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EU: European Parliament votes against fishing fleet renewal
Thursday, 07 November 2013 00:00

During discussions on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) held in October, the European Parliament voted against the reintroduction of subsidies for building new fishing vessels. The proposed EMFF will be worth more than EUR 6.5 billion, between 2014 and 2020. Members agreed draft rules for the allocation of the EMFF, which should help fishermen comply with requirements of the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). To help fishermen comply with the discard ban, the EMFF will fund fishing gear and equipment that offer more selectivity to deal with unwanted catches.

Parliament also voted to double investment in data collection. Making more information available will lead to better understanding and management of fish stocks and help fishery authorities fight illegal fishing. The plenary rejected the fishery committee’s proposal to subsidise the construction of new vessels. This measure had been the subject of intensive campaigning by NGOs and citizens ahead of the vote. However, Members voted to support the modernisation or replacement of engines, if the new engine’s power output is at least 40 per cent lower than that of the engine it replaces.

It is hoped that the decisions will provide concrete measures to eliminate overfishing and improve the management of fleet capacity, while allowing fishermen to earn a living. The decisions should promote fish-stock recovery that would otherwise be threatened by a larger fleet with longer ranges. Parliament also included a package, put forward by the S&D and Green groups, to subsidise traineeship and education for fishermen under 35 years of age in the small-scale fishery sector. Negotiations on the EMFF are scheduled to be finished before the end of the year.