Thursday, October 25, 2012

EU keeps fishing subsidies, attacked by environmentalists

Terra Daily via AFP: The EU agreed on Wednesday to maintain controversial fishing subsidies, sparking a sharp response from environmental groups who say the payments encourage overfishing of already stressed stocks. At the same, the European Commission announced an accord on fishing quotas, cutting them on 47 species it said were over-fished, with increases for 16.

After tough, drawn-out talks which went into the night, a draft statement said that ministers would keep subsidies for modernising fishing fleets through to 2017 as part of a wider policy to put the industry on a sustainable basis. The subsidies pay for modernising existing vessels or taking older boats out of the fleet and are jealously guarded by the main fishing powers -- France, Portugal and especially Spain.

Critics, however, say this only increases fishing capacity at a time when the focus should be on reducing the catch so as to allow stocks to recover. In June, the EU agreed a series of reforms, chief among them proposals to set so-called Maximum Sustainable Yields (MSY) -- the maximum amount of fish that can be caught without compromising a stock's ability to reproduce.

Scientists say, for example, that 80 percent of Mediterranean stocks are overfished although the situation has improved in Atlantic waters....

A fishing boat in the harbor at Naples, shot by Cannedcat, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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