Marinet has launched a Petition calling for fundamental reform of EU Fishing subsidies

Marinet has launched a Petition directed at Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, and all EU Fisheries Ministers calling for fundamental reform of EU Fishing subsidies. Please sign this petition, and forward to others for their signature as well. The Petition address is http://avaaz.org/EUfish

Petition text: “We call upon the President of the European Commission and all European Fisheries Ministers to stop subsidising practices which lead to over-fishing and the wrecking of precious undersea habitats. The present system of fishing subsidies can, in the worst case scenario, also motivate illegal practices because the actual use of subsidies is unaudited. Therefore we call upon the President and the Fisheries Ministers to reform the subsidy system so that subsidies can be used to conserve and rebuild fish stocks to the point where they provide food security throughout Europe. This reform means marine reserves policed by fishermen, all funded by subsidy payments which are fully audited in an open and accountable way. It is clear that financial incentives must be given to conservation if we are to have a secure future.”

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Why the Campaign is Important: EU fishing subsidy payments total over 1 billion Euros annually, and are strongly implicated in the maintenance of over-capacity in the European fishing fleet which, in turn, leads to over-fishing. Over-fishing is not only destroying wild fish stocks – a key food resource – but is also causing severe damage to the marine ecosystem. This ecosystem supports both large animals, like dolphins and seabirds, to the smallest creatures, like shrimps and tiny zooplankton. We cannot do this sort of damage to the marine world and believe we can escape the consequences.

This kind of belief, supported by financial subsidies, characterized the exploitation of the world’s largest cod fishery in the seas off eastern Canada which collapsed, in the early 1990s, despite warnings of impending disaster from marine scientists. This cod fishery has never recovered, and it has been commercially extinct ever since.

We are now challenging European seas in exactly the same way, over-fishing the stocks and supporting this by means of subsidy payments which, in our case, lack any proper system of auditing.

Our fish stocks will only survive if we convert the subsidy system away from over-fishing. We must use this money instead as subsidies to finance conservation and the rebuilding of stocks whilst, most importantly, ensuring that the whole system of payments is fully transparent and accountable.

Not a single one of these proposals for reform of fishing subsidies is on the table at the present time. Payments are currently being made in the dark from the tax payer’s point of view, and we are courting a breakdown in the ecological structure of our seas. This is why this petition is so important. To speak plainly, it is our future, your children’s future and the marine world’s future which we are putting at risk. So please demonstrate your support for our campaign, tell others about it, and sign this petition.


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