In 2011 and 2012, EJN organized a series of workshops in Ireland, France, and Germany that brought together experts and journalists to debate European fisheries and fisheries policy, and to strengthen media coverage of these vital issues.
As part of a series of the workshops called Taking Stock, the Earth Journalism Network worked with journalists from 13 EU countries to improve their understanding and coverage of issues and reforms to lead to more informed public debate related to the Common Fisheries Policy.
The European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has been controversial since its creation in 1983. Ostensibly designed to set sustainable quotas for the quantity and type of fish each European country can catch, it has been the subject of much criticism due to its apparent inability to effectively manage and police the sea waters, with 88% of European fish stocks considered overexploited. In 2009, an EU Green Paper concluded that the CFP is a failed policy in need of fundamental reforms.
EJN invited experts and key stakeholders including scientists, fishermen, industry representatives, politicians and NGOs to speak at conferences held in Ireland, France and Germany. These activities are supported with funding from the Oak Foundation and the Adessium Foundation. The conferences were carried out with assistance from Seaweb Paris and the Berlin-based Ecologic Institute.
Ireland - Dublin, 2011
Fourteen journalists from 8 countries met with a veritable buffet of stakeholders and sources – including policy-makers, chefs, NGOs, fishermen and fish processors – although undoubtedly found some of the commentary hard to digest.
Reporting on fisheries issues has also faced fundamental problems – partly because so much of the activity takes place remotely and out of sight but also because the science and policy surrounding fisheries is so complex.
EJN’s Journalism Conference on European Fisheries, supported by the Oak Foundation, set out to help correct this. The three-day event was attended by journalists from Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Ireland and the UK.
France – St Raphael, September 2012
For the French conference Internews partnered with the NGO Seaweb. Internews and Seaweb chose to hold the conference in the town of Saint Raphael, a town on the Mediterranean Sea in southern France. The Mediterranean is one of the most over-fished waters in the world. Due to the high levels of biodiversity in the Mediterranean, catches are highly multi-specific causing a lot of damage to a wide range of fish stocks. Although large-scale industry is present, the majority of fishers are from the artisan sector, involving smaller boats with a large number of fishers working across different species. Another issue the Mediterranean faces is a significant lack of quality data to actually measure the state of the fish stocks.
Germany – Lubeck, October 2012
At the German conference, Internews partnered with the Ecologic Institute, a think-tank for environmental research, policy and consulting with a dedicated team on marine and fisheries issues. Fourteen journalists attended the conference from Latvia, Romania, France, Denmark and Germany.