The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC):
- welcomes the Commission's proposal for urgent action to support the Eastern Baltic cod fisheries sector, but considers that by itself this will not be enough to meet the needs of the region and its inhabitants;
- calls on the Commission to give priority to any steps that can help improve the Baltic Sea ecosystem, since scientific research has shown that current cod mortality is due to environmental factors rather than fishing;
- urges Member States with powers to lay down the rules for the allocation of financial compensation for scrapping fishing vessels to take due account of the sector's skilled workers who would be left without a source of income;
- calls on the Member States to use the ESF funds to implement retraining programmes for workers currently employed in the sector.
- emphasises that by forbidding conversion to leisure and tourist fishing, the proposal shuts off a practical employment and business solution for operators.
Cooperation with non-EU countries with interests in the Baltic must not be restricted to seeking convergent solutions regarding fishing, but should also develop and implement measures aimed at radically and durably resolving the environmental problems that threaten the balance of the Baltic Sea ecosystem.