Member States, to strengthen the role of the European Fisheries Areas Network (FARNET), which provides significant assistance to FLAGs;

13.  Calls on the Commission to promote and drive the founding and the work of FLAGs by increasing economic resources, since these groups are providing continued support and advice directly to the fisheries sector and thus promoting a socially inclusive sustainable development model in fishing areas, inspiring young people and women to become involved in new business projects and contributing to innovation infrastructure refurbishment, economic investment and diversification, and local management plans by the fisheries themselves; calls on the Commission to strengthen the role and functions of competent authorities in developing new innovative activities and to work in close coordination with the various sector operators;

14.  Calls on the Commission to help strengthen the role of fisheries communities in local development and the governance of local fisheries resources and maritime activities;

15.  Calls on the Commission to consider the particular role of women in the economy in coastal areas and to act consistently with this, as is already done in the agricultural industry; calls for an acknowledgement of the amount in terms of GDP that is contributed by women in auxiliary roles and of the particular relevance of their contribution in households in which gender‑based division of work traditionally meant that extraction was solely a male activity; calls for professional recognition at all levels of traditional female roles in the sector and for the setting up of dedicated programmes aimed at supporting entrepreneurship by women in these areas;

16.  Calls on the Commission to promote and support investment in the diversification of the fisheries sector through the development of complementary activities and the versatility of careers in fisheries, including investments in vessels, safety equipment, training, environmental services in the fisheries sector activities, and cultural and educational activities, with particular emphasis on protecting the environment and promoting sustainable growth; stresses that the key objective must be to fund activities that are socially, environmentally and economically viable and capable of creating employment, particularly for young people and women; stresses that marine aquaculture is compatible and complementary with coastal fishing in the outermost regions, and calls on the Commission to support the development of farming and varietal‑selection techniques in the warm waters of tropical or subtropical areas; calls on the Commission to highlight the role played by women in non‑industrial coastal fishing and all associated activities;

17.  Calls on the Commission to boost the creation 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 the environment and health, among other aspects; calls on the Commission also 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 fishing heritage and the recognisability of a specific fishing region;

18.  Highlights the growing importance of nautical sporting activities in the strengthening of local communities, particularly out of season, through new underwater, diving or other nautical sports such as surfing or bodyboarding.

19.  Calls on the Commission, in the interests of boosting the creation and development of fishing tourism, to actively promote and support investment in the diversification of fisheries in the area of culture and art as part of traditional heritage (handicrafts, music and dance) and to support investment in the promotion of tradition, history and fishing heritage in general (fishing gears, techniques, historical documents, etc.) by opening museums and organising exhibitions that relate closely to coastal fishing;

20.  Calls on the Commission to look into the possibility of allowing mixed use of vessels intended for extractive 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 agrotourism;

21.  Calls on the Commission, and the Member States via their governing agencies, to ensure that small‑scale coastal fisheries receive their fair share of EMFF funding, particularly given the administrative constraints imposed on them;

22.  Calls on the Commission to create measures which encourage and promote mobility between professions related to the sea.

23.  Calls for the results of research and projects financed from the public budget to be made publicly available under certain conditions, for more effective disclosure of and access to existing data on seas and oceans to be ensured, and for the current administrative barriers hindering growth and the development of innovation to be removed;

24.  Urges the Commission to improve the regulations by introducing mechanisms to oversee the fair allocation of quotas to small‑scale fishing with regard to shared species;

25.  Emphasises that the main product of fishing is the fish itself and that it is vital to strengthen the various means of using fish, including canning and the use of fish by-products; calls on the Commission to actively promote and support 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, the promotion of these products through the creation of local distinctive signs and/or trademarks for fresh products and by supporting the creation of local business projects aimed at carrying out these activities; stresses that promoting innovation in this manner must in particular include the development of labels and seals guaranteeing the quality of local fish products;

26.  Calls for greater flexibility with regard to logbooks for vessels of less than 12 metres, in particular in terms of the requirement that documents must be sent within 48 hours, as this represents a considerable administrative burden; proposes in this context to allow vessels that sell all of their fish at auction to be exempted from this obligation, which would enable the required information to be obtained without imposing an unnecessary administrative burden;

