Interview with Mr Helir-Valdor Seeder, Minister of Agriculture, Estonia
Transparency in ﬁsheries is critical for sustainable use of ﬁsh resources The Common Fisheries Policy is in the process of being revised and Estonia has some clear ideas about the direction it would prefer the review to take. Producer Organisations in the Estonian ﬁshing sector have all launched processing facilities within months of each other, and today the nation’s trawler ﬂeet has some 40 active vessels compared to 100 just seven years ago. The country has just joined the OECD and on 1 January this year the euro replaced the kroon as the national currency. Clearly, there have been signiﬁcant changes both within the ﬁsheries sector as well as around it. With this backdrop Euroﬁsh spoke with Mr Helir-Valdor Seeder, the Minister of Agriculture, to get his views on the future of Estonian ﬁsheries. EUROFISH: The reform of the CFP is currently being finalised. What aspects of the reformed CFP are priorities for Estonia? Helir-Valdor Seeder: The number one priority for us is the sustainable use of fish resources and to avoid over-fishing. Our second priority is the stability of fisheries policy and the quota distribution. We support the preservation of the quota distribution policy as it is between member states so that it is stable, but the member states should have the right to distribute
the quota within the country as they see fit and to organise the market. Within Estonia in addition to trawl fishing and deep sea fishing, we have coastal fishing which is important and also professional fishing in inland water bodies. And so the individual catching quotas should not be connected to the fleets or the vessels, but to the fishermen himself. These are the peculiarities within the country that we would like to preserve and develop. The last thing to mention would be traceability and transparency, so that it
Mr Helir-Valdor Seeder, Minister of Agriculture, speaking at the inauguration of the processing facilities of the Estonian Fishing Association PO.
is possible to see who catches how much. Estonia is probably the only member state that has made it legally binding to publish the amounts that people have caught under legislation we passed last year. EF: How does the government encourage the sustainability of stocks and catches. Is certification a way to go forward? HVS: Sustainability can be ensured by regulating catches and avoiding over-fishing. To do that
there has to be regular scientific monitoring carried out by reliable and objective experts so that we have a credible picture of the resources. Legislation to prevent over-fishing has to be based on this knowledge. Certification is a possibility, but it can only supplement the core which lies in legislation and official policy. And of course transparency and monitoring are also important. EF: The European Fisheries Fund (EFF) is a key tool in delivering Common Fisheries Policy objectives. What are the measures that Estonia would like to change and those it wants to retain for the future financial instrument (2014-2020) in the fisheries sector.
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Eurofish Magazine 2 / 2011