We’ve got excellent news to share about our fight to end harmful fishing subsidies that fuel overfishing. Last week, the European Parliament voted on the EMFF, the financial mechanism of Europe’s fisheries policy, which determines where funding is allocated. We were happy to see that for the most part, MEPs understood that they needed to vote in line with the ambitions and objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy reform.
Good news comes first (and there is quite a lot to be happy about):
- EU subsidies will no longer be given to operators that have fished illegally
- No subsidies will be given for new boats: Currently, Europe’s fleet is 2-3 times larger than what the ocean’s resources can handle sustainably. New boats would increase the already inflated capacity of the fleet.
- A significant increase was made in money allocated to data (funding was doubled) and control measures (funding increased by 45%): Studies have shown that every €1 spent on data, control, and enforcement sees a €10 potential return on investment.
- EU funding will be spent on the management and identification of marine protected areas: MPAs are critical to restoring habitats and stocks that are being threatened by destructive activities.
- The definition of small scale and coastal fisheries will not be applied to vessels over 12 meters nor will it include trawler vessels
- Member States will be required to carry out comprehensive assessments on the balance between their fleets and the available resources
While the aforementioned points are great achievements, MEPs did managed to let a few harmful subsidies slip through, namely funding for new engines and for temporary cessation (when fishers are paid to keep their boats docked).
It certainly isn’t over yet. Next up are the negotiations between the Council and the Parliament, which will culminate in the final EMFF. We are hopeful that the council of fisheries Ministers will not let this opportunity pass.