27.  Encourages the establishment of marine protected areas, which will promote sustainable fisheries resources and facilitate the control of and fight against IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing; stresses the need for the EU to provide adequate guidance, coordination and support to Member States in this respect;

28.  Calls for firm support for the work of women since they play an essential role in non-industrial fishing; stresses in particular the key tasks performed by women in the processing chain and their fundamental role in shellfishing;

29.  Notes that coastal fishing in the outermost regions is eligible for a compensation scheme recognised under the EMFF because of the significant additional costs it incurs; calls on the Commission to expand this scheme with the addition of a specific mechanism for the outermost regions that is similar to the POSEI scheme in the agricultural sector;

30.  Calls on the Commission to support the introduction of fresh produce obtained through non‑industrial fishing, shellfishing and small‑scale, sustainable, extensive aquaculture to public eating establishments (educational institutions, hospitals, restaurants, etc.);

31.  Stresses that the outermost regions have specific characteristics as a result of their remoteness and insular nature; emphasises that these specific characteristics incur additional costs for coastal fishing in these regions and that these additional costs should be compensated in full as part of the EMFF;

32.  Stresses that coastal fishing fleets in the outermost regions often consist of ageing vessels, which causes issues in terms of on-board safety; calls on the Commission to propose a revision of Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the EMFF with a view to authorising aid for the renewal of small‑scale coastal fishing vessels in the outermost regions, providing this does not increase capacity;

33.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to provide access to marine and ecological data with a view to promoting transparency, innovation and development, and to guarantee access to all interested parties to scientific information developed with the support of public cofinancing;

34.  Stresses that the oceans and areas along and near to the coasts have a potential that remains largely unexplored in terms of development, employment, energy autonomy, innovation and sustainable development; considers that the EU’s recognition of this potential and of the role played by these areas would make these coastal, island and outermost regions more attractive and boost their development;

35.  Expresses concern at the application of the Horizon 2020 programme to the blue economy area, since it is the main programme for research and the development of innovation at European level; supports the creation of a blue economy Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) within Horizon 2020 which contributes to strengthening activities in coastal regions though transnational public-private partnerships;

36.  Supports the use of funds intended for innovation and blue growth to fund basic research, R&D, training, the setting up of companies, environmental protection and the launch of innovative products and processes on the market;

37.  Calls on the Commission to provide support as part of initiatives for the direct management of project financing, in which emphasis is placed on coastal fisheries and the development of coastal regions;

38.  Stresses the importance of environmental protection instruments, such as Environmental Impact Assessments for individual projects and Strategic Environmental Assessments for strategies, plans and programmes, which contribute to sustainable fisheries;

39.  Stresses the importance of the Integrated Maritime Policy for the future of fishing-dependent regions and understands that there must be an increasing commitment to the strategy of blue growth. The aim is to provide long-term support for sustainable growth in all marine and maritime sectors, acknowledging the importance of seas and oceans as the powerhouses which generate employment and create employment in the coastal regions;

40.  Stresses that coastal and island regions, as well as the outermost regions, are the main actors in the development of innovation and that they must be involved at every stage of the development of the blue economy;

41.  Stresses the importance of the EMFF, which has a particular focus on diversification and innovation in the fisheries sector, with a view to supporting fisheries which are socio‑economically and environmentally sustainable, innovative, competitive, effective and knowledge based; supports the need to strengthen funding for Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund with a view to supporting the members of fishing communities and improving their living standards by developing new activities; calls on the Commission to validate the regional versions of the EMFF as soon as possible;

42.  Stresses the importance of strengthening the relationship between local communities and universities/technology centres which will contribute decisively to the creation of new business incubators which enable the generation of new business ideas in the maritime sector;

43.  Calls on the Commission to actively promote projects which offer support for the strengthening of innovation and technological development, the objective of which is the development or introduction of new products, equipment, techniques, as well as new or improved systems for management and organisation; calls on the Commission to promote and encourage the exchange of information and the sharing of good practices between the different fishing areas so as to foster the development of innovative and sustainable fishing methods; considers it essential in this regard to incorporate modules for the training of entrepreneurs and for diversification in professional nautical and fishing schools;

