Brussels – As part of a wide-ranging reform of EU laws regulating the fishing sector, the European Parliament's fisheries committee has voted today on a plan to review rules on subsidies for fishing. It endorsed a use of taxpayers’ money which will result in continued overfishing, in particular by allowing the modernisation of vessels and the construction of small-scale boats, provided they replace vessels that are older than 35-years-old and meet other conditions.
Commenting on the outcome of the vote, Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director Saskia Richartz said: "Public subsidies are hard to come-by in the midst of an economic slump and this decision will not benefit the public, the economic prospects of the fishing sector, or the recovery of our seas. When fishing grounds are depleted, fishermen use subsidies to cover their losses. But using taxpayers’ money for bigger nets or more powerful vessels will continue to fuel overfishing and leave fishermen trapped in a vicious circle.”
Industrial fishing vessels currently receive the lion’s share of subsidies, even though they cause the worst damage to marine ecosystems and contribute little to local fishing communities. In most cases, the main concern of small-scale fishermen is their lack of access to fishing quotas and not the provision of subsidies .
The vote on subsidies follows an agreement between the European Parliament, the European Commission and EU governments to fundamentally reform EU fishing rules and end overfishing within five to ten years . The Parliament is due to vote on the reform of the subsidy regime in a plenary session in the autumn. Final negotiations with EU governments will follow. The outcome of negotiations on subsidies will greatly impact the EU’s ability to achieve fisheries reform.
Earlier this week, dozens of prominent scientists signed a joint letter calling on MEPs to stop funding overfishing with taxpayers’ money .
The vote today coincides with a High Court ruling in the United Kingdom that cleared the way for major shake-up of the fishing quota system in favour of small-scale fishermen.
 The vote in the Parliament today coincides with a High Court ruling in the United Kingdom that cleared the way for a major shake-up of the fishing quota system in favour of small-scale fishermen. http://www.greenpeace.co.uk/.
Saskia Richartz – Greenpeace EU fisheries policy director: +32 (0)495 290028,
Mark Breddy – Greenpeace EU communications: +32 (0)496 156229,
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Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.