Commercial fishing to come under new scrutiny

The impact of environmentally sensitive fishing on biologically important marine areas along Sweden’s coasts will be the subject of a new inquiry. The National Board of Fisheries (Fiskeriverket), the Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) and county administrative boards have been tasked with reviewing ways of applying the Swedish Environmental Code and the Fisheries Act.

“This really applies to commercial fishing, and we will be working with the Environmental Protection Agency and the relevant county administrative boards, which are ultimately responsible for these areas,” explained Fisheries Board Director-General Axel Wenblad to TT.

There are some ten Natura 2000 sites along Sweden’s coastline. These form part of a network of natural sites designated by the EU as special protection areas, and are regarded as uniquely important to biodiversity conservation.

Commercial fishing is a contentious issue throughout the EU particularly in view of its environmental impact. Environmental organisations have long accused the fishing industry of excessive depredation of Natura 2000 sites. In September, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fisheries Board and the county administrative boards will accordingly set about regulating commercial fishing in protected marine areas.

“We will be looking at the existing regulations, threat scenarios and possible measures to find ways of moving forward with the Environmental Code and the Fisheries Act,” said Wenblad.

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