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Europêche airs trust on new EU Fisheries Commissioner

Europêche president, Javier Garat. (Photo Credit: Europeche)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 01:10 (GMT + 9)
President of Europêche -- Association of National Organisations of Fishing Enterprises in the EU -- Javier Garat trusts that the recently appointed EU Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella should successfully balance the particular interests that lay within each fisheries department. 
“According to the oath taken by each Commissioner before the Court of Justice of the European Union, the duty of a Commissioner is to be completely independent in carrying out their responsibilities, not to take instructions from any government, body, office or entity and to refrain from any action incompatible with their duties or the performance of their tasks,” pointed out Garat in a letter addressed to Jean-Claude Juncker, President-elect of the European Commission.
In the letter Garat also described Commissioner Damanaki's time in office as being characterized by “an unhealthy obsession with media-oriented policies rather than proposals.”
Besides, the former commissioner’s work is outlined as showing an “overzealous fixation with imposing one-size-fits-all bans,” which were justified as necessary “to close legislative loopholes more efficiently and were less financially burdensome than identifying and tackling specific fisheries.”
Among these bans, the letter mentions shark fin ban on board vessels and the ban on deep sea fishing. The latter is considered to have failed to reflect scientific advice and is actually inconsistent with international best practice and the standards that the EU itself has promoted through the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations and international bodies such as the FAO and the UN.
In third place, the letter mentions the Commissioner's ban to end all driftnet fishing, which has been deemed to eradicate small-scale traditional drift netters, many of whom have achieved MSC certification for being entirely sustainable.
Furthermore, Garat depicts it as “shocking” that the former Fisheries Commissioner “openly advise against consuming fish caught by entirely legal operations in the EU,” and against eating species that are actually experiencing a recovery and dismiss entirely the farmed species that can be consumed all year round.
The representative of fishing enterprises accused Damanaki of having a “close relationship with the Green lobby that was not only reflected in her policy making but has allegedly led her to take up a job post-Commission with an environmental NGO.”
Finally, Garat voiced the organisation’s trust that the new Commissioner will act in a responsible and independent manner, engaging with all relevant stakeholders and supporting policies based on science and facts and not on “emotive, sensationalist, media-fuelled initiatives which most unfairly devastated the entire European fishing sector.”
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