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Fish - X
© Ante Gugic

The massive digital transition in the EU creates an opportunity to reconcile environmental and socio-economic issues in the fisheries and seafood sector. It is crucial to modernize small-scale fisheries.

What is the issue?
Fish X project aims to improve the sustainability of EU fisheries and better protect marine ecosystems. The massive digital transition in the EU creates an opportunity to reconcile environmental and socio-economic issues in the fisheries and seafood sector. It offers solutions to better manage fisheries’ activities and increase transparency and traceability, and it also plays a key role in the transition towards a truly sustainable blue economy.

However, the digital transition in the fisheries sector also comes with significant challenges for some actors, especially small-scale fisheries (SSF). Modernizing SSF is crucial as they represent a large portion of employment in the fisheries sector (80 to 90%) responsible for about half of fish captures, but they are challenged by the evolution of fish stocks and competition with other coastal activities.
What are we doing?
The Fish-X Project is developing the tools, Fisheries’ Dataspace (Fish-X), a Traceability App and an Insight Platform, to support the objectives of Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), EU Green Deal, and Farm to Fork Strategy but also to support the digital transition of SSF. The dataspace and platform will allow users to visualise and better understand fishing activities and will support the development of digital tools while protecting fishers’ privacy. The Traceability Application will focus on making the supply chains of SSF transparent to consumers and thereby benefiting the fishers through increased visibility and economic returns. The project will try to conciliate two main usages of the digital transition, supporting the evolution of monitoring and control while providing market-oriented information for fishers’ benefit.
Who do we work with?
Fish-X is carried out by seven consortium partners: TransMarTech (TMT, Germany), EU Tech Chamber (EUTECH, Germany), Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS, France), north.io (Germany), Sciaena (Portugal), OURZ (Germany), and WWF (European Policy Office, ANP/Portugal, Mediterranean Marine Initiative and WWF Adria).

Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Programme under the Grant Agreement. Duration of the project is 36 months.

Various stakeholders such as large to small-scale fisheries, fishers associations, regulators, relevant ministries, and decision-makers, are participating in the consultative process of developing and refining new technologies in light of the changes and revisions of the CFP.
Why are we doing it?
The revision of the EU Fisheries Control Regulation addressed the need for better monitoring and control. With the regulation proposal of the EU Commission released on the 30 May 2018, it took five years of interinstitutional negotiation to come up with an agreement. On 26 June 2023, the parliamentary committee on Fisheries approved the compromise which shall enter into force as of 1 January 2024. The approved text contains a set of new requirements in terms of monitoring and control measures, in particular for the small-scale fishery’s segment which was previously left out from many obligations.

Digitization is knocking on the door in all segments of our lives, including fishing... and it’ s here to stay! The sooner we adapt and accept it in everyday life, the faster and more efficient we will be. Digitization will not replace people, it will not replace fishermen, but it will facilitate and speed up certain processes, and this is how we should understand it and start using it actively.