“Fishing is not boring — it’s sexy and fascinating”

Green Party Eurodeputy Isabella Lövin is battling for a more sustainable EU fishery policy

Before politics, Lövin was a journalist. / BERNARDO PÉREZ (EL PAÍS)

Swedish Green Party Eurodeputy Isabella Lövin is something of a rising star in European politics. Three weeks ago, she managed to convince 80 percent of her colleagues to back her initiative to make European fishing policy more sustainable.

“Europe has a great responsibility,” she says. “My mission is for only fish caught in a sustainable way to be considered legal.”

Last year, Lövin was named the eurodeputy most committed to defending the interests of developing countries. And her first visit to Spain is to be patron of a similar prize, awarded by the Center of Research and Studies on Trade and Development (Ciecode), which has been won by Laia Ortiz, a congressional deputy for the Plural Left grouping.

“There is very little debate on overfishing in Spain,” Lövin says. “It has always tried to make sure EU policies are not restrictive for the country, in order to safeguard jobs.”

It’s this short-term vision in the sector that, in her opinion, is making the country’s development policies incoherent.

“Fishing policy is not seen as something important,” she says.

Lövin, who turned 50 last month, is partly vegetarian. “I eat chicken and also fish, if I have a guarantee that it is sustainable,” she notes.

She is critical of the fact that it is so difficult for consumers to find out where their fish has come from. “Fishing has to be monitored so that they have this information, and this is a very difficult job,” she says.

Fishing report

Before dedicating herself to politics, Lövin worked as a journalist for 25 years. The research she undertook for a report on overfishing left its mark. “Fishing is not boring. It’s not just about nets and boats... It’s sexy, it’s fascinating,” she says. Her book, Silent Seas: The Fish Race to the Bottom, published in 2007, exposed the deficiencies of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and earned her 14 prizes in Sweden. It also led to her grouping, the Greens, suggesting the idea of a jump to politics, which she made in 2009.

“I hesitated a lot, because I didn’t believe I could change things, but now I see that yes, I can,” she explains.

“We are not going to waste this opportunity.”

Precisely because she is new on the scene, Lövin thinks she has a clearer vision of the problem. “I don’t care whether or not I am reelected because this is not my profession,” she says. Minutes later, however, she admits that in reality she would like to serve another term.

“It is the moment for changing things [...]. The only solution for the future is to be sustainable,” she says.

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