The famous American writer Maya Angelou once said “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
Knowing better depends on better access to facts, to data. And when we’re talking about the marine environment, data from the fishing and aquaculture communities and their activities is the gold standard.
That is why it’s so disturbing that current EU regulations don’t foresee all of this data being collected.
- For example, this means that that when a bird is accidentally caught, fishermen don’t need to report it. We can’t fix this problem if we don’t know where, when, and why seabirds are being caught and if we can’t fix the problem, seabird populations will continue to plummet.
In June 2015, the European commission proposed a revision of the regulation so that this wider ecosystem data would be collected. And on April 11 2016, the Member States adopted part of the Commission’s position – they said data from the impact of fishing on the wider environment should be collected, but unfortunately not that from the impact of aquaculture. Since the EU intends to expand aquaculture production, it is imperative we have this data going forward so it is done sustainably. Without this information, we will certainly fail to achieve this.
On the 19th of April, the European Parliament has a chance to make sure that both types of data, from fishing AND aquaculture, are collected and made freely available to the public, a basic principle of publicly funded data collection.
We hope that tomorrow, Marco Affronte, the Member of the European Parliament who is leading this fight for the European Parliament, will stand for collection of both sets of data and their availability to the public and policy-makers.
With his support, as Maya Angelou said, we will know how to do things better in the future, and avoid our past mistakes.
Bruna Campos, EU Marine and Fisheries Policy Officer for BirdLife Europe,