The ocean is under threat from the effects of climate change, pollution, loss of biodiversity and unsustainable use. How we fish today affects the quality of our food and the health of marine ecosystems and coastal fishing communities tomorrow. Healthy oceans and healthy fish stocks are key for ensuring the long-term viability of the EU fishing sector and the ability of the oceans to provide essential eco-systemic services to humankind and wealth to future generations.
Renew Europe calls on the Green Deal to include a “blue” dimension by developing an ‘Oceans Action Plan’, which fully acknowledges the key role oceans have in mitigating climate change and develops the eco-system services oceans including concrete actions bringing together an integrated strategic vision towards maritime policy issues;
The EU Oceans Action plan should:
· Set a binding target to expand the network of Marine Protected Areas to at least 30% at EU level in the biodiversity strategy for 2030
· Revise the Common Fisheries Policy aiming at rebuilding the biomass of fish stocks beyond Maximum Sustainable Yields and at establishing an effective and integrated ecosystem-based management system that takes into account all the factors impacting fish stocks and the marine ecosystem, including climate change and pollution
· Integrate fisheries and aquaculture products in the Farm to Fork Strategy with the view of reinforcing the sustainable value chain in the fisheries sector (from fishing to consumption) by improving traceability of all seafood products — including the origin labelling of canned fish products and the ban of products that harm or deplete the marine environment.
· Set a binding target to expand the network of Marine Protected Areas to at least 30% at EU level in the biodiversity strategy for 2030.
· Revise the marine spatial planning legal framework to ensure that protected areas achieve the objectives upon which they were established — like the creation of fishing areas only for small-scale fisheries and ensure effective governance measures are put in place.
· Strengthen role of the EU as a global leader in ocean governance, including the trade dimension, by promoting the adoption of an international mechanism to protect biodiversity and marine ecosystems beyond areas of national jurisdiction and a zero tolerance policy against illegal fishing.
· Enhance financial and capacity resources to improve ocean science and marine knowledge on the marine environment and fish stock, strengthening the role of the EU in the contribution to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and contributed to Sustainable Development Goals.
· Promote the role of fishers contributing to marine knowledge, fight against pollution and playing a leading role in implementing sustainable fishing practices through greener vessels and/or more selective fishing gears.
· Develop marine and freshwater sustainable aquaculture, which contribute to the food security in the EU.