Press release: European Parliament approves budget to continue destruction of nature at sea
Today the European Parliament gave its final consent to the next European Fund for Sea Fisheries and Aquaculture (FEMAF). EMFAF decides how a total of 6.1 billion euros is spent on activities at sea between 2021 and 2027. These funds can be used for all activities related to the ocean, building the capacity of fishing vessels to research and protect nature at sea. Countless studies and reports show that the vast majority of previous funds have been used to encourage overfishing and fuel the sea. disappearance of nature at sea . And it looks like the new EMFAF will continue on the same path.
“Harmful subsidies “, account for over 60% of global fisheries subsidies, or around 20 billion euros each year . They include any subsidy that reduces the operational costs of the fishing industry, such as building new vessels, financing engine replacement or increasing the efficiency of fishing gear. Certain subsidies are also given to fishing enterprises and vessels which engage in harmful practices such as destroying marine life, may involve slave labor, or which catch large proportions of fish not intended for sale or species other than turtles.
TThe new FEMAF will not only continue to provide harmful subsidies, except for the explicit construction of new fishing vessels, it also weakens the conditions for granting harmful fishing subsidies.
This FEMAF is now going directly against the WTO commitments calling for the elimination of all subsidies harmful to fisheries. It also runs counter to the EU’s goal of a more sustainable and low-impact fishing industry and leveling the playing field for the small-scale fishing fleet.
EU countries must now submit plans on how they will spend their share of the EMFF, and the Commission has to give their approval. BirdLife calls on the Commission to under no circumstances approve national plans that do not propose effective measures to reduce the impact of fishing on biodiversity, and that the Commission will not hesitate to sanction Member States that use the funds of the EU to finance overfishing.
Anouk Puymartin, EU Marine Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe:
In the past days when the world watched with horror our oceans catch fire. With the new FEMAF, the EU is literally adding fuel to the ecocide happening in our seas. Europeans already know that our oceans are degrading and they are taking more action every day to save marine life. For these citizens, seeing elected politicians vote to use their tax dollars to continue killing our oceans is a direct slap in the face. This vote shows that Members of the European Parliament are more interested in fighting on behalf of the fishing industry, rather than listening to the people who elected them.
Notes for Editors:
 Selected studies and reports on FEMAF encouraging and financing overfishing:
For more information please contact:
Anouk Puymartin, EU Marine Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe
+32 491 18 51 09
Honey Kohan, Communications Manager, BirdLife Europe
+32 483 55 95 43
BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is a partnership of 43 national conservation organizations organizations and a leader in bird conservation. Our unique local to global approach allows us to deliver high impact and long-term conservation for the benefit of nature and people. BirdLife Europe and Central Asia is one of the six regional secretariats that make up BirdLife International. Based in Brussels, it supports the European and Central Asian partnership and is present in 43 countries, including all EU Member States. With more than 4,100 employees in Europe, two million members and tens of thousands of trained volunteers, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, with its national partners, owns or manages more than 6,000 natural sites totaling 320,000 hectares.