Århus, November 4st, 1997
rue de la Loi 200,
Secretary of the Cabinet
Commissionair Md. Bonino
Thursday, October 30th, The European Ministers of
fisheries adopted, against the Danish vote, the proposed amendment
10920/97 of the former Dutch chairmanship.
This letter does not aim at appealing the proposal as a
unified whole, but we appeal the two specific adoptions of a
minimum size limit of 22 cm for plaice, replacing the former
minimum of 27 cm, and the extension of the beam trawl fishing in
the Southern North sea, from 55 degrees North to 56 degrees North.
These two agreements will prove to have catastrophic
consequences for the coastal fisheries along the West coast of
Jutland. We already have serious problems with the beam trawling.
This extremely influential fishing gear contributes significantly
to the disappearance of the coastal fishing in Western Jutland.
Further, the beam trawling is the main cause why the
environmentally sensible ‘seinefishing’ is disappearing (today
Denmark has 80 seine fishing vessels, twenty years ago there were
600. Every expert agrees that the seine fishing is the most
environmentally friendly, professional fishing method that we
When the Danish fishermen claim that “this agreement
is fatal” then that is true in a very literal sense for the
coastal fishing. The only way to explain the proposal is as a
trade-off, since we cannot see the coherence between the latest
initiatives from the Commission “Proposal to assist small-scale
coastal fishing” (97/C-216/30) and this amendment.
We are convinced, as can be read in the attached
document, that the coastal fisheries need and deserve all the
support that they can possibly get. Naturally, the small-scale
fishing does not provide the largest turnover, but it contributes
in valuable ways to the community. A contribution that will prove
even more valuable in the future European fishing: the
contribution of the coastal fisheries to the community is the high
quality, daily catches of fish to local markets.
Further, the coastal fishery ensures the future of the
many small fishing harbours in Europe. These two contributions,
which the fishing at sea is not capable of providing, is the only
possible route to an extended public and political understanding
between the fishery and the surrounding societies.
The small-scale coastal fishery is, according to the
conviction of the Landsforeningen
Levende Hav (The Danish Society for a Living Sea), the only
fishery that can create closer relations between the European
fishermen – a fundamental condition for the future of an
environmentally and socially sustainable European fishery.
The adoption of the amendment on October the 30th has
been received with disbelief by the Danish coastal fishermen. The
only hope for these fishermen is that the Danish Minister of
Fisheries can persuade the commission to take up the negotiations
concerning this proposal again. Therefore, we appeal to you Md.
Bonino, together with the Fishery Commission to revive the
We are always available to give more information about
the coastal fishery, if the Commission needs it.
Kurt Bertelsen Christensen
Chairman of Landsforeningen Levende Hav
Attached is our latest proposal
to support and strengthen the coastal fishery.