Press Release

Pew and EU Transparency Launch Fishsubsidy.org

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The Pew Environment Group and EU Transparency today launched fishsubsidy.org, a Web site which presents detailed data of the European fisheries subsidies paid between 1994 and 2006.

Using data secured from the European Commission by the Pew Environment Group, EU Transparency has built fishsubsidy.org, which collates data into an accessible and searchable format.

For the first time, fishsubsidy.org allows decision makers and the public to see in detail how and where EU fishing subsidies have been spent. For example, the site shows that:

  • Between 1994 and 2006 the Bluefin Tuna Purse Seiner Fleet in the Mediterranean received more than €17 million of European fisheries subsidies for modernisation and construction;
  • Vessels have received subsidies for modernisation after also receiving a payment for scrapping; and
  • Spain received 48 percent of all the fisheries subsidies between 1994 and 2006.

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) began in April with Commissioner Joe Borg pointing to over-capacity as one of the principal challenges. "This website will be an essential tool in reforming the CFP," said Markus Knigge, Research Director of the Pew Environment Group's European Marine Programme. "It shows that EU subsidies have been fuelling this over-capacity."

"Rather than encouraging sustainable fishing, subsidies have contributed to ever greater capacity of fishing fleets and in turn to the depletion of valuable fish stocks. This new website provides greater transparency, allowing all stakeholders to have informed discussions about the appropriate uses for subsidies to support the European fisheries sector," said Knigge. "EU fish and marine habitats belong to all Europeans; if the Commission is asking them to contribute to the CFP reform then they need access to such information."

Note to the Editor:

The Pew Environment Group, the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, strives to advance scientific understanding of the causes, consequences and solutions to environmental problems, to design innovative policy solutions to these problems, and to mobilise public support for implementing these solutions. We are focused on reducing the scope and severity of the destruction of the world's oceans, with a particular emphasis on global marine fisheries. The objective of The Pew Environment Group's European Marine Programme is to support the European Union in ending global overfishing and reducing destruction of the world's oceans.

Through the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) the EU provides annually approximately €837million in subsidies to the fisheries sector and pays approximately €156million for access to fisheries in third countries. The EU contribution to fisheries control and enforcement is limited to approximately €46 million per year.

WTO Director-General, Pascal Lamy marked the first World Oceans day on June 8th by calling for reform of the US$16 billion paid worldwide in fisheries subsides. WTO news, June 8 2009.

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