Harmful fisheries subsidies can have a devastating impact on the marine environment, yet they remain a key issue in negotiations in the next European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) 2021-2027. This issue is likely to generate much debate in the next and final negotiations between the Parliament and Council of the European Union, who support these harmful subsidies, and the European Commission, who is determined to exclude them.   

The Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament decided not to review its position after the European elections, promising that the trilogue would allow MEPs to improve the text. Now the time has come for them to prove their word and commitment to EU citizens.

Several Member States – Spain, Greece, Portugal, Poland, France, Italy - are actively advocating for the reintroduction of harmful fisheries subsidies. However, some countries are equally strongly opposed to any such reintroduction. Seas At Risk calls on these Member States to hold firm on their position and prevent the European Union from reintroducing harmful subsidies.

Harmful fisheries subsidies are a key point for discussion and seem likely to be included, as only the European Commission appears determined to exclude these subsidies that may have a devastating impact on the marine environment. Seas at Risks applauds the strong stance adopted by the European Commission, as done by Sinkevičius, Commissioner of Environment, Oceans and Fisheries via Twitter.

Seas At Risk calls on the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to do everything in their power to avoid this major backwards step. Worldwide, scientists and international organisations (e.g. World BankOrganisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)) acknowledge that certain subsidies fuel overcapacity of the fishing fleet and exacerbate overfishing. For instance, harmful subsidies targeting the construction of fishing vessels have been banned in the EU since 2004.

The European Union succeeded in eliminating almost all harmful subsidies from EMFF 2014-2020. Reintroducing harmful fisheries subsidies for the forthcoming period would represent a dramatic step backwards, with consequences far beyond EU waters. In fact, such subsidies are currently being eliminated at global level in ongoing negotiations at the World Trade Organization. The EU and its Member States have committed to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies by 2020 under the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Goal 14.6.

Share This

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required