Our Vision for Decarbonisation

We are in the midst of a climate crisis, with the effects of rising temperatures – due to climate change – now making themselves known everywhere. At the same time, we are facing a major biodiversity crisis, which is having a huge impact on the marine environment and the functioning of the ocean as a climate regulator. On top of these major crises, with the ongoing war in Ukraine, we also face an unprecedented energy challenge.

In order to overcome these challenges, at a political level, with the signature of the Paris Agreement and the adoption of the European Green Deal, the EU agreed to transition to a sustainable Europe that will achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Climate change objectives have been set in the EU Climate Law, but in order to reach these, our societies must start – or accelerate – the decarbonisation of all sectors of the economy, implementing the right incentives to drive decarbonisation.

The vital decarbonisation process of the EU fishing sector will need to take into account the impacts of fishing activities on stocks, the wider marine environment and the ocean. We are in the midst of a twin crises of biodiversity and climate change – and overfishing is exacerbating both. We have a vision for a decarbonisation of the fisheries sector that progressively leads to a greenhouse gas-neutral fisheries using less energy-intensive gears and less destructive gears. 

Given the context of the climate and biodiversity crises and the urgent need to change our whole economic model to one that is less polluting, and less resource and energy intensive, stakeholders need a roadmap with milestones and targets from the European Commission to design the way forward according to this long-term vision.

We believe the European Commission’s roadmap should lay out several phases of implementation, spread out through the years. It should start with assessing the amount of emissions and further impacts of the fishing sector throughout the production chain. It should also focus on the implementation of ready available measures that can reduce fossil fuel consumption now, without requiring major investments or major changes in the legal framework or the overall layout of the fishing vessels. 


As decarbonisation must go hand in hand with a transition towards low impact fisheries, allowing the ocean and fish to play their role as climate regular and natural carbon sinks, we believe the roadmap must include clear incentives to shift to both less energy intensive and less destructive fishing practices. 


While technological innovation is advancing, decarbonisation can move forward towards alternative fuels. These options should be strongly assessed in the light of environmental, social and safety impacts.