The European Commission has launched a ‘call for evidence’ to gather feedback on a new initiative to help accelerate the energy transition of the EU fisheries and aquaculture sector, reports Paul Scott.

The Commission says that while almost all fisheries currently rely on fossil fuels for their operations, between 2009 and 2014 European fisheries were ‘on the path to reduce their energy intensity by more than 15%, supported by the recovery of fish stocks’.

However, that trend has started to stagnate, which the Commission says ‘calls for a new push for more co-ordinated efforts amongst the stakeholders’.

It is therefore inviting all stakeholders, including the fishing industry, non-governmental organisations, academic, scientific, social and economic partners, and citizens to share their views.

The feedback received will ‘support’ the Commission in developing the new initiative, which it aims to present early next year.

The Commission says that the current energy crisis has had a ‘strong impact on the economic performance of the fishing fleet’, and that the current reliance on fossil fuels is a ‘structural problem that requires a long-term approach to make the sector resilient and sustainable’.

It adds that the sector can ‘strengthen its resilience and improve its long-term social, economic and environmental sustainability by reducing energy needs and increasing the use of clean and alternative power sources’.

The new initiative aims to develop a long-term strategy for the energy transition of the sector and put in place ‘structures to enhance co-operation between stakeholders and help to remove the current barriers to the uptake of energy-efficient technologies’.

The initiative aims to support the sector by:

  • Enabling strong engagement of all the people, authorities and organisations concerned (including NGOs, fishers, aquaculture producers, shipbuilders, equipment producers, research institutes, renewable energy providers and ports)
  • Closing the gaps in knowledge, technology and innovation
  • Securing adequate financial support
  • Ensuring the right skills and workforce, fit for and adapted to the energy transition in the EU fisheries and aquaculture sector.

The period for feedback is open until 5 December.

More information on how to provide feedback is available here.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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