The Antillas Reefer was found guilty and convicted of IUU fishing for deep-sea sharks. (Photo: Stock File)
NGO accuses Galicia of subsidising 'fishing pirates'
Thursday, April 22, 2010, 01:30 (GMT + 9)
The conservation organisation Oceana has condemned the Xunta de Galicia for granting EUR 4.02 million in subsidies to fishing pirates.
According to the NGO, the European Commission (EC) denies any direct responsibility for the issuing of subsidies by the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) to a company with close ties to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities.
The company at issue, Biomega Nutrición, is run by Manuel Antonio Vidal Pego, who is also co-owner of the firm and has a record of international convictions for illegal fishing.
According to the Galician Government, “According to the February 12, 2009 Order which regulates financial aid, there is no reason to not grant aid to a company sanctioned for a ship involved in illegal fishing activity.”
The money granted to Biomega Nutrición was intended to fund the construction of a factory to manufacture Omega 3 fatty acids of fish liver oil.
This particular oil comes mostly from threatened deep-sea sharks, Oceana points out.
In 2008, two fishing ships belonging to the network of companies of Antonio Vidal Suarez – the blacklisted Corvus and Antillas Reefer – were found guilty and convicted of IUU fishing for deep-sea sharks.
"The madness of continuous subsidizing
IUU fishing by the European Union Fisheries Fund
has to stop immediately," declares Anne Schroeer, economist with Oceana
She further added: "Additionally we need provisions directly inside the new
Common Fisheries Policy regulation to stop any subsidies or state aid to individuals, companies or fishing vessels involved in or economically linked to
The new Community regulation on IUU fishing, in effect since 1 January of this year, does not require import permits for fish or shark liver oil as those products are excluded from the fish products defined in the regulation, the NGO notes.
By Analia Murias