Fishery: EU's new law on fisheries subsidies

Author: BalticSea2020
Year published: 2014

On 28 January 2014, the EU Parliament and the EU member states agreed on how the fisheries subsidies (European Marine and Fisheries Fund, EMFF) will be distributed under the new Common Fisheries Policy. This was the last part of the reform of the EU's Common Fisheries policy and what now remains is the approval from the European parliament and the Council of Ministers.

Some key elements of the current agreement are:

  • No subsidies for the construction of fishing boats
  • Subsidies may be paid to swap engines but only for vessels under 24 meters. For vessels of 18 to 24m the capacity need to be reduced by 30%. For vessels 12 to 18 meters the capacity shall be reduced by 20%.
  • The number of subsidies that can go to the data acquisition and control is significantly improved
  • Subsidies for storage are phased out until 2018
  • Subsidies for scrapping are phased out by 2017
  • There will still be opportunities to tie-up contributions for up to 6 months when the third- country agreements is up
  • The proportion of funds that can go to the direct subsidies (according to above) is limited to 15% of the country's EMFF funds

The work of BalticSea2020 has been aiming at phasing out the direct subsidies to the fishing industry, and that aid only should be given to the parts that support management and help the fishing industry at large to become more sustainable. This is because direct subsidies leads to an over-capacity in such number of boats which ultimately means a lower profitability for the industry. Over-capacity can also lead to political pressure to decide on big fishing quotas.

Click here and read a summery by Pavel Saltz, who has analyzed the fishing subsidies (from December 2009). Click here to read the full report.

BalticSea2020 has co-operate with Fish For the Future, a cross-party group of MEPs in the European Parliament. They want to use the subsidies to support all fishermen, e.g. by improving the management, to support transition to a more selective fishing, and to support the fishing communities by adding more value to fishing and divide their activities in different maritime sectors. Fish For the Future does not want to use the subsidies to build new vessels or other measures that increase the fishing capacity. Fish For the Future has also developed different brochures on how the subsidies have been used and why this need to change. (Download the brochures below).

Click here to download a the beginners' guide on the subsidies in PDF suitable for printing
Click here to download a summery of best parts
Click here to download a summery on good and bad subsidies

Rich European Fishermen
BalticSea2020 helped to start another facebook page; Rich European Fishermen, to demonstrate which vessels gets the largest share of subsidies. Click here.

age of boats recto small

Click on image and read our post card on fishing subsidies. The postcard is available in different languages​​: English, French, Spanish and German. For more information, click here.

Charles Clover on the EU's fisheries subsidies and its negative impact on fisheries
Ahead of the European Parliament voting on the fisheries subsidies next week, Charles Clover (journalist) wrote the article "Dead ahead, a plague of zombie trawlers sucking life from the sea", in The Sunday Times. Read the article here.