07/05/2010 - Italian fishermen in Calabria repeatedly caught abusing European Union and national subsidies have finally surrendered 280km of illegal driftnets nearly a decade after they should have been destroyed as part of a European effort to save endangered species.
Fishermen from the port of Bagnara Calabra – where swordfish has been the mainstay of the local economy for some 2,000 years – handed in their nets after accumulating €400,000 ($504,000, £320,000) in fines for their illegal use.
Despite their repeated use of banned nets, local authorities commended them for their “sensitivity to the environment”, while the coast guard saw the “mass confession” as a sign of a community moving to a legal footing.
“The case of Italian driftnet fisheries shows the lack of transparency and control by the EU on the allocation of public funding to fishermen that flout the rules, and the paradox of public money going to support illegal fishing,” commented Domitilla Senni, adviser to the Pew Environment Group, a non-profit organisation that funds Fishsubsidy.org to monitor the annual €1bn European fishing subsidies.
Read the full article, Italy Tackles Abuse of EU Fishing Subsidies on the Financial Times' Web site (requires registration).