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PFA responds to TNI report on Dutch pelagic fishing companies

27 December 2021

PFA responds to TNI report ‘Dangerously efficient industrial fishing: the threat of multinational Dutch fishing companies to European small-scale fisheries


In a recent publication, the Transnational Institute (TNI) argues that the catching capacity and efficiency of pelagic freezer-trawlers are in direct conflict with small-scale local fishers and that by definition they are dangerous for marine ecosystems and fish populations.


Unfortunately TNI, as it has made clear to the PFA, consciously chose to build a one-sided and biased narrative, taking the assumed perspective of its target audience, small-scale French fishers. The result is a series of misconceptions and inaccurate, incorrect, fact-free and scientifically unsupported statements about pelagic fishing and the PFA’s members.


The PFA subsequently engaged in a dialogue with TNI and we thank TNI for allowing our formal response to be published alongside the report on TNI’s website. In our response, we extensively show that

  • pelagic fishing is not in competition with small-scale fishing (we operate outside the coastal areas and target different stocks, on different fishing grounds and for entirely different markets)
  • scientifically sound stock management is at the heart of our responsible operations (not the size of a vessel but quotas dictate catching capacity; we advocate sustainable fisheries, also through the Pelagic Advisory Council made up of industry, ngo’s and scientists; pelagic stocks are in better shape than demersal stocks)
  • the environmental impact of pelagic fishing is actually the lowest of all fisheries (very low by-catch rates; no discarding allowed; no damage to seabed habitats; lowest carbon footprint of all animal protein production)
  • There is nothing unusual, let alone illegal, about lobbying for sustainable fishing opportunities and about international acquisitions based on the mutual interest of buyer and seller
  • Allegations of illegal practices are either unproven or misrepresented


Direct links to the PFA’s response are here (English) and here (French).


TNI’s publication is also available in English (here) and French (here).




PFA represents the interests of nine European freezer-trawler companies involved in pelagic fishing activities for human consumption.

Learn more about the PFA policy of sustainable and responsible production.

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