Fish stock recovery given a fighting chance by European parliament
Strasbourg, France: On Oct. 23, the European parliament plenary voted on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and decided against the reintroduction of subsidies for the building of new boats. Parliamentarians also included a package on jobs for young fishermen and training for sustainable fishing practices that is essential for fishing communities.
The vote also resulted in a doubling of investment in data collection, control and regulation enforcement. This means that fisheries authorities have a real chance of winning the fight against illegal fishing. More funding for data collection will give experts a complete picture of fish stocks and allow them to advise which stocks need more time to recover and which can be safely exploited.
WWF applauds this decision as it will give decimated fish stocks a real chance of recovery. We are however concerned with the continuation of funds for engine replacement which will give small vessels, of under 12 metre, the capacity to stay out at sea longer and increase their operational range.
Quote from Tony Long, Director, WWF European Policy Office:
“Today’s decision gives European fish stocks a real fighting chance. Funding for fleet renewal ended in 2002 and a reintroduction of these subsidies would have dangerously increased the capacity of the fleet, given boats a longer range and resulted in the destruction of the few remaining healthy fish stocks.”
“Today we have dodged a bullet as the proposal on the table would have made fish stock recovery measures agreed in the summer pointless.”
“This is good news for conservation of fish stocks and fishing communities who can look to a more secure future. Importantly, MEPs also decided to invest in data collection, control and enforcement of fisheries, by increasing the budget available. This will give authorities the ability to really fight against illegal fishing in European waters which accounts for up to 40 per cent of landings* and allows us to gain an accurate insight into the recovery rate of the most vulnerable stocks.”
*For figures on illegal landings please go to the New Economics Foundation Report, Unknown Waters 2013 http://s.bsd.net/nefoundation/default/page/-/publications/EMFF2_Briefing_ENGLISH.pdf