44.  Calls on the Commission to encourage the creation of new, innovative businesses in fishing-dependent regions, providing an incentive for entrepreneurship and the creation of start-ups with a good possibility of success in the maritime sector, which will contribute to the diversification of the activity of traditional coastal fishing, create employment and attract or maintain the population;

45.  Calls on the Commission to use a selective approach when developing legislative proposals on the use of fishing gears and techniques so as to take into account the actual impact that these gears and techniques have on non‑industrial fishing resources in each of the relevant areas; calls on the Commission to ensure that any legislative initiatives are subject to a thorough prior impact assessment taking account of the specific factors that apply in each fishing area; feels that a non-selective approach to the use of fishing gears and techniques is having a serious impact on the viability of already marginalised coastal and island communities, causing further depopulation and hindering development and innovation; feels that positive discrimination should be applied to artisanal coastal fishing; believes that this approach, as with the case of the proposal to ban driftnets, suggests that the Commission is still adjusting to the decentralised reformed CFP which the co-legislators chose to adopt; reminds the Commission of its duty to operate within the framework of regionalisation as set out in the new CFP Regulation;

46.  Notes that coastal marine ecosystems are sensible and urges Member-States and the Commission to evaluate the environmental impact of any activities that could affect the sustainability of fish stocks, such as maritime transport, waste, transport, aquifer pollution, drilling activities or the construction of new tourist facilities along the coast, in accordance with the precautionary principle;

47.  Advises the Commission to give the highest importance to the socio-economic relevance of artisanal coastal fishing and small-scale fishing within the EU, the adoption of alternative methods of defining the segments of the fleet, and the importance of the diversification of the activity in strongly fishing-dependent coastal regions; notes the relevance of gathering a body of scientific information which facilitates better management of artisanal fisheries, in order to make them sustainable from a biological, social, economic and environmental point of view;

48.  Calls on the Commission to speed up the process of transposition of the social partners' agreement on implementation of the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 of the International Labour Organisation into an appropriate EU legislative instrument;

49.  Calls on the Commission, in accordance with the expert classification of fishing gears set out in the Mediterranean Regulation, to take into account the differences between trawl nets and seine nets in order to give the best provisions towards the more sustainable use of each kind, taking into account the most recent scientific advice;

50.  Calls on the Commission to ensure that a review of the assessment of the status of fish stocks relevant to coastal fisheries is carried out, and stresses the need for an analysis of small-scale fishing’s impact on fish stocks, not forgetting more substantial techniques such as tuna fishing given that the species fished in coastal fisheries are extremely valuable in socio‑economic terms, even though they only account for a small proportion of total catches but are, nevertheless, very significant for the survival of those fishermen who rely on them for their daily earning;

51.  Expresses concern at the loss of traditional fishing techniques and skills due to unfavourable regulations that affect coastal communities;

52.  Calls on the Commission to amend the provision on the technical specifications for fishing nets, such as the minimal mesh size, the height of the net, the distance from the coast and depth at which nets may be used in order to ensure a more balanced harvesting of fish stocks and to preserve biodiversity;

53.  Calls on the Commission to amend the provisions of the existing regulation that prescribe the required distance from the coast and the depth at which fishing gears may be used to take account of the geographical specificities of border areas of Member States;

54.  Stresses the need for an amendment to the Regulation concerning management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea, also known as the ‘Mediterranean Regulation’, which was adopted in 2006 and which lays down rules on the technical characteristics of fishing gears and their uses; feels that this regulation must be brought into line with the new CFP, while keeping in mind that the basin is managed jointly with non‑EU countries, in particular the objective of maximum sustainable yield;

55.  Stresses the need for effective coordination between the Member States to ensure that fishermen are given timely and comprehensive information on the implementation of existing regulations and any amendments to them;

56.  Calls on the Commission to promote projects, in the context of cohesion policy, that will make a contribution to protecting coastal and island areas as traditional, cultural and historical fishing and maritime heritage areas;

57.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to use European funds to subsidise the sustainability certification of almadraba traps, in order to promote the recognition and contribution of this fishing method;

58.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1) OJ C 419, 16.12.2015, p. 167.
(2) Texts adopted, P7_TA(2013)0438.
(3) Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0291.
(4) OJ C 75, 26.2.2016, p. 24.

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