Workshop: Decarbonising the EU Fishing Sector

The EU has committed to reducing emissions by 55% by 2030 and to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. And while fish as protein may have a smaller carbon footprint than terrestrial farming, many methods use excessive fuel and employ destructive methods.

The EU is currently reviewing the Energy Taxation Directive, providing a critical opportunity for the EU to turn commitments into action by removing fuel subsidies for the fishing industry and driving a transition to low-carbon fishing that does not cause environmental destruction, is not reliant on foreign sources of fossil fuels, and is not heavily dependent on fish imports.

Watch this recording of our workshop, which explores how the EU can decarbonise the fishing industry. The speakers include experts sharing the latest research and progress in maritime decarbonisation, while the workshop investigates the opportunities to apply international experience in the EU, and help identify gaps in achieving decarbonisation of the EU fishing fleet.



Briefing paper: Decarbonising the EU Fishing Fleet – Opportunities, Challenges and Critical Elements for a Necessary Transition

On the 14th of June 2022, we held a workshop during which experts presented the decarbonisation solutions available in the maritime sector, followed by a discussion with various stakeholders on what is needed to decarbonise the EU fishing sector. This paper is aimed at sharing recommendations and resources developed as a result of the June 2022 workshop, and to instigate action on the necessary path to decarbonisation.

Decarbonising the EU Fishing Fleet. Opportunities, Challenges and Critical Elements for a Necessary Transition


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Read the briefing paper: Decarbonising the EU Fishing Fleet: Lessons from Today’s Shipping Industry

While the journey to decarbonisation is in its primary stages, progress already made within the maritime sector has provided momentum and offers an incremental pathway for the decarbonisation of the fishing fleet. In order to align itself with the objectives of the EU Green Deal and other relevant international agreements, the global fishing industry will need to switch to new sources of energy. The purpose of this briefing paper is to present a feasibility analysis of batteries, synthetic fuels and wind propulsion for fishing vessels by examining examples from the shipping industry, while also considering the advantages and challenges presented by each source of energy.

Decarbonising the EU Fishing Fleet. Lessons from Today's Shipping Industry

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Bottom Trawler Playa de Menduina EU bottom trawler the Playa de Menduina active in the North Atlantic. Bottom-trawling boats, the majority from EU countries, drag fishing gear weighing several tonnes across the sea bed, destroying marine wildlife and devastating life on underwater mountains - or 'seamounts'. Greenpeace ship Esperanza tours Atlantic waters searching for and intercepting bottom trawling fishing vessels during a campaign to highlight the destruction caused by this controversial form of fishing. Credit line: © Greenpeace / Kate Davison

Briefing: What if adopting the Energy Taxation Directive was a mitigation action under UNCLOS?

Without the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies from our economies, we will not be able to reach climate objectives under EU law or broader climate objectives under the Paris agreement, in order to ensure a decent future for the planet and humankind in the coming decades. Last December’s COP28 climate summit underlined the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels and the phasing out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transitions.

Energy transition and Decarbonisation of the fishing fleet: the Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE)’s Perspective

Energy transition and Decarbonisation of the fishing fleet: the Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE)’s Perspective

Shifting from fossil fuel dependency to a zero carbon economy is as imperative for fisheries as it is for other production sectors. Decarbonisation must also be coherent with the other processes affecting the fisheries sector, and in line with fishery management objectives. Decarbonisation must not be pursued at the expense of biodiversity conservation, nature restoration, and the transition towards a fair and sustainable food system. On the other hand, if the vision of the fisheries of the future is well framed and the energy transition is well aligned with the CFP objectives to end overfishing, conserve and restore the marine environment, and is consistent with the objectives of achieving economic, social and employment benefits, it could provide a great opportunity to revitalise the small-scale low impact fishing sector, and give them prospects of future.