New Fisheries Commissioner Designate Interviewed in Brussels –

New Fisheries Commissioner Designate Interviewed in Brussels Fishing Monthly Published:  13 April, 2004

THE new Fisheries Commissioner Designate, who will be co-Commissioner working alongside Franz Fischler, was recently interviewed in a special hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Sandra Kalniete, currently Minister for Foreign Affairs in Latvia and a graduate of Leeds University, answered a barrage of questions from MEPs on fisheries and agriculture, both of which she will assume responsibility for over the next 6 months until the retirement of Commissioner Fischler in October.

Chairing the fisheries section of the hearing, Struan Stevenson MEP, President of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, asked Mrs Kalniete how she could reconcile the interests of fishermen with the conservation of fisheries resources.

Mrs Kalniete replied: “The contradiction between the necessity to preserve collapsing fish stocks and the necessity to preserve fishing communities is one which the Commission has to tackle. For years and years scientists warned that fish stocks were in danger, but, of course, Member States were aware of the social consequences of drastic cuts.”

She said it was imperative that a balance be struck between conservation and the need to preserve fisheries and she urged Member States to share best practice in fisheries in future.

“The Common Fisheries Policy has not been a big success so far. We must move forward with a sustainable approach to our ocean’s resources,” she continued. “The establishment of Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) will bring a new dimension to the CFP. If the industry, scientists and managers do not engage in a structured dialogue and act in good faith, it will be hard to find a fair compromise between the need for sustainable resource management, the viability of the fishing industry and the interests of fishing communities.”