This report looks back at the promises made on fisheries subsidy reform during the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) review in 2002 and analyses whether the promises were delivered during the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) in 2007-2013. It suggests ways in which the EMFF and the new CFP more broadly could be reformed.
While there have been some past successes in terms of redirecting EU fisheries subsidies towards more sustainable spending, there continues to be a need to press for further improvements given the critical and declining state of fish stocks and marine ecosystems. Specifically, the structural aid under the EFF still suffers from fundamental problems, contradictions and inefficiencies, while achieving a sustainable balance between resources and fishing pressure remains a distant hope.
In times of financial austerity, the ineffectiveness of fisheries aid is brought into sharp focus as is the overall cost to society of both fisheries subsidies and broader fisheries management failures. EU decision makers have an unparalleled opportunity in the ongoing CFP reform process and the preparations for the next EU budget period 2014-2020 to take effective and necessary steps in order to meet the goals of increasing resource efficiency and halting biodiversity loss by 2020. Anything less will contribute to the continued decline of European and global marine and freshwater ecosystems as well as the European fisheries sector.