Oceana: EU Funds Financed Bluefin Overfishing

Environmental group Oceana is claiming that more than $25 million (16 million) in European Union funds used for building the Spanish, French and Italian commercial fishing fleets is contributing to the overfishing of Mediterranean bluefin tuna.

The group states that more than $2 million (1.3 million) in public funding was used to subsidize the construction and repair of Spanish purse seiners, and more than $12 million (8 million) in the modernization of Italian purse seiners. In addition, 36 French purse seiners have received almost $10 million (6 million), amplified by the boats transferred to Libya, where the lack of control measures favor illegal fishing.

"The overexploitation of the bluefin tuna has been promoted and financed by European taxpayers and continues through the subsidizing of operating costs, such as fuel," said Xavier Pastor, director of Oceana in Europe, in a press release. "This is one of the clearest examples of how the subsidy system has lead to the decline of fisheries resources and the overcapacity of the EU fleet."

The group also states that its scientific recommendations are being ignored by the government while excessive quotas are established, and the fleets continue to fish in spawning grounds. Oceana also claims that undersized tuna are still being caught, that illegal vessels catch and land bluefin tuna in unauthorized ports and that the fleets continue to ignore the assigned quotas and do not declare the catches.


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