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News - Friday, February 6, 2015

The Government of Flanders, fishers and a nature organisation sketch an outline of the future of Belgian fisheries

BRUSSEL – On Thursday, 5 February 2015, the Vistraject (“Fish Trajectory”) report was presented. The report sketches seven ways to make our commercial fisheries more ecologically sustainable as well as economically profitable. The report is the result of four years of intensive discussion between the association of fishing boat owners (De Rederscentrale), ILVO, the Government of Flanders and the most important Flemish nature organisation, Natuurpunt.

The transition of the fisheries sector is in many ways an inspiring example for other industries. Fishers and nature protection organisations have found each other as allies in the battle for a sea full of fish, for today and tomorrow.

This sustainability trajectory was started in August 2011 by Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters together with representatives from Natuurpunt, De Rederscentrale, ILVO and the Flemish Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. The Covenant to further a sustainabile Flemish fisheries industry had the goal of preparing the sector for many future challenges; social, economic and ecological sustainability were all examined closely.

Financial recompense for more sustainable fishing is an important piece of the process, in part as measured by the ILVO-developed tool VALDUVIS. The consumer also has a role to play in the transition process. The meetings resulted in seven main goals show the way to a sustainable future of the Flemish fishing fleet:

  1. All commercial fish stocks need to stay within safe limits
  2. The fishing fleet has a minimal impact on the ecosystem
  3. Nature at sea stays protected
  4. Fishing boat ownership stays profitable.
  5. Small-scale and coastal fishing
  6. Socially responsible fishing
  7. The new generation of fishers are “guardians of the sea” and entrepreneurially-minded.

The partners agree that this fishing trajectory is an important step in the right direction but it is not an end point. Preparations are being made to update the foundational Covenant for Sustainable Fishing.


Rederscentrale: Emiel Brouckaert 0473/781104
Natuurpunt: Krien Hansen 0498/851687
ILVO: Hans Polet 0494/286971
Departement Landbouw & Visserij: Johan Heyman 0497/516570
Minister Schauvliege: Annie Cool 0498/777244

Rederscentrale    natuurpunt