Parliament axes most harmful fisheries subsidies

Press Release Date: October 23, 2013

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Today, after almost two years of negotiations the European Parliament has taken positive steps in the vote on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Members of Parliament wisely rejected subsidies for new boats, which could have disastrous effects on the marine environment, doubled funding for data and control, and reassuringly stood strong on issues of conditionality. Nevertheless, Oceana was disappointed that harmful subsidies destined for new engines and temporary cessation were pushed through, despite evidence of their being linked to overfishing.   

“Members of the European Parliament mostly showed courage today, and we are particularly pleased with the significant increase in crucial funding for data and control,” said Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe. Unfortunately, MEPs let a few harmful subsidies slip through the cracks. Funding for new engines and temporary cessation, will do nothing to rebuild Europe’s fish stocks or bring our fishing industry back.”

Oceana especially welcomes the following proposals that were voted through:

  • The definition of small scale and coastal fisheries will not be applied to vessels over 12 meters nor will it include trawler vessels
  • EU subsidies will no longer be given to operators that have fished illegally
  • No subsidies will be given for new boats
  • A significant increase in money allocated to data and control measures
  • EU funding will be spent on the management and identification of marine protected areas
  • Member States will be required to carry out comprehensive assessments on the balance between their fleets and the available resources

“Today’s vote sends a clear signal to Member State Fisheries Ministers that significant reform is coming for fisheries subsidies. No more subsidies will be going to fishers who have engaged in illegal activities,“ added Vanya Vulperhorst, subsidies policy officer at Oceana. “We urge the Council to continue the momentum that began with the ambitious CFP reform and will, hopefully end with the rebuilding of our stocks, and the reemergence of a strong, sustainable European fisheries industry.”

Trilateral negotiations will now commence between the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers and the European Commission.

Learn more: Subsidies