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A New European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)

December 13, 2011

There’s a proposal to overhaul how the EU invests in its fisheries.  As we’ve seen, the old one supported over-capacity and over-fishing.  But what do we think of the new one?  Here are three key positions:

Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director Saskia Richartz:

“Many European governments have been using subsidies to fund a bloated and destructive fleet. This plan will not put an end to these practices. Taxpayers’ money should not be used to subsidise the private profits of an industry that is fishing itself out of business. The European Parliament and those countries who want to end overfishing should ensure that fishermen who plunder recklessly are penalised and only those who fish sustainably are rewarded.”

Anne Schroeer, economist at Oceana Europe:

“Europe’s oversized fleet – estimated to be two to three times too big – has been built and maintained with enormous amounts of subsidies…The Commission proposal has thankfully removed some subsidies that allow further fleet growth, like those dedicated to modernisation – they seem to have understood that an oversized fleet leads to fishermen taking losses, and disadvantages consumers and the environment.”

My favorite is from Markus Knigge, advisor to the Pew Environment Group and the OCEAN2012 coalition, who uses some great numbers to point out that states don’t yet have the policies to use these monies correctly:

“In 2008, the European Commission identified overcapacity as one of the primary drivers of overfishing, and public subsidies as fuelling the problem. Yet a recent Commission report showed that many member states do not even assess the capacity of their fishing fleets, confirming that EU funds are being spent blindly. Between 2000 and 2008, for example, the EU provided €33.5 million in financial aid for the modernisation of bluefin tuna fishing vessels, which target a species that is so overfished, it is classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

With an economic crisis spreading throughout the EU, the public cannot afford blind spending of EU fisheries subsidies.” (bold added)

More here.

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