Commercials must do more with less

struanAccording to Struan Stevenson, Senior VP of the EU Fisheries Committee, helping fishermen to do more with less must be the key objective of the EU in respect of the future financing of the fisheries sector under the newly proposed European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

He went on to say: “There are three key dimensions to the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP): Stock sustainability, developing coastal communities and helping producers to move up the value chain are the key issues. But with a squeeze on budgets and the need to achieve a sustainable EU fishery, we will have to learn how to do more with less.

“Currently, three quarters of EU stocks are overfished, 30% of the sector is loss-making and 10% of fishermen actually have a negative cash flow. I am totally opposed to any moves towards using public funds for modernising the EU fleet and propping up these unprofitable sectors with subsidy. Some MEPs are also arguing that taxpayers’ money should be used to modernise engines to make them more fuel-efficient and to reduce carbon emissions. I am against this too. We have excess capacity in the EU fleet right now and if a fishing vessel cannot operate profitably it should leave the business. Subsidising modernisation of fishing vessels and engine upgrading will not cut overcapacity but simply encourage over-exploitation of fish stocks.

“The only area I can see being eligible for public funding would be improvements for crew safety or for on-board hygiene for fish processing.

“The EMFF will be extremely limited, amounting to only around £5 billion for seven years to 2020 for all EU fisheries. We must target these funds efficiently, towards by-catch avoidance to end the discards problem, to scientific research, to protecting biodiversity, to storage-aid and to support for the aquaculture sector”.

Category: EU Government News

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