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Inför Europaparlamentets röstning om fiskesubventionerna nästa vecka, vill vi uppmärksamma dig om artikeln "Dead ahead, a plague of zombie trawlers sucking life from the sea", skriven av Charles Clover, The Sunday Times.

I slutet av maj kom Parlamentet och EU's medlemsländer äntligen överens om de viktigaste frågorna i reformeringen av EU:s gemensamma fiskeripolitik (CFP). Men en sista mycket central reglering återstår. Nästa vecka, den 10 juli, röstar Europarlamentet om hur fiskesubventionerna ska fördelas. För stunden ser det inte bra ut. Parlamentet föreslår generösa subventioner, bland annat till inköp av nya båtar, modernisering av gamla båtar och nystartsbidrag för unga fiskare. Detta kommer att leda till en allt för stor fiskeflotta med låg lönsamhet och stor risk för överfiske. Den bifogade artikeln här nedan, skriven av journalisten Charles Clover, beskriver detta på ett utmärkt sätt.

Källa: The Sunday Times (20130630)

Dead ahead, a plague of zombie trawlers sucking life from the sea

By Charles Clover

I am back from a holiday in a caravan on the Ayrshire coast with amazing views out to the great volcanic plug Ailsa Craig, which rises straight from the sea and is home to a colony of gannets. The sun set to the northwest, over the Isle of Arran and its craggy ridge, known as the Sleeping Warrior. What I also noticed was the disturbing number of trawlers in sight at any one time, generally four or five. These were mostly prawn trawlers, scraping the Firth of Clyde's muddy bottom for langoustines and discarding what few fish they caught, to the delight of the gulls.

The area of sea within the bounds of the Mull of Kintyre and the Ayrshire coast is known to be one of the most overfished parts of British waters. What small cod and haddock are left are caught and discarded as by-catch in the prawn trawls, and there is some indication that the prawns themselves are now overfished. There are just too many boats fishing an area of sea that on a clear day you can see across with the naked eye. I found myself wondering what the latest fish reforms recently concluded in Brussels will do about it.

As I studied the official text, just released, I began to be more optimistic for Europe's drastically overexploited wild stocks of fish. What has been achieved over the past couple of years by Maria Damanaki, the European commissioner, a former Greek revolutionary who was imprisoned when young by the colonels, is a genuine popular reform achieved in the teeth of opposition from vested interests. The legally binding objective it sets to rebuild fish stocks by 2020 could in theory increase Europe's stocks by 15m tons. There remains, though, at least one worrying thing to be resolved.

First, the good news. For the past 30 years fishermen have been supposed not to land fish they catch that are above their quota. They have discarded perfectly edible fish, as well as those with no commercial value, in order to go on fishing for species they have still had quota for. The disgraceful discards policy is calculated as having led to 1.7m tons of fish being removed from the breeding population each year. The new policy reverses this. In 2015 fishermen will come under a legal obligation to land 95% of the fish they catch. To avoid wasting their quota they will have to use selective trawls and move ground if they are catching juveniles or the wrong species. This will be tough to police but Norway has managed it for years.

The reforms do other sensible things, such as reduce micromanagement from Brussels by devolving day-to-day decisions about conservation measures to areas such as the North Sea. Only Britain and Sweden wanted this, so it is a credit to Richard Benyon, our urbane fisheries minister, that it got through. Countries allocating quota are encouraged to prioritise smaller, less damaging vessels. Member states must reduce the size of their fleets — currently thought to contain two or three times the number of vessels needed to catch the fish available. This is where the problem arises.

Just as Europe is about to take two steps forward on managing its fisheries, it seemingly cannot resist taking one huge step back. Next month the fisheries committee of the European parliament is due to sign off a €6.5bn (£5.5bn) subsidies regime, part of which will go to fishermen for the building of new vessels and the modernisation of old ones. Aid for building vessels was phased out as long ago as 2002.

The subsidies are dressed up as safety measures, more fuel-efficient engines and "start-up support for young fishermen" — up to €100,000 each, no less. But nobody is fooled. This is a piece of discredited, Jacques Delors-era state socialism brought to you by Alain Cadec, the rapporteur of the fisheries fund negotiations, French subsidies addict and MEP for Brittany. It may well succeed because the besetting sin of MEPs, who have no responsibility for balancing the European Union budget, is to bribe their constituents to vote for them with taxpayers' money.

It has long been demonstrated that subsidising the building of fishing vessels does fisheries no good. It just creates richer fishermen. It has been slammed as self-defeating by the European court of auditors and is against all sorts of commitments made by the EU.

This zombie policy lives on because Cadec, a conservative, has teamed up with Guido Milana, an Italian socialist, thereby swinging the support of Europe's two largest political groupings behind it. If they get their way, the €1.6bn made available could mean about 20,000 new vessels joining the fleet over seven years. Utterly mad.

Britain, where Benyon promises to oppose the measure with vigour, refuses to contribute the 50% match-funding needed for UK vessels to get the money. So it will go to French, Spanish and Portuguese vessels, some of which fish in our waters. Is that fair? Why not spend more of the money on helping fishermen to fish more selectively so there are more fish? That's the best thing that could happen for young fishermen.

The only hope now is to shame enough members of the EU fisheries committee into voting against the measure that it goes before a full session of the European parliament, which voted creditably and overwhelmingly for the reform of fisheries regulations. The danger is that this brainchild of a small dinosaur contingent will slip through on the nod, which would mean another decade of too many vessels scraping the sea bed for too few fish.