Study: Fisheries subsidies are destructive


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
March 30, 2010

A study released on Wednesday by the Pew Environment Group and Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd. found that European Union fisheries subsidies are failing to reduce fleet overcapacity and exerting fishing pressure on stocks at two to three times sustainable levels.

The study evaluated 10 EU member states — Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom — representing 93 percent of the EUR 4.9 billion (USD 6.6 billion) in fisheries subsidies allocated between 2000 and 2006.

According to the study, nearly 3,000 new vessels were constructed and nearly 8,000 were modernized with the subsidies, and vessels over 24 meters received significantly more subsidies for modernization and construction than for scrapping, while the opposite was true with vessels under 12 meters.

The subsidies enable overfishing of several European fish stocks, including southern hake, monkfish and sharks, according to the Pew Environment Group and Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management.

“Transparency has been removed with the new funding instrument. The public has a right to know what they have funded,” said Markus Knigge, policy and research director at the Pew Environment Group. “Fish stocks are a public resource that the European Commission and member states are responsible for managing sustainably on our behalf. Instead public monies have funded overfishing, with devastating effects on the marine environment and fisheries dependent communities.”

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