Seas are the drivers for economies and have great potential for innovation and growth, while providing mankind with manifold goods and ecosystem services fundamental to human well-being, global food security and nutrition. They form an integrated and essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem and are critical to sustainable development. Within this framework, fisheries is recognized as one of the pillars of development at European, international and national level, while the aim is to ensure that fishing is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable and that provides a source of healthy food for citizens, while fostering a dynamic fishing industry and ensuring a fair standard of living for fishing communities (FAO, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries).
At the European level, the fisheries sector operates within the following context: the recent declaration on sustainable fisheries, the new Common Fisheries Policy, the Directive for Maritime Spatial Planning – a cornerstone of the Commission’s Blue Growth strategy and the EU Integrated Maritime Policy – as well as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Mediterranean Regulation, the Limassol Declaration, the EU’s maritime and fisheries policies for 2014-2020, and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. In addition, new regulations enforcing the use of fleet mapping and management and electronic catch report applications (VMS, ERS); regulatory interventions for the creation of a flexible environment for the development of alternative forms of tourism (fishing tourism) and the establishment of social entrepreneurship; an orientation towards managing common maritime heritage of neighbouring countries based on regional plans and principles of cooperation and sustainability.
At the international level, the fisheries sector is marked by the Rome Conference, the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), the Guidelines by the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that complements the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF), FAO’s Safety at Sea for small-scale fisheries in developing countries and last but of utmost importance the IMO’s International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F).
It becomes evident that the multiplicity of International, European and regional requirements, policies, initiatives are translated into policy-making and practices at the national level, where needs, cultures, political decisions are blended within the aforementioned frameworks. European Commission and more specifically the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) overview these developments and provide important information on the way forward.
Scope of the SeaofSkills Project:
The scope of the SeaofSkills project pertains small-scale fishers who use fishing vessels under 12 meters, with passive gear.