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Fishery’s Recovery put Under Threat by EU’s €1.6 Billion Deal

09 July 2013

EU - The EU Parliament Fisheries Committee (PECH) will vote on a resolution to provide around € 6.5 billion of public aid to EU fisheries and aquaculture. MEPs may allocate up to €1.6 billion of funding for the construction and modification of up to 20,000 fishing vessels, under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2014-2020

The EMFF was originally intended to help fishermen and coastal communities, introduce sustainable fishing and allow a diversification of their economies.

In reality the deal on the table that MEPs on the Fisheries Committee have to decide upon could set the clock back 20 years in terms of fisheries recoveries in some maritime areas as fleet renewal and modernisation will enhance the capacity of EU fishing fleets, reports WWF.

Under this proposed deal, the Mediterranean region will be the main recipient of subsidies for new vessels despite 88% of assessed fish stocks of that sea-basin are over-exploited.

Along with the EMFF, national financial supports are also permitted, mainly in the form of fuel subsidies which will allow fleets more time at sea and the possibility of reaching more distant waters.

Tony Long, Director, WWF European Policy Office, said: “If MEPs want to support coastal communities, fishermen and fishing stocks over the medium to long term they have to vote down the proposed EMFF amendments supporting fleet renewal and modernisation. Fish stocks need to be given the time to recover so that there will be an industry in the next few years. If we keep pumping money into upgrading the national fleet all we are doing is increasing the ability of the fishing industry to decimate the last pockets of fish in threatened areas.”

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