Using EU subsidies for environmentally friendly practices2

Thirty years of management under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) framework has resulted in serious depletion of fish stocks and ecosystem degradation. EU fleet overcapacity has been recognized as one of the key drivers of overfishing, largely fuelled by perverse subsidies. In fact only a few EU fleets are profitable without public aid, and most of Europe’s fishing fleets are either running at a loss or returning low profits.  This is unacceptable when the target of this aid – our shared fish stocks – is essentially a public good.

The new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) should contribute to placing the EU fisheries sector on a more sustainable footing, for example by supporting the protection of marine ecosystems, provision of environmental data collection, and control and enforcement. Birdlife Europe works to ensure that public aid does not contribute to overfishing but rather is used exclusively for supporting public goods and services and the transition towards environmentally sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

The operational programmes of the EMFF, agreed between the European Commission and the Member States, decide how the EU taxpayer’s money will actually be spent. Birdlife Europe and Birdlife Partners are actively engaging in national operational programming.