MEPs clash on fisheries fund

Alain Cadec, rapporteur for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) presented his working document in the Fisheries Committee Wednesday.

“I do not want the EMFF to be an instrument for helping fishermen leave the fishing sector,” Alain Cadec (EPP) told members of the Fisheries Committee. He therefore opposes the Commission’s proposal for the EMFF, which he said is directed towards retraining fishermen outside the fishing sector.

Alain Cadec questioned the notion of overcapacity in the EU fishing fleet and that there was a need to reduce fleet capacity.

Instead, he wants to set aside funds for modernising vessels: improve working conditions, safety, restrict energy consumption, restrict pollution and promote more selective gear. Owners of old vessels should be able to get scrapping subsidies if they then invest in a new vessel that meets environmental and safety standards, Alain Cadec said.

Isabella Lövin (Greens/EFA) said that Cadec’s proposal is focused at today’s situation, where subsidies are needed to keep an ailing fishing industry alive. Instead, Lövin said, the EU should look to the USA where fishing is becoming more profitable as fish stocks are recovering. “I’m an optimist and the goal should be that fishermen can make money on their own,” Lövin said.

Chris Davies (ALDE) said, “Cadec is in the wrong political group. He should really be in GUE, because he wants to throw money at everybody.” Chris Davies noted that Alain Cadec wants subsidies for scrapping, fuel and all existing port infrastructure and asked, “Where will this money come from? Where will you cut in the Commission’s proposal?”

Alain Cadec is expected to present his draft report in September, and the vote in Fisheries Committee is expected in November.

Related documents
Download the Working document on the EMFF by Alain Cadec.

Wednesday morning, the Fisheries Committee also organised a hearing on the EMFF. The speakers’ presentations can be downloaded here.

Axel Naver

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