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Joan Edwards

Joan Edwards is the Head of Living Seas at The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts.

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European Maritime and Fisheries Fund- a step backwards?

Posted: Friday 14th June 2013 by LivingSeas

Unfortunately it feels like one step forward and two large steps back when it comes to reforming the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Back in February, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to reverse thirty years of failed EU fisheries management in favour of an ambitious reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. We were ecstatic. This was a huge step forwards - at last we were putting an end to over-fishing.

However, recently MEPs on the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee have been discussing the future of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The EMFF provides funding to the fishing industry and coastal communities to help them adapt to changing conditions in the sector and become economically resilient and ecologically sustainable. A truly sustainable CFP needs an EMFF that supports the end of overfishing and the rebuilding of fish stocks - one without harmful subsidies. That is why we are concerned that the Fisheries Committee are considering the reintroduction of public subsidy to build new fishing vessels and engines. This type of subsidy has been shown to contribute to overfishing and was phased out by the 2002 CFP reform- you can read more about this here.

Its common sense that public subsidy should help move to a sustainable fishing sector. Enhanced control and enforcement measures, improving data collection and developing less damaging and more selective fishing gear to reduce discards and the environmental impact of the fishing activity.

Let’s hope MEPs on the Fisheries Committee see sense before they vote on 10 July. You can help by writing to your MEP (find them here).

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