Europe and Central Asia
23 Sep 2020

Ending “temporary cessation” for good – How an EU subsidy is driving overfishing

© Arthur Goldstein/ Unsplash
By Bruna Campos

This report explores and demonstrates, how EU payments for “temporary cessation” of fishing are not only an ineffective management tool for reducing fishing effort, but also ineffective in supporting marine conservation efforts. Instead, as detailed below, cessation payments maintain fishing overcapacity, which in turn drives overfishing. Other factors, such as setting fishing limits in line with scientific advice, would likely be substantially more relevant to reducing fishing effort, and hence have a larger impact on recovery of fish populations. Temporary cessation subsidies are, rather than a conservation management tool, an economic measure that uses public money to support the private business of a fisher, or fishing company.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Temporary cessation subsidies should be removed from the EMFF 2021-2027 as they are an inefficient conservation tool and don’t effectively tackle fishing overcapacity. Fishers should be provided with schemes that allow them to diversify their economic activity, or even completely change activity.
  • Member States and Commission must ensure that fisheries subsidies respect EU financial principles, including the principle of transparency, in order to facilitate the access of all EU citizens to information about how EU funds are being granted, as set out in the Common Provisions Regulation1. With regard to the EMFF, details provided on payments that have been granted should be linked to specific conservation objectives, such as information on which fish populations are benefiting from the measures. Likewise, the impact of EMFF spending should be evaluated, documented and made publicly available, including on the reduction of fishing effort and recovery of fish populations and the benefit to the wider ecosystem.
  • All data related to EMFF spending should be standardised among Member States to control the granting of funds at national level, as well as to facilitate the monitoring of the effectiveness of spending at EU level by the European Commission.

Read the report :  Ending “Temporary Cessation” for Good – How an EU Subsidy is Driving Overfishing


Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.