Committees make opposite decisions on fleet modernisation subsidies

This week the committees on Employment and Regional Development voted on the future fisheries fund – and adopted opposite opinions on money for modernisation and new vessels.

On Wednesday the Regional Development Committee adopted its opinion on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The members of this committee supported amendments that allow for building new boats, vessel modernisation and subsidies for new engines.

The argument, from MEPs such as Alain Cadec (France, EPP), is that the EU’s fishing fleet is growing old and should get public funding to modernise in order to improve onboard safety and reduce harmful emissions. Environmental NGOs, on the other hand, argue that modernisation measures underpin fleet overcapacity and would increase pressure on already overfished stocks.

“The Regional Development Committee vote blatantly ignores the calls to eliminate environmentally harmful subsidies made both by fishermen and by European bodies such as the European Commission and Court of Auditors,” said Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana Europe after the vote.

The same day, the Employment and Social Affairs Committee adopted a quite different opinion on the EMFF, in which there were no provisions for fleet renewal or engine replacement.

The Environment Committee was scheduled to vote on their opinion on the EMFF this week, but decided to postpone the vote until 28 November.

The Fisheries Committee, who will have the final say before the plenary vote, is scheduled to vote on the EMFF 19 February 2013.

Axel Naver

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