PERREAULT Magazine AUG | SEP - Page 53

Around the world, 12 million people are employed in small-scale fisheries and many of them face challenges similar to the artisanal fisheries in Senegal.

But the problems are by no means confined to developing nations. In Europe for example, small-scale fishing vessels make up 80% of the fleet yet they receive only a fraction of the fishing quota allocation. The overwhelming proportion of the quota, along with millions of Euros in subsidies, goes to large-scale industrial operators.

Small-scale low-impact fishermen use fishing methods that have the least impact on fish populations and the marine environment. Living and working locally, they contribute to the economic and social stability of coastal communities where alternative sources of income are generally limited.

Until recently, however, European governments had failed to recognise this advantage as a reason to promote low-impact fisheries.

After a major campaign in alliance with low-impact fishers in Croatia, France, Greece, Romania and Spain, among many other European countries, the reform of the European Common Fisheries Policy adopted in 2014 finally recognised the value of these approaches by agreeing to apply social and environmental criteria when allocating fishing quotas.

Greenpeace UK is now testing this commitment. Small boats in the UK make up almost 80% of the fishing fleet but receive a measly 4% of the fishing quota, which is too small for them to make a living.

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