16 September 2019
Fisheries subsidies: NGO reaction to the designation of the European Commissioner for Environment and Oceans
16 September 2019
The coalition of environmental NGOs working on European fisheries subsidies, of which BLOOM is a member, reacted publicly today, Monday 16 September, to the designation of the new European Commissioner for Environment and Oceans, the Lithuanian Virginijus Sinkevičius. This designation was accompanied by a mission letter that we welcomed.
This mission letter includes the clear goal to “ensure the delivery of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals” and the explicit mission to “work with the Commissioner for Trade to ensure that Europe leads discussions in the World Trade Organisation on finding a global agreement to ban fisheries subsidies that contribute to overfishing, illegal fishing and overcapacity“.
In view of these elements, we are confident that Commissioner-designate Virginijus Sinkevičius will take strong and robust action to make sure that no harmful fisheries subsidies are allowed in the European Union (EU). We are indeed extremely worried about the current negotiations on the future EU policy on fisheries subsidies, i.e. the future European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). This fund will determine the allocation of more than 6 billion euros of public subsidies to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors and to the protection of the marine environment for the period 2021-2027. Last April, the former European Parliament agreed on a position introducing and maintaining harmful subsidies at EU level. The Council adopted in June a partial general approach that goes even further. Both institutions wish to introduce, among other things, disguised subsidies for the construction of fishing vessels, which were banned 15 years ago in the EU. If the EMFF is adopted on this basis, this will dramatically increase the overcapacity of the EU fleet and overfishing in EU waters and beyond.