EU Parliament Environment Committee votes for positive reform of fisheries subsidies
Press Release Date: November 28, 2012
Today, the Environment, Public Health and Food Security Committee of the European Parliament voted on their opinion on the future financing mechanism for the fisheries sector, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Oceana applauds the Members of this Committee for rejecting amendments that waste taxpayer’s money and undermine the entire reform process, putting at risk the future the fisheries industry and the coastal communities that depend on it.
Rejected amendments included subsidies aimed to reintroduce the building new boats, a measure that was phased out in the previous reform because of its detrimental effect on marine resources, to provide fishing vessels with new engines, to scrap old boats and to pay for temporary cessation. This outcome is a stark contrast to the compromise that was reached last October in the European Council, or the outcome of the vote in the Regional Development Committee, that included funding for new engines and boats.
“The members of this Committee have voted in support of a radical change to the European fisheries regime, clearly expressing their commitment to spending taxpayer’s money on measures that benefit coastal communities, sustainable fishermen and the resources, instead of providing ineffective financial handouts to vessel owners”, stated Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “We hope that the Members of the Fisheries Committee will follow this example and put their weight behind a reform that will enable the transition to a truly sustainable use of the resource, making fishermen the principle beneficiaries of healthy fish stocks”.
Note to the editor:
The European Commission presented the EMFF proposal in December 2011, two months ago the European Council of Ministers agreed on a partial general approach on this file and in the European Parliament, the Employment and Regional Development Committees have given their opinion. The Environment Committee is the second to last Committee that will present its opinion before the Fisheries Committee votes in February 2012.
Oceana has advocated for funds to be directed to measures that ensure that marine resources are stable, productive and healthy, by prioritizing investment in public services and ecosystem restoration. Subsidies should in particular be allocated to the creation of more marine protected areas, to the proper enforcement of fisheries management, and to guaranteeing data collection and increasing the coverage of scientific assessments to all commercially exploited species. Sustainable fishing can only be achieved through compliance with effective fisheries management programs, by preventing illegal fishing and by eliminating the subsidies that harm the environment, distort trade or undermine management efforts and lead to overfishing.