Vote for Fleet Renewal Could Harm Fisheries Recovery22 October 2013
FRANCE - The European Parliament will be voting on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund budget for a €6.57 billion support package for the fisheries industry 2014-2020, on the 22 and 23 October in Strasbourg, France.
Of contention is whether they will vote to continue funding aid for boat construction and engine replacement that would allow operators to chase remaining fish stocks further and for longer. This will cripple any potential recovery. The alternative is that MEPs increase funding for data collection and the enforcement of existing rules that currently lack the budgetary support needed to properly track fish stock recovery and control fishing operations. Currently, between 30-40 per centof catches landed in Europe are from illegal sources.
Tony Long, Director, WWF European Policy Office, stated: “Two thirds of European fish stocks are over exploited and may never recover. Extending subsidies to building new boats and new engines will only make matters worse and would almost certainly destroy our few remaining healthy stocks. These wasteful and highly damaging taxpayer subsidies must be ended once and for all.”
“Earlier this year the Parliament voted for new measures that would allow the long-term recovery of fish stocks and support increased employment in the fisheries sector. Pumping new money into a fishing fleet that is already over-capacity will undermine these measures. Instead, scarce public money should be used to collect data to get an accurate picture of what is really happening in our oceans and put an end to the destruction of the marine environment and the fishing communities that depend on it.”
WWF policy demands on the EMFF
In particular WWF calls on the parliament to support the following positions and deliver a sustainable fisheries policy:
1.Money should be diverted away from vessel construction and engine replacement and instead be invested in data collection and enforcement of laws;
2.Investment in data collection and enforcement should be tripled so that we can know the exact state of fisheries and to fight the current situation whereby 30-40 per cent of fish are caught illegally. This would mean an increase to €302 million per year by yield significant benefits.
Online votefish.org campaign
Along with our coalition allies WWF has launched a campaign urging the public to vote for fish. By going to www.votefish.org you can send a Tweet to your local MEP on the Fisheries Committee and ask them to vote for more data collection and enforcement of law.
TheFishSite News Desk