Union Priority 1 deals with promoting environmentally sustainable, resource–efficient, innovative, competitive and knowledge–based fisheries.
In particular it focuses on:
1. The decrease of the impact of fisheries on the marine environment, including the reduction, as far as possible, of unwanted catches
2. The protection and restoration of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems
3. To ensure the balance between fishing capacity and available fishing opportunities
4. The enhancement of the competitiveness and viability of fisheries enterprises, including small–scale fisheries, and the improvement of safety and working conditions on the boats
5. The provision to support and strengthen the technological development and innovation, including increased energy efficiency, and transfer of knowledge
The development of the policy for fisheries in Cyprus, which is harmonized with the principles of the Common Fisheries Policy, focuses on the sustainable management of fishery resources, the improvement of working conditions, income and training of fishermen and the improvement of the quality and the promotion of fishery products.
The fisheries sector in Cyprus, shows sustainability problems, mainly due to the poor condition of many commercial fish stocks. The low productivity of the area, combined with the intense fishing pressure, particularly on the benthic species, leading the stocks to overfishing, has as a consequence the low fishing productions of the Cypriot fleet and low income to fishermen. The risk of further decrease of some fish stocks due to increase of fishing pressure and the changing of climatic conditions and the spread of alien species is visible and therefore requires drastic changes in management.
Due to the wide diversity of fishery products and fishing methods that characterize fishing in Cyprus, it is not effective to take management measures which relate to specific species, as applied successfully in other parts of the world. For this reason the approach must be holistic with measures aiming to adjust the overall fishing pressure on existing catches and the marine environment in general. Such measures may include the management of the intensity of fisheries the fleet capacity, minimizing the use of fishery equipment, and improving the selectivity and/or introducing selective fishing methods and gear. Also, the sustainable use of marine biological resources at levels which make, among other, available the production of the maximum sustainable yield is through the protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems and generally the maintenance of Good Environmental Condition of the marine environment in Cyprus.
Another problem of the fisheries sector are the difficult working conditions of fishermen. Improving working conditions, and ensuring hygiene and quality of fishery products can be guaranteed to support relevant investments on board fishing vessels and fishing infrastructure.
Important role for the sustainability problem of the fisheries sector is the incomplete and vocational training of fishermen themselves. Fishermen, mostly of certain age, lack of knowledge about fishing, navigation, safety, health and environment. The training of fishermen can help to improve working conditions and their income, by improving the quality of their products and the expansion or diversification of their professional activities.
For the sustainable development of marine fisheries during the period 2014 - 2020, specific targets were set, aligned with Union Priority 1, related to the promotion of environmentally sustainable , efficient resource , innovative, competitive and knowledge based fisheries. The measures taken to achieve that include:
- Reducing operational fishing fleet through permanent cessation of fishing activities and the scrapping fishing vessels
- Improving fishing gear to increase selectivity and reduce the impact on the marine ecosystem
- The introduction of new, more selective fishing gear and fishing methods
- Protecting and restoring marine biodiversity and ecosystems in the framework of sustainable fishing activities
- Improvement and modernization of existing fishing infrastructure
- Improving health and safety conditions for workers on board fishing vessels
- The diversification of fishermen activities
In addition to the above, the implementation of actions promoted for the development of vocational training, new skills and lifelong learning for the fishermen under Union Priority 4.
Especially in protecting and restoring marine biodiversity and ecosystems, emphasis will be given to the use of marine protected areas (Marine areas Natura 2000, including artificial reefs ) as a tool of protection and conservation of marine biodiversity , sustainable management of fisheries and ensuring the sustainable development of marine resources. Moreover, it will promote actions aiming the increase of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystems in the wider marine area of Cyprus which will be a tool for the management and protection of the marine environment and living marine resources through the Framework Directive on Maritime Strategy (2008/56 / EC) and Directive 92/43 / EEC.
The implementation of the Union's specific objectives of Priority 1 will be achieved through the following measures according to Regulation (EU) 508/2014 of the EMFF, as follows:
· Measure 1.3 - Partnerships between scientists and fishermen
· Measure 1.7 - Diversification and new forms of income
· Measure 1.9 - Health and safety
· Measure 1.11 - Permanent cessation of fishing activities
· Measure 1.15 - Reduce the impact of fishing on the marine environment and adjusting fishing on species protection
· Measure 1.17 - Collection from the fishermen of the waste from the sea
· Measure 1.18 - Protection and restoration of marine biodiversity and ecosystems
· Measure 1.19 - System for compensation of damage caused to catch
· Measure 1.20 - Energy efficiency and climate change mitigation - Investments on board - Controls and Energy Efficiency Systems – Studies
· Measure 1.21 - Energy efficiency and climate change mitigation - Replace or machines modernization
· Measure 1.22 - Investment in improving fishing infrastructures
· Measure 1.23 - Investments in fishing infrastructure to comply with the obligation to land all catches