Stop financing overfishing. Protect our marine life!

11/11/2019

Every seven years, in parallel with the discussions on the EU budget, the European Parliament and the European Council also agree upon the budget for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and the distribution of more than 6 billion Euro. The current position of the Parliament unfortunately is not ambitious at all: If adopted as such, it would be contrary to the EU mandate at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where ongoing negotiations at international level aim to end subsidies that increase the capacity of fleets to catch fish.

It would also be contrary to the objective of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14.6 that requires to prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies by 2020.

In detail, the current position foresees amongst others to use public money

·         for the acquisition of new vessels (despite EU fisheries as a whole are more and more profitable every year),

·         for storage aid as a measure of market intervention,

·         to support the replacement of engines despite the fact that their power currently cannot be controlled with certainty,

·         to support the EU external fleet in case of non-renewal of fisheries partnership agreements even in cases where the EU decides to delay such agreements for scientific or human rights reasons.

These measures will not ensure sustainable fishing, in the contrary: the current position also weakens the conditions for eligibility to receive these subsidies as well as the monitoring and control of the impacts of this financial support.

Instead of handing out harmful subsidies, the EU should use the EMFF to aim for healthier fish populations. A healthy and diverse marine environment is the basis for thriving fish stocks and a sustainable and profitable fishing sector.

Therefore, we fight for an EMFF that supports measures

·         for a better and more sustainable management of fish populations,

·         for more selective gear and other methods to avoid unwanted catches,

·         to protect the marine environment,

·         for better data collection, data processing and

·         for better control of fisheries.

On 12th November, the European Parliament Fisheries Committee votes to open negotiations with the Council, based on its current position. We want to change this position for the better and will vote against opening the negotiations.

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