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EU Parliament Votes ‘No’ On Subsidies For New Tuna Boats

The European Parliament has rejected the reintroduction of subsidies for tuna vessel construction and set clear limits on the amounts of public funding member states can spend on tuna fishing fleets as part of the 2014-2020 European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

The conclusion of this week’s vote in Parliament has been welcomed by the European Commission as a crucial step to promoting a sustainable future for the fishing industry and coastal communities.

Training for young fishermen on sustainable fishing practices and the doubling of investment into data collection, control and regulation enforcement were also conclusions from the Parliament vote. The decisions focus on the battle against IUU fishing that plagues the tuna fishing industry.

European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: “I am very pleased with the overall outcome of the vote. In particular, I welcome the decision to reject spending EU taxpayers’ money on building new fishing vessels and to cap the amount of funds member states can spend on fishing fleets. This will allow the EMFF to focus on funding projects which promote a sustainable future for the fishing industry and coastal communities.”

The World Wildlife Fund has also supported the decision. Tony Long, Director of WWF European Policy Office, said: “Today’s decision gives fish stocks a real fighting chance. Funding for fleet renewal ended in 2002 and a reintroduction of these subsidies would have dangerously increased the capacity of the fleet, given boats a longer range and resulted in the destruction of the few remaining healthy fish stocks.”

“Importantly, MEPs also decided to invest in data collection, control and enforcement of fisheries, by increasing the budget available. This will give authorities the ability to really fight against illegal fishing in European waters which accounts for up to 40 percent of landings and allows us to gain an accurate insight to the recovery rate of the most vulnerable stocks.”