Our recommendations for a crucial vote on subsidies

Before the vote scheduled on 4 April 2019 at the European Parliament on the 2021-2017 European Maritime and Fisheries Funds (EMFF), BLOOM called on the Members of the Parliament to follow key recommendations, which aimed to protect marine ecosystems and to eliminate the harmful subsidies that fuel overcapacity and overfishing, as mandated by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. These recommendations are listed below.

Allocate at least 25% of the Fund to the protection and knowledge of marine ecosystems

Despite the ambitious objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), 69% of the European fish stocks are still overfished.[1] Moreover, scientists raised the alarm on the status of European marine protected areas: average trawling intensity across them is at least 1.4 times higher than in unprotected areas.[2] The next EMFF should support the protection, restoration, and knowledge of marine biodiversity and ecosystems by ring-fencing at least 25% of the budget to these activities. Give the European Union the means to achieve its objectives.

> Support amendments (AMs) 283, 291 and 315
> Reject AMs 108 and 178

Set aside at least 25% of this fund for the control and monitoring of fisheries, as well as for data collection

The Commission and PECH Committee both proposed to allocate only 15% of the budget to monitoring and control of fishing activities, and data collection. This amount is insufficient to guarantee an effective and robust control system. In order to ensure compliance with CFP rules, vote for an increase to 25% of the budget.Support AMs 282 and 314.

> Reject amendments that would weaken the definition of small-scale coastal fisheries

Reject subjective criteria in the definition of ‘small-scale coastal fishing’ as they will lead to a lack of a level playing field throughout the EU.

> Reject AM 80

Reject aid for the construction and modernization of fishing vessels, including in the outermost regions (overseas)

Eliminate the most harmful subsidies, those that increase fishing capacity: construction of new fishing vessels and ports, and engine replacement. These subsidies are internationally recognized as harmful, because they create overcapacity and are responsible for overfishing.

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Goal 14.6, which demands “the prohibition of certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies” by 2020.

At the international level, the EU plays an important role in the ongoing negotiations at the World Trade Organization, which aim to reach a multilateral agreement on the prohibition of harmful fisheries subsidies. The European Parliament cannot adopt measures that would go against the EU’s international commitments and objectives.

> Support 1st part of AM 127 (until ‘vessel’) and reject 2nd part
> Support 1st part of AMs 285 (until ‘qualification’) and reject 2nd part
> Support AM 281
> Reject AMs 104, 120, 123, 126, 135, 137, 221, 287, 295, 298, 304, 308, 310, 312, 318, 319 and 322

Support ambitious measures to establish real traceability of European fisheries subsidies

Any citizen should be able to know how European subsidies are used. This is the only way to restore their confidence in EU institutions, but also to improve our socio-economic knowledge and decision-making. Vote for an increased transparency on how the EMFF is used by Member States.

> Support AMs 302 and 303

Ensure strict conditions for permanent and extraordinary cessation of fishing activities

Do not weaken the conditions to claim funds for extraordinary cessation of fishing activities. This type of aid prevents much needed structural changes to end overfishing. In some cases, these subsidies have artificially maintained excessive fishing capacity and associated environmentally and economically damaging effects. Other social schemes are available to support loss of income incurred during fisheries closures, which are sometimes needed to rebuild stocks.

> Reject AMs 150,152, 155-159, 305, 306, 313 and 320.

Do not weaken the conditions to claim funds for permanent cessation of fishing activities. While the intended purpose of these subsidies is to remove fishing vessels from the system, evidence suggests that, paradoxically, they may contribute to increased fishing capacity by re-injecting money into businesses. That is why the co-legislators have phased out these harmful subsidies in the current 2014-2020 EMFF. It is therefore crucial that certain conditions are respected and not weakened, that appropriate control mechanisms exist before allocating any aid, and that evidence is provided to show that fishing capacity will indeed be reduced.

> Support AM 286.
> Reject AMs 141, 142, and 144-147

Notes and references

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