Oceana denounces Xunta de Galicia insists to grant €4 million subsidies to fishing pirates

Manuel Antonio Vidal Pego, internationally condemned for IUU fishing, is an owner of Biomega Nutrición, the company receiving the financial aid

Press Release Date: April 20, 2010

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

Today the international marine conservation organization Oceana is publishing a case study with two letters, revealing that the European Commission any direct responsibility for subsidies, to spend under the European Fisheries Fund for a company, closely linked to IUU fishing (Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported) and the Xunta de Galicia find no legal reason for not subsidizing a company or individuals that have been sanctioned for IUU fishing. Both letters were in response to an Oceana request about the grant of 4.02 Euros to Biomega Nutrición.

Despite new legislation against IUU fishing in Spain, the Xunta de Galicia points out: “According to the February 12, 2009 Order which regulates financial aid, there is no reason to not grant aid to a company sanctioned for a ship involved in illegal fishing activity”.

In December 2009, Oceana denounced a new case of 4.02 million Euros of fishing subsidies for a new fish processing plant, owned by Antonio Vidal Suárez and his son Manuel Antonio Vidal Pego, worldwide reknown for their continued involvement in illegal fishing since more than a decade. The company, Biomega Nutrición, receives 4.2 million Euro subsidies to build a factory to produce Omega 3 fatty acids of fish liver oil. Fish liver oil comes mostly from vulnerable deep sea sharks. Two infamous IUU fishing vessels belonging to Vidal’s network of companies, the blacklisted Corvus and the Antillas Reefer, have been found guilty of and convicted for IUU fishing for deepsea sharks in 2008. Both are formally owned by companies that have the same address as Biomega Nutrición.

“The madness of continuous subsidizing IUU fishing by the European Union Fisheries Fund has to stop immediately. Additionally we need provisions directly inside the new Common Fisheries Policy regulation to stop any subsidies or state aid to individuals, companies or fishing vessels involved in or economically linked to IUU fishing”, declares Anne Schroeer, economist with Oceana.

The new European Union regulation on IUU fishing, in force since January 1st 2010 does not require import permits for fish liver oil or shark liver oil as those products are excluded from the definition of fish products in the regulation.

Antonio Vidal Suárez and his son Manuel Antonio Vidal Pego owned, partly owned, operated or are economically linked to at least nine fishing vessels that have been involved in and sanctioned for IUU fishing by the Spanish and other governments worldwide. At least three of the fishing vessels closely linked to Vidal’s companies are currently listed in the CCAMLR IUU blacklist. During the last ten years, the companies of Vidal Suárez and Vidal Pego received subsidies of almost 10 million Euros, despite their well known involvement in illegal fishing activities.


Fishing Subsidies financing IUU fishing. Case Study: Antonio Vidal Suárez, Manuel Antonio Vidal Pego 

Letter from European Commission – D. G. for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Letter from Xunta de Galicia – Secretaría General del Mar