Brev om maskemål og bomtrawl til fiskerikommissær Bonino 1997
Århus, November 4st, 1997
rue de la Loi 200,
Secretary of the Cabinet
Commissionair Md. Bonino
Thursday, October 30th, The European Ministers of fisheries adopted, against the Danish vote, the proposed amendment 10920/97 of the former Dutch chairmanship.
This letter does not aim at appealing the proposal as a unified whole, but we appeal the two specific adoptions of a minimum size limit of 22 cm for plaice, replacing the former minimum of 27 cm, and the extension of the beam trawl fishing in the Southern North sea, from 55 degrees North to 56 degrees North.
These two agreements will prove to have catastrophic consequences for the coastal fisheries along the West coast of Jutland. We already have serious problems with the beam trawling. This extremely influential fishing gear contributes significantly to the disappearance of the coastal fishing in Western Jutland. Further, the beam trawling is the main cause why the environmentally sensible ‘seinefishing’ is disappearing (today Denmark has 80 seine fishing vessels, twenty years ago there were 600. Every expert agrees that the seine fishing is the most environmentally friendly, professional fishing method that we have.
When the Danish fishermen claim that “this agreement is fatal” then that is true in a very literal sense for the coastal fishing. The only way to explain the proposal is as a trade-off, since we cannot see the coherence between the latest initiatives from the Commission “Proposal to assist small-scale coastal fishing” (97/C-216/30) and this amendment.
We are convinced, as can be read in the attached document, that the coastal fisheries need and deserve all the support that they can possibly get. Naturally, the small-scale fishing does not provide the largest turnover, but it contributes in valuable ways to the community. A contribution that will prove even more valuable in the future European fishing: the contribution of the coastal fisheries to the community is the high quality, daily catches of fish to local markets.
Further, the coastal fishery ensures the future of the many small fishing harbours in Europe. These two contributions, which the fishing at sea is not capable of providing, is the only possible route to an extended public and political understanding between the fishery and the surrounding societies.
The small-scale coastal fishery is, according to the conviction of the Landsforeningen Levende Hav (The Danish Society for a Living Sea), the only fishery that can create closer relations between the European fishermen – a fundamental condition for the future of an environmentally and socially sustainable European fishery.
The adoption of the amendment on October the 30th has been received with disbelief by the Danish coastal fishermen. The only hope for these fishermen is that the Danish Minister of Fisheries can persuade the commission to take up the negotiations concerning this proposal again. Therefore, we appeal to you Md. Bonino, together with the Fishery Commission to revive the negotiations.
We are always available to give more information about the coastal fishery, if the Commission needs it.
Kurt Bertelsen Christensen
Chairman of Landsforeningen Levende Hav
Attached is our latest proposal to support and strengthen the coastal fishery.