Spanish fishing industry organisations this week published some figures about Spanish fishing subsidies in response to Oceana’s report on fishing subsidies in European Union. Oceana’s report revealed that EU fisheries subsidies totaled € 3.3 billion in 2009, an amount that is three times greater than the number generally provided by the Commission, which only takes into account payments from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF). The Oceana report also revealed that in 13 Member States, the amount they were given in subsidies was higher than the total value of their fish landings.
Europe’s and the world’s oceans are heavily overfished. Oceana is gravely concerned by the extent to which the EU continues to provide capacity enhancing subsidies to an already oversized fleet and is urging the European Commission to end all such subsidies, including those for construction, modernisation, fuel, fish processing and marketing. Instead the new Commission regulation for a financial instrument to accompany the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) regulation should support ecological sustainable artisanal fleets, the designation and management of Marine Protected Areas, scientific assessments and the rigorous enforcement of fisheries regulations.
In a letter to the Spanish administration, the Spanish fishing industry association accused Oceana and other NGOs of using manipulated data to confuse citizens and create a bad image of the Spanish fishing sector in the European Union and international fora. In fact, Oceana’s subsidies report, published in September, gave detailed information about fishing subsidies in all 27 EU Member States, based on data that was collected, as referenced, from statistics provided by the European Commission of Public Administrations.
Xavier Pastor, Executive Director for Oceana in Europe, clarifies: “Oceana is an international conservation organization, working for the restoration and conservation of the world’s oceans, and more sustainable fishing. We strongly advise the Spanish fishing sector to read Oceana’s publications before releasing uninformed and misleading statements to the public."
Oceana is an independent, nonprofit, registered as a public interest foundation funded by donations both from Spain and abroad. Oceana aims to protect and restore the marine environment around the planet and in this framework strives to promote a reform of the CFP that achieves sustainable and responsible fisheries based on the following points:
* Manage fisheries based Total Allowable Catch (TAC), effort control and technical measures based on scientific criteria. Currently 63% of the stocks managed in the Atlantic and 82% in the Mediterranean are in a state of overexploitation. Most of the exploited species in the EU lack reliable scientific data to ensure the sustainability of their exploitation.
* Restore stocks to reach their maximum sustainable yield by 2015, as Member States committed themselves to in 2002 at the Sustainable Development Summit in Johannesburg.
* Reduce by-catch and eliminate the practice of discards by EU vessels. Each year in the EU 1.3 million tonnes of marine organisms are thrown overboard dead or dying - an economic and environmental waste of food that would often be avoidable if selective fishing gear was used.
* Eliminate destructive fishing unselective not only endanger the health of stocks and the habitats they depend, but compromise the viability and long-term overfishing and the communities that depend on these resources.
* Eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU fishing) in EU waters and by EU vessels. This practice is greatly detrimental to the environment, and it also creates unfair competition for legal fishermen.
* Remove harmful fisheries subsidies on the environment.
Subsidies should not be granted to:
Instead finance policies should be used to: