Home » today » Business » Fisheries Conference – Avgenakis: From postcards, to the top of the economy – 2024-02-29 12:25:35

Fisheries Conference – Avgenakis: From postcards, to the top of the economy – 2024-02-29 12:25:35

With the aim of co-shaping the national strategy for fishing and aquaculture, which will make the specific sectors dominant pillars of the new economic and production model of the Greek economy, Lefteris Avgenakis announced in the morning the opening of the first joint conference on the fishing, aquaculture and fishing tourism organized by the Ministry of Rural Development and Food, under the title “Blue Horizons”.

The goal of the YPAAT, as he said, is to take the fisherman out of the postcards, where tradition has placed him and to include him in production, so as to make him a key pillar of the Greek economy, reminding at the same time that Greece has the largest fishing fleet in the EU, while for approximately 15,000 Greeks it is the only source of income.

“A national strategy that will not be drawn up by some technocrats behind their offices, but that we will draw up together, the people of the sea, the professionals of the Fisheries and Aquaculture sectors and all the involved bodies”, emphasized the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in his opening speech.

The joint conference, as the minister said, was demanded by those involved themselves in order to make water resources a key pillar of the Greek economy.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications referred to the problems faced by the sector such as:

  • The energy crisis, which raises production costs
  • The climate crisis, which proved that it has no borders
  • Invasive fish, such as horsehead and lionfish

Adaptation to the new data

Referring to the EU’s policy on the matter, he said:

“European Community policy promotes the objectives of the Green Deal by creating restrictions on free fishing. Our aim is to bridge these trends, as we do not want to cancel the tradition of years we have in fishing in our country, but simply to adapt it to the new data so that it becomes competitive and sustainable”. He pointed out the need to plan the next steps with a more substantial co-formulation of a national strategy for the sector.

At the same time, he referred to the need to adapt to the new reality and to the problems created by the creation of coastal wind farms in coastal and amateur fishing, in the context of the green transition and the use of alternative forms of energy, but also in EU policies to combat overfishing.

“In the policies of the European Union, we find opportunities for cooperation and development, but also limitations and rules imposed by the Green Transition. The European Green Deal paves the way for a more sustainable future, challenging us to rethink traditional practices and adopt environmentally friendly solutions. Our position is the adaptation of the fishing profession to the new data and its support. We strengthen fishing tourism. We support aquaculture.”

The future of fishing is upon us

As the minister said, the government has proven that it has reflexes and emphasized: “The state will stand by the fisherman at this critical juncture. Because we have a plan and a vision for the primary sector. Our Prime Minister himself, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has stated that the primary sector is a central pillar of our country’s development strategy. And fishing is a strategic part of this pillar. The fisherman is part of our culture, our tradition, our history.

But we don’t want it to remain just a pretty picture. We want to take the fisherman out of the postcard image and put him at the forefront of the development path we are shaping for the primary sector. Because it is imperative that fisheries are empowered, brought to the fore and made sustainable. With respect for tradition, but also with dynamic characteristics that will make it competitive, in order to have a strong position in the economy and take its rightful share of the development of the sector. After all, the future of Greek fishing does not lie in the past, but in the unlimited possibilities before us.”

In order to strengthen the competitiveness of the sector, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, said that it must:

  • To adapt to new data and challenges
  • Rehabilitation of the fishing profession
  • Collaborative schemes and
  • Harmonization with the Community framework

In addition, the minister noted, “fish farming and fishing tourism are two possibilities that offer solutions. Especially the promotion of fishing tourism as a business activity is a perspective that can give development breath to the sector”, while he invited the bucket to do what agriculture did, which developed when systematic crops started. “The future is the systematic “cultivation” of the sea,” he emphasized.

The minister made special reference to the role that aquaculture can play in addressing the global social problem of food sufficiency, pointing out: “Aquaculture, with particular potential for our country, emerges as a beacon of hope, offering a path to sustainability, but mainly towards abundance. After all, Greece is first in the production of sea bream and sea bass in Europe. Aquaculture, the art of cultivating aquatic life, promises the future of Greek fishing.” And according to EU studies, aquaculture can create 92,000 jobs and more than 4.9 billion increase in European GDP.

The initiatives of the HYPAAT

  • Referring to the initiatives of the FSAAT, he recalled:
  • We have established the only European Reference Center for Aquatic Animal Welfare.
  • Through EUMED-9 joint actions are planned to deal with invasive fish in the Mediterranean
  • The possibilities of the CAP and the financial tools it offers are fully exploited.
  • The Register of Amateur Fishermen is being reintroduced. We already have an electronic licensing system in place, which we aim to improve, make more functional and efficient.

International actions of the FSAAT are also being developed with the aim of upgrading fisheries, such as:

  • The 9th OUROCEAN world conference, which will take place in April in Greece, in the context of which the burning issues of the sustainability of the blue economy, the climate crisis and the overfishing of fish stocks will be discussed, among others
  • The FAO international conference on fisheries to be held in our country, next December.

The minister also referred to the legislative initiatives of the HYPAAT with the aim of strengthening the sector. As he said “in a bill that will come to consultation in March, we are proceeding with reforming the framework of interprofessional organizations”. He also called on the fishing operators to create an Interprofessional Organization pointing out that “it is a proposal – a challenge for everyone!”.

The voice of the Greek farmers in Brussels

Referring to the farmers’ agitations, he said that the government understands the anxieties of the farmers and added:

“Transferring their own voice to the decision-making centers, at the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers on Monday in Brussels, I will table concrete proposals that will be the beginning of concrete changes to the Common Agricultural Policy, which is their main demand in terms of policy of the EU.

Already with our interventions in the EUMED-9 Group, which I mentioned above, which includes strong countries in the agricultural sector such as France, Italy and Spain, we have managed to wake up all the countries that are facing similar or similar problems to ours in the implementation of the CAP.

The farmers of our country, therefore, should rest easy, that their political leadership is doing everything politically possible to promote the necessary changes in the European decision-making centers, so that the implementation of the CAP is easier and faster , with less bureaucracy for beneficiaries and greater transparency.

We all know that the farmers are right in their claims. And when one is right there is no need for extremes. The Greek producers put this into practice with their attitude at the great rally in Athens. Their secular protest and their logical claim for a Common Agricultural Policy with less bureaucracy made their demands stronger.

The voice of the Greek farmers and their just demands, I am taking to Brussels the day after tomorrow, Monday. And I assure them, that both at the EPP Summit, and at the EUMED-9 Session and at the Council of Ministers, their voice will be heard loudly.”

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