Ocean2012 takes a positive view of the European Parliament’s fishing subsidies (EMFF) vote

Ocean2012 reports, Strasbourg, 23rd October 2013: “Today members of the European Parliament agreed a position on the proposed European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, EMFF. The EMFF is worth over €6.5 billion between 2014 and 2020. Effective implementation of the recently agreed reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, CFP, including its targets for the ending of EU overfishing and the restoration of fish stocks relies on a supportive EMFF.”

Members of the Parliament supported a significant shift of additional funds into data collection, control and enforcement, and strengthened provisions to withhold funding in case of non-compliance with the rules of the CFP by member states. However, they also voted in favour of subsidies for engine replacements and other measures known to facilitate overfishing.

“In February, members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to end EU overfishing and rebuild fish stocks” said Markus Knigge, policy advisor to the OCEAN2012 coalition and The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Consistent with the February vote, a majority of 427 to 204 members of all political groups in the Parliament supported increasing public aid for the restoration of fish stocks, with improved data collection, control and enforcement. They also rejected a proposal to reintroduce EU aid for the construction of new fishing vessels.”

“However” added Markus Knigge “inconsistent with the February vote, members voted in favour of measures that will hinder effective implementation of an ambitious Common Fisheries Policy, such as subsidies for engine replacement and paying fishermen to temporarily stop fishing rather than actually reducing overcapacity.”

Fisheries subsidies that aim to make individual businesses more profitable have not been shown to benefit the public more widely; rather, they often result in the overexploitation of fish stocks. At the same time, several EU member states struggle to comply with their data collection, control and enforcement obligations. Meeting these obligations is an essential pre-condition for effective fisheries management and can produce major public benefits.

“Today’s vote sends a very clear message to EU fisheries ministers” said Markus Knigge “that they must work to increase aid for data collection, fisheries control, and enforcement in the upcoming negotiations between the Parliament and Council on the European Maritime Fisheries Fund. Members of Parliament have also made clear that they do not want to see public funds going to those who break the rules.”

Now the Parliament and Fisheries ministers enter into negotiations to agree on the final EMFF. It is anticipated that these discussions will start in November.

Source: Ocean2012 press release, 23rd October 2013: http://ocean2012.eu/press_releases/134-european-parliament-votes-to-improve-fisheries

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