EU's fishing vessels.
Environmentalists deemed EP's decision to reintroduce fishing subsidy as 'harmful'
Thursday, April 04, 2019, 22:20 (GMT + 9)
Two environmental organisations warn that the reintroduction of subsidies in the post-2020 fund for the maritime and fisheries sector (EMFF), decided by the European Parliament plenary vote, is an immense step backwards to sustainable fishing.
One of these charities, WWF, states that the approval of funding for scrapping fishing vessels represents “a contradictory effort to combat overfishing.”
“The reintroduction of these harmful subsidies directly contradicts the EU’s commitments to end overfishing and support sustainable business models for its fishers, and will jeopardise the future of the very industry the subsidies were intended to support,” claimed Ignacio Fresco Vanzini, Marine Policy Public Affairs Officer at WWF European Policy Office.
The campaigner stated that no portion of the EUR 6 billion of taxpayer money that comprise the EMFF should go toward practices that continue to endanger the already overexploited marine environment and threaten the future of Europe’s fisheries.
On the one hand, another non-government organisation, ClientEarth also criticised Parliamentarians’ votes in favour of the subsidies, stating that they are considered “harmful” by international standards because they increase the number of fishing vessels which will lead to even more overfishing.
“This decision wipes out efforts made in the last 15 years to give up harmful subsidies that lead to fishing overcapacity, keeping an unsustainable number of fishers in the sector despite unhealthy fish stocks,” pointed out ClientEarth fisheries lawyer Flaminia Tacconi.
“Instead of doing something good for fisheries and the health of our oceans in the long term, MEPs are thinking short term and letting an opportunity slip through the net. They are ready to sacrifice the EU’s international commitments against harmful subsidies and waste EU taxpayers’ money by keeping the sector artificially afloat,” the environmentalist stressed.
In a release sent to FIS.com, WWF explained that the revival of the subsidies will also compromise the EU’s position in ongoing World Trade Organisation negotiations, where it has been actively advocating to end harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to global overfishing.
“WWF appeals to EU national governments to remove all harmful subsidies re-introduced by Parliament today, to increase support for data collection and control of fishing activities, while securing the decision to invest a crucial part of the fund on activities to help protect and restore the marine environment,” the charity highlighted in its release.