The EU has one of the largest fishing fleets operating around the world and its activities represent 28% of total EU catches
Members of the European Parliament voted today on the European Commission’s proposal to sustainably manage the activities of the EU’s fishing fleet operating outside European Union waters. EU fishing vessels operate in the waters of developing coastal states of the Indian and Pacific Oceans and off the coast of Central Africa under various types of agreements, including official EU-financed agreements for which the EU pays 145 million euros annually. The European Parliament supported the need for robust measures for transparency, sustainability and accountability in fisheries outside EU waters. Oceana congratulates the European Parliament on a firm decision that represents an opportunity to make fisheries a leading example of transparency in beneficial ownership:
“This decision sends a clear message to other nations with long distance fleets that the EU fleet is abiding by the highest standards and that we expect other fishing nations to follow suit,” said María José Cornax, policy and advocacy director at Oceana in Europe.
The plenary vote supports the proposal of the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament on December 5th to create the first public register of fleet activities including the information on final financial beneficiaries (also called beneficial ownership). Disclosing this information reduces the potential opportunity for money laundering and tax evasion thus contributing to the fight against illegal fishing.
In addition, the European Parliament has also restricted fishing authorisations to vessels with a clean compliance record, i.e. which have not committed a serious infringement in the 12 months preceding their application. This inclusion will ensure that activities of the EU vessels fishing outside EU waters are in line with the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy as well as EU’s global policies to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The proposal will soon be negotiated further among the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.