EAPO ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
In memoriam of EAPO Secretary Puri Fernández, opening address by
European Commissioner Sinkevičius and new President and management team elected.
The European Association of fish Producers Organisations held its Annual General Meeting
(AGM) 2021 on 28 October in Brussels. The members enjoyed the fact that taking into account
the COVID-19 safety measures a live meeting after such a long time was possible again.
At the start of his last meeting as President – as he was not a candidate for the next two year
term – Pim Visser welcomed the European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and
Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius. After listening to the key aspects of the EAPO work program,
the Commissioner elaborated on his policy around (1) EU fisheries contributing to addressing
the climate change, (2) fishing opportunities for 2022, (3) the blue dimension in the EU Green
Deal and (4) fisheries as part of the Farm to Fork Strategy. After this he went into a brief debate
with EAPO members who raised questions about the speed to reach common goals, about the
difficulties for EU fisheries after brexit and the TCA – also with other coastal states – and about
the space at sea threats to the sector represented by EAPO. Also the upcoming report on the
CFP and the requirement for sustainable, protein-rich seafood provided by fisheries came into
After thanking the Commissioner for his attendance, outgoing President Pim Visser turned to
the statutory part of the AGM. An emotionally impressive moment of silence was held in
honour of the highly respected member and secretary of EAPO, Purificación del Carmen
Fernández Alvarez, who recently and unexpectedly passed away.
Pim Visser reported on the numerous topics and activities addressed by EAPO since the virtual
AGM in 2020. Treasurer Thomas Wenzel Kruse reported on the accounts and the budget, and
obtained approval from the members. Then the meeting turned to the discussion on the future
of the association, for which the members determined that a live meeting was required.
This was followed by the presentation by the candidate for the next term of the presidency. Votes on
the future were passed and the Bureau election resulted in the nomination of Esben Sverdrup
Jensen (Danish Pelagic PO) as President, Yves Foëzon (OP Les Pêcheurs de Bretagne) as
Treasurer and Jesús A. Lourido García (OPP-77 Puerto de Celeiro) as Secretary. The Belgian
PO Rederscentrale continues as secretariat, with Emiel Brouckaert as Secretary-General and
fourth member of the Bureau. The Executive Committee consists of the Bureau members, the
Working Group Chairs and other members annually elected by the General Assmbly.
After thanking and praising his predecessor for seven challenging years in the role, the new
President declared to focus on the chosen future for EAPO. “Producers Organisations are the
link between EU and national managers and those who catch the fish,” Esben Sverdrup Jensen
said, “and it is the POs’ challenging task to make the EU legislation workable on the fishing
grounds and continuously help develop and improve the legal framework for sustainable
fishing. Coming from a pelagic PO, in my new role within EAPO, I plan to visit all member
countries in order to get to know their fisheries and respective challenges and priorities. EAPO
will continue to work closely and build alliances with everyone who supports its objective to
achieve sustainable EU fisheries; socially, economically and environmentally”.
The new President then hosted a further discussion on the work program between EAPO
members and representatives of the European Commission’s DG MARE. The first physical
meeting of EAPO members in one and a half year was closed after a representative of a Swedish
member PO invited the 2022 EAPO AGM to be held in Gothenburg.