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October 10, 2011

Investigative journalists take on subsidies, illegal fishing and seafood fraud in Spain


Last week, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists   (ICIJ) released 4 in depth articles, as part of their “Looting the Seas” project that we think are worth sharing with you. They are well researched good reads that delve deep into several real and worrying issues plaguing the European fishing sector, such as subsidies, Illegal fishing (IUU), seafood fraud and the effect of our overfishing on developing countries . The articles focus on Spain, but do not think these problems only exist there; this is but a case study of a larger issue that all of Europe is facing. This is what Oceana is fighting against. 

Here are the links and either brief descriptions or facts taken from the articles, just to give you a taste of what’s in the stories:

Nearly €6 billion in subsidies fuel Spain’s ravenous fleet

  • “The Spanish fishing industry has received more than €5.8 billion (more than $8 billion) in subsidies from the EU and Spain since 2000 – far more than the industry of any other EU country.”
  • “Subsidies account for a third of the sector’s value. Simply put, nearly one-in-three fish caught on a hook or raised in a farm is paid for with public money.”

Spain doles out millions in aid despite fishing company’s record

  • “More than 80 percent of subsidized fishing companies that were fined in Spain for fishing infractions – and then lost subsequent court appeals – continued to receive subsidies.”
  • “One Spanish ship owner, [ remember Vidal? ], received more than €8.2 million in subsidies even while his company or its affiliates faced more than 40 accusations of illegal fishing and US$5 million in fines.”

Spain’s hake appetite threatens Namibia’s most valuable fish

  • “Spanish companies pressure the African nation to allow them to catch more. Scientists warn that already vulnerable stocks will further decline”

And finally, the fourth one:  Hake hoax in Spanish markets

  • Following ICIJ’s investigation, which discovered that nearly one-in-10 products at major markets in Spain were mislabeled, Europe’s largest department store pulled fish after ICIJ investigation

We hope you take the time to read some of these really interesting articles.

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