Low Impact Fishers of Europe - LIFE
The Low Impact Fishers of Europe is an umbrella organisation run by fishermen for fishermen.
The aim of LIFE is to provide a clear and coherent voice at EU level for the previously mainly silent majority of European fishers who are smaller scale and who use low impact fishing gears and methods but have historically lacked dedicated and effective representation in Brussels and at Member State level.
The Platform works via a Management Board of working fishermen who are representatives of their local fishing communities. The daily duties are carried out by the Executive Director with the support of a Brussels-based Secretariat and its Regional Coordinators.
LIFE represents those fishermen who tend to be smaller scale and have a low environmental impact but who at the same time have a high social and economic value within the communities they support and who support them. The owner usually works aboard, undertakes day trips, has low greenhouse gas emissions per kilo of fish landed and fishes in a sustainable manner. On this basis LIFE has developed a Mission Statement that clearly illustrates the ethos, aims and aspirations of the organisation.
There is a growing recognition by lower impact, smaller scale fishermen across Europe, and in fact further afield, that it is now absolutely vital to have specific and dedicated representation to champion their cause and ensure the long term sustainability and survival of their activities. An important part of this approach is an effective and focussed presence at EU level. In addition, LIFE will not only speak for its members in Brussels and elsewhere, but will also assist and support them to be heard in person at every level.
With the implementation phase of the reformed CFP likely to be ongoing for some considerable time, LIFE provides the necessary pathway between smaller scale fishermen who are desperately in need of positively influencing fisheries and marine environmental policies at a European level and the range of Commission officials, Member State politicians and MEP’s who make and vote on the direction of travel for policies that will have a massive influence on the future for fishermen and their local communities.
There is strength in unity and what unites LIFE members is that they can develop common solutions to common problems and call on the massive talent and experience of literally thousands of fishers to contribute to the sustainable development of the sector. LIFE already has member organisations from the majority of the European Member States, and the number of applications is constantly growing! LIFE exists to provide a service to all these organisations, a growing number of which have already recognised the very real benefits they can access by being part of this initiative and working together for the common good.
LIFE anticipates that developing a collective and coherent voice will illustrate that the low impact, small scale fishers of Europe, suitably supported and with equitable access to the resource, are not a problem to be either ignored or removed but a solution to many of the problems, both past and present that confront the fishing industry and the marine environment.
Fishing always seems to be at some sort of crossroads or other and the current situation is no different. What is different is that for the first time, smaller scale, low impact fishers across the EU have the chance to be heard and, through LIFE, make a real difference to if and how they can survive and prosper in the years ahead.
L. I. F. E. – Platform of the Low Impact Fishers of Europe
1. The L.I.F.E. platform was established as a single, strong and inclusive voice to represent the interests of small-scale low impact fishermen and women across Europe in the spirit of the Common Declaration signed at the 2012 European Artisanal Fishermen’s Congress. Its mission is to achieve conditions in which fishing is performed in a sustainable manner and small-scale low impact fishermen and women in Europe can maximise their social and economic viability. L.I.F.E. enables European small-scale low impact fishermen and women to develop and communicate collective positions and to influence the development and implementation of policies and legislation, including the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). L.I.F.E. acts as a platform for and promotes the creation of regional and national low impact fishing organisations in EU Member States where representation is lacking.
2. L.I.F.E. aims to achieve sustainability in fishing, through management that:
-Grants the right to fish to those who fish sustainably;
-Eliminates fleet overcapacity where it exists, while preserving jobs in small-scale low impact fisheries;
-Ends harmful subsidies and unsustainable and destructive fishing practices; and
-Restores the health of their seas in Europe and the rest of the world.
3. L.I.F.E. members are organisations that have pledged to support L.I.F.E.’s mission and the Common Declaration. LIFE represents fishermen and women that use low impact gear in terms of selectivity and impact on marine habitats. They work on their own vessels and are committed to ensuring the sustainability of their activities by respecting the rules or, where such rules are absent or insufficient, by applying self-imposed measures to protect the fisheries resources and the environment. They maintain a strong social, cultural and economic link with their communities. Fishers engaging in destructive fishing methods that exert a harmful impact on the environment, are non-selective or catch undersized fish will not be represented by L.I.F.E. These methods will be decided on a Member State basis.See more