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Editor's Note: Gray matter

Fiona Robinson, Associate Publisher/Editor
Fiona Robinson, Associate Publisher/Editor
April 05, 2012

Reforming fisheries policy is not a black-and-white issue — the many different aspects and opinions to consider make the often-contentious discussion several shades of gray. There are several sides to the EU Common Fisheries Policy debate: fisheries officials trying to implement changes to better conserve fish stocks; NGOs trying to push the envelope and put their footprint on the process; and fishermen struggling to maintain their livelihoods.

Contributing Editor Jason Holland addresses CFP reform in this issue’s Top Story, Policy Overhaul?  One of the sticking points is how much control to give fishermen and how to empower them so they’ll invest in the future of their fishery. Or will the fate of each species be controlled by Brussels officials to the point that commercial fishermen will have little control over their future?

Commercial fishermen on this side of the pond know the power struggle all too well. They marched on Capitol Hill last month to protest federal regulations within the Magnuson-Stevens Act that they contend are destroying their way of life. Will EU fishermen come to the same conclusion 10 years from now? They have a lot more to hash out before that stage is reached. One key element to the CFP reform package is bringing stocks to sustainable levels by 2015. Is less than three years for such a monumental task a realistic goal? Probably not, given the number of countries involved, the diverse species being targeted and the competing interests in every fishery that will need to be heard.

Another gray issue is the evolution of the sustainable seafood movement. It was clear from the presence of sustainability certification groups at this year’s International Boston Seafood Show that there is not just competition for product among the show’s buyers, but also for money in the conservation arena. The topic of debate before the show was Alaska salmon processors’ decision not to renew Marine Stewardship Council certification. Similar to how seafood buyers must choose which salmon to put in their display case, salmon processors made a choice on certification. Click here to read more about the salmon issue.

We’ll be attending this month’s European Seafood Exposition and look forward to seeing many familiar and new faces in Brussels. Please come see us at the media booth in Hall 9 (near stand 9-4215) to discuss what’s on your mind.

April 2012 - SeaFood Business

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