Action plan to conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems

EESC opinion: Action plan to conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems

Key points


  • believes that healthy marine ecosystems are essential for the planet and for the populations that depend on them;
  • recognises that, despite the improvements made, fishing continues to have an environmental impact on oceans;
  • calls for a decarbonisation and environmental protection strategy that focuses more on innovation than on eliminating fishing activity and pays equal attention to the three pillars of sustainability – environmental, social and economic – while helping to retain skilled jobs in Europe;
  • calls for a balance to be struck between the proposal to increase closures of traditional fishing areas on the one hand and maintaining fishing activity on the other;
  • notes that, although the action plan is not legally binding, it will have a significant socio-economic cost for the Member States and their fleets;
  • regrets the fact that the action plan is not accompanied by a socio-economic study and does not propose any kind of additional financing measures for the green and energy transitions;
  • calls for a socioeconomic impact study of the proposed measures, in particular with regard to the ban on bottom fishing in protected areas, and calls for all necessary means, including incentives and compensatory mechanisms, to be put in place for a just and balanced transition;
  • calls on the Commission to include in the action plan measures to ensure consistency between internal and external policies, as well as a level playing field between EU and non-EU operators;
  • considers it essential that any restrictions be automatically mirrored in the case of products imported from third countries, especially given that the EU imports 70% of the fish it consumes;
  • calls for an action plan that does not increase the food security and sovereignty gap (in terms of seafood) and that allows fishermen to make full use of the fishing quotas allocated to them.