Ocean Inquirer issue 4

Slipping the Net – Overfishing in Italy

Publication - September 28, 2012
In this issue 4th issue of Ocean Inquirer, Greenpeace exposes how a ruthless rush for sardines and anchovies has been driving their depletion.

Also available in Italian and German.

The Common Fisheries Policy was supposed to help create a more sustainable European fishing sector and protects diminishing fish stocks. Greenpeace took a closer look at a perfect example of how the policy is thwarted by governments and why an ambitious reform is vital.

Italy is the third largest recipient of EU fisheries subsidies. It is one of the EU’s largest fishing nations, with anchovy and sardines making up most of the catch. At the same time, Italy is known for its reluctance to implement the fishing rules of the EU.

Greenpeace investigated the ports of Chioggia and Pila di Porto Tolle, home of the Mediterranean's largest anchovy and sardine fleets and benefactor of hundreds of millions in public subsidies to help create a 'sustainable' oily fish sector. In reality, over the last decades this sector has become more and more unsustainable as the Italian government has actively supported an increase in the pair trawling fleet fishing for sardines and anchovies despite warnings from experts about a decline of the sardine and anchovies populations and despite the fact that this increase in capacity ignores the prevailing policies of the EU.

Using data from the EU fleet register, Greenpeace discovered how the number of licenses issued for pair trawling in Chioggia and Pila di Porto Tolle increased by 70 percent and the combined gross tonnage of vessels with pair trawling license increased by almost 130 percent between 1995 and 2012. 

The example clearly shows how one of the largest fishing nations in Europe looks the other way instead of acting responsibly and in line with the intentions of the CFP. Italy is not alone. An ambitious CFP reform that secures reduced fishing pressure by decommissioning excessive fleet capacity is vital.

Greenpeace submitted its findings to the European Commission.

Ocean Inquirer 4