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Monday, 01 July 2013

Croatian fishermen: Little to celebrate under EU policy

Most of the 3,700 fishermen who ply their trade in Croatia's eastern Adriatic fear that the country's accession to the EU on 1 July, and strict new laws and regulations that come with it, may be the end of their jobs.
"We'll lose the subsidies, we'll have to change our nets, fish further from the shore, there will be more competition and new restrictions, so we're looking at harder times," a fisherman said.
Croatia's Adriatic is small and relatively shallow and fishermen use traditional nets that are not compliant with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), modelled mostly on fishing in the Atlantic.
Other concerns are about the vastly superior fleet from EU neighbour Italy, which – as any fishing vessel from the EU - will have open access to the eastern Adriatic.
On the other hand, as a full member state, Croatia can now start working with Italy and Slovenia, with whom they share similar problems in the Adriatic, to press for introducing exceptions to the CFP. These would aim especially for the taking into account the specifics of the Adriatic, which is shallow in the north and deep in the south.
However, the country predicts an overall decline in the fisheries sector, due to the numerous norms and taxes small family trades are faced with.
Neighboring Slovenia, which shares a small part of the northern Adriatic, joined the EU in 2004 and has already seen a decline of its fishing.

Source: Euractiv