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UK members confirm commitment to EAPO until Brexit dictates otherwise

Published by FiskerForum, 11-10-2017 · info@fiskerforum.dk

The European Association of Fish Producers Organisations held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Knokke-Heist, Belgium at the end of September, hosted by local member Rederscentrale. The UK’s expected departure from the European Union was one of the key subjects discussed at the meeting.

Chairmen of some EAPO working groups expressed their regret that Brexit is looming, which could result in a clear loss of momentum in EAPO’s activities. The UK members pointed out that for them it is too soon to think about changes in the European representation, confirming that they intend to remain active members of EAPO until Brexit determines otherwise.

Within EAPO the subject of Brexit shall be avoided as much as possible until the European Common Market Organisation would no longer affect all current member POs.

The meeting itself was opened by Patricia De Clercq, deputy head of Flemish minister Joke Schauvliege’s cabinet for agriculture, fisheries and countryside.

Both Ms. De Clercq and the attending representatives of the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission, emphasised the fact that POs are seen as cornerstones for successfully reaching the objectives of the European Common Fisheries Policy.

EAPO President Pim Visser reported on the activities of the association, including the current issues, such as the development of multiannual plans and the final phase of the implementation of the Landing Obligation.

‘We are extremely afraid of a ‘big bang’ in 2019,’ he reported.

Representatives of the European Commission attending the meeting positively commented on the work done by EAPO in the Market Advisory Council on the PO’s Production and Marketing Plans and the financing of those plans. They were also looking for EAPO’s input into the intended review of the market standards for fishery products. The third topic was the preparatory work on the new EU multi-annual financial framework as of 2021. EAPO was requested to give a view on the successes and failures of the current framework and to contribute to the upcoming public consultation.

‘I consider this a successful General Assembly,’ Pim Visser commented following the meeting.

‘Our work over the last year has borne fruit for our members and the way the challenges have to be addressed in the coming year has been agreed. It was my intention to look for an interim optimal structure that suits best the fishermen represented by our members. The direct needs and interests of these fishermen, going out to sea week in week out, must be the main driver for our dedicated working group to come up with a well-documented proposal on the future of best possible fisheries representation in Europe.’

Source: EAPO

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