Fisheries Committee keeps vicious cycle of overfishing alive, uses taxpayer money for short term interests

Oceana blasts Members of the Fisheries Committee for failing to deliver an ambitious fisheries subsidies mechanism.

Press Release Date: July 10, 2013

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Today, after a year and a half of negotiations, the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament failed to match the new fisheries subsidies mechanism to the ambitious reformed Common Fisheries Policy. In their vote on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), the representatives of European citizens refused to seize the opportunity to create a funding mechanism that will benefit both fish and fishermen.

Oceana is deeply disappointed in their decision to support subsidies for start-up aid to enter the sector, for building new boats and engines, and to compensate vessels that lay idle in port when stocks are under pressure. These will worsen the vicious cycle of overfished stocks and oversized fleets being kept alive with taxpayer money.

“Choosing to fund new boats to the benefit of a few operators, instead of spending public money on measures that will benefit the public good shows how disconnected Members of the Fisheries Committee are from reality,” stated Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe. “Investing in new boats when so many of Europe’s stocks are in serious danger of depletion is sheer madness and completely counter intuitive. It will only increase the pressure on the marine environment, thereby putting in danger the resources that the fishermen depend on for their livelihoods.”

All the Members of the European Parliament will cast their vote on the EMFF this fall in the plenary vote. Oceana is now looking to the rest of the Parliament to show more backbone and ensure that European taxpayer money is used efficiently and effectively for the benefit of all.

Earlier this week, Oceana revealed the results of a six-month study on the expenditure made by EU Member States in subsidies to the fishing sector since 2000. The report shows that they have granted €4,9 billion in the form of state aid to their fishing sectors – most of which has promoted overfishing – in addition to the €8 billion received from the official EU funding mechanisms during that same period.