A fishing vessel from Spain. (Photo: OCEAN2012/Corey Arnold)
Europeans feel strongly about fisheries subsidies: survey
Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
A new independent survey conducted by YouGov for Green Budget Europe (GBE) reveals attitudes in six European Union (EU) countries on how public funds are spent in the European fisheries sector.
The findings of the survey, which includes the answers of just over 7,000 people obtained from 14-20 September 2012, state that 76 per cent of respondents want fisheries subsidies not to be granted before proper fleet assessments have been conducted (77 per cent among UK respondents, 80 per cent in Spain, 79 per cent in Italy, 73 per cent in Poland and 68 per cent in France).
Other key findings are that 68 per cent of respondents believe that subsidies should be put toward stock maintaining and rebuilding instead of fleet-related issues (69 per cent among UK respondents, 73 per cent in Spain, 54 per cent in Italy, 75 per cent in Poland and 62 per cent in France), and that 80 per cent do not agree with giving subsidies to fishers who break fisheries law (78 per cent among UK respondents, 70 per cent in Spain, 81 per cent in Italy and 80 per cent in Poland and France).
"Public opinion of EU citizens should be taken seriously, when EU Fisheries Ministers decide on the future of fisheries subsidies,” said Damian Ludewig, Director of Green Budget Germany (GBG).
On October 22-23, EU Fisheries Ministers will try to reach a preliminary agreement on how the EU should subsidise the European Fisheries sector.
According to GBE, at the moment, EU fisheries subsidies favour individual fishers instead of going toward public services, such as collecting data and combatting illegal fishing.
The entity also stresses that the fishing sector is the recipient of subsidies regardless of whether it is already fishing beyond sustainable levels and that even though they are known for having violated EU fisheries law before, EU fishers can continue to benefit from fisheries subsidies.
“Even though European fisheries subsidies have not received much public attention to date, the results of the public poll show that European citizens have a clear opinion on how their tax money should be spent,” said Sebastian Buschmann, Research Associate at Green Budget Germany. “It is striking that the participants’ responses indicate how EU citizens would like fundamental changes to the existing policy and position of governments in the ongoing reform of the common fisheries policy (CFP) and the subsidies regime.”
Founded in 2008, Green Budget Europe aims to promote Environmental Fiscal Reform and Market-Based Instruments on the European level and bring together EU and government institutions, NGO’s, industry associations and experts. It operates as a project within Green Budget Germany.
By Natalia Real