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Harmful Subsidies Must Be Phased Out

EU - A report by the Directorate General for Internal Policies, suggests that changes to the Common Fisheries Policy are urgently required.

The European fishing industry faces immense challenges in economical, ecological and social respects. In an effort to support the transition of the sector, the European Union and its Member States grant subsidies to the fishing industry.

A variety of subsidies have been eliminated, such as the construction of new vessels, and funds have been redirected to programs aimed at reducing fleet capacity, but the overall fishing capacity has not been sufficiently reduced to date. In fact, the EU has failed to meet the sustainability objectives laid out in the CFP. Too many boats continue to chase too few fish; subsidies have contributed to this.

Likewise, it remains a challenge to align the respective management and control systems in such a way that fisheries subsidies do not cause harm to fish resources, which would require an improvement of the regulatory framework.

Recommendations

Support to the fisheries sector should be subject to the achievement of the objectives of the CFP and to the fulfilment of reporting requirements by Member States. Thus, non-compliance with the CFP rules should have an effect on the availability of funds.

More efforts on the fostering transparency are needed to assess the extent to which the subsidy helps to achieve the objectives of the CFP.

Potentially good subsidies shall be fostered, such as participation in the monitoring and control regime of fisheries; scientific research for stock assessments; reduction of impacts on marine habitats and ecosystems; research and training in the use of environmentally friendly fishing techniques or aquaculture activities; and retraining fishermen for alternative employment opportunities.

Potentially harmful subsidies shall be phased out, such as contributions to operating costs, processing activities or price support; aid for individual fishing operations and vessel modification; and payments for fishing access in third country waters.

the Fish Site Editor

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