Transition to Low Impact Fisheries
We consider that the energy transition of the fisheries sector should not only be focused on reducing direct emissions, but should also take into account the broader impact on fishing on the marine environment, which also covers indirect emissions generated by disturbing carbon stored on the seafloor. By using less impactful fishing gears, vessels would not only avoid releasing sequestered carbon, and damaging the marine environment, they would also be less energy intensive. Part of the solution of decarbonisation is to have more thriving stocks, more abundant in terms of population but also with regard to the size of fish so that less energy is needed to find and catch fish All these aspects: less impactful gears, less marine environment disturbance, healthier stocks are closely interlinked with decarbonisation of the fishing sector and need to be addressed as part of the strategy of decarbonising the fisheries sector.
Supporting those parts of the sector that are using both less energy-intensive and less impactful gears make sense from both an environmental and social perspective. Low impact fisheries are those fishing practices that use less impactful gears on the stocks or on the marine environment they fish in. Low impact fishers operate at the heart of coastal communities. The transition of the fisheries sector towards decarbonisation needs to be a social, just transition that does not sacrifice those parts of the sector that are more vulnerable but instead maintain the social fabric of coastal communities. We therefore believe that a transition towards a decarbonised fishing sector should also be a transition towards low impact fisheries.