EU vote to subsidise overfishing

skagman / Foter / CC BY

Author Olle Åkesson

In June Tony Whitbread wrote a blog about the upcoming vote in the European Parliament to use the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to subsidise vessel construction and fleet modernisation.

This type of funding was phased out in the 2002 Common Fisheries Policy Reform and has been shown by several different organisations that the subsidies contribute to overfishing and are unevenly distributed amongst countries and fishing fleets, often benefiting larger commercial vessels using damaging bottom trawling methods, instead of smaller inshore fleets using less damaging fishing gear. Read more here and here.

On July 10th the European Parliament Fisheries Committee, PECH, voted and passed the amendments. Amongst other things this means that part of the €6.5 billion fund can be used to construct new vessels and upgrade existing vessels. At a time when a large proportion of European fish stocks are overfished, increasing the capacity of the fishing fleets is a disappointing step in the wrong direction.

It’s not all bad news though.The amendments to the EMFF contained greater financial support for data collection and enforcement, as well as funding for new fishing gear to reduce by-catch. The amendments also state that any funding should be conditional on compliance with fishing regulations.

Luckily the entire package has gone to a plenary vote so the all the MEPs will have a say in the matter. Hopefully the damaging amendments will be rejected when the full European Parliament votes in the autumn.

You can make your opinion known by writing to your MEP (find them here) .

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