MEMBERS SITTING ON the European Parliament Fisheries Committee voted to provide subsidiaries worth 1.6 billion euros to improve EU fishing fleets and diversify local economies hit by the decline in the fishing sector.
The money will go towards increasing the sustainability of the industry, as well as improve operational range through investment in vital equipment and new boats, in a bid to boost fisheries’ ability to stay out in the water longer and in waters farther from the coast.
The decision by MEPs has been heavily criticised for its lack of consistency with previous decisions taken recently in the “Basic Regulation” vote, which aimed to improve fish stocks, promote better fisheries management and implement conservation measures – none of which will receive any funding in this new deal.
Tony Long, Director of the WWF European Policy Office, commented:
“This deal will set the recovery of stocks back decades especially in areas like the Mediterranean where the bulk of funds on fleet renewal will be spent. Members of the Fisheries Committee were asked to come up with a plan that could promote sustainable fisheries over the long-term. Instead we have a situation where over 20,000 vessels will be eligible for funding to upgrade that could eventually destroy remaining fish stocks.”
“As this now passes to the European Parliament plenary in September we call on all MEPs to end this situation where too many boats are chasing too few fish and to reallocate funds to promote fish stock recovery and habitat restoration.''