Today, the European Parliament voted on their consultation to the Commission proposal on the taxation of energy products and electricity. In addition to official aid provided by the European Union and state aid from Member States, European fishing vessels also benefit from a tax exemption on fuel. A large majority of Members of the European Parliament rejected amendment 40 to the Lulling report (A7-0052/2012), which called for the removal of this exemption.
“Any real reform of the CFP and the EMFF cannot take place without tackling the fuel tax exemption for Europe’s fishing fleet,” stated Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana Europe. “The Commission, which recognizes overcapacity as one of the biggest problems facing Europe’s sustainable fishing goals, nevertheless failed in its proposal to address the problem of fuel subsidies funding overfishing in our waters. Today, the Parliament also failed, and missed this chance to send a strong signal against harmful subsidies.”
According to a 2009 Oceana report, these subsidies amount to at least EUR 1.4 billion. Fuel subsidies allow vessels to fish further out at sea and for longer periods of time, enhancing the pressure on EU fish stocks, of which 63% are overfished in the North Atlantic and 82% in the Mediterranean. By reducing fishing operation costs these subsidies are a large driver of fleet overcapacity, thereby distorting markets and supporting uneconomic activities.