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This joint NGO letter highlights our serious concerns regarding some amendments tabled to the European Commission’s proposal on the post-2020 European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to reintroduce subsidies for fleet renewal and the modernisation of fishing vessels. We ask MEPs to maintain the current EU ban on such harmful subsidies, which has existed in the EU since 2004.
Funding the renewal of the fleet, whether through the construction of fishing vessels or the acquisition of fishing vessels for new fishers, is a capacity-enhancing subsidy that is clearly against the international commitments of the EU. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on the oceans, seas and marine resources (SDG 14) explicitly calls for the elimination of harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing by 2020. The EU phased out aid for the construction of new vessels over a decade ago and is actively advocating for the prohibition of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing during negotiations in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Proposing amendments to re-introduce these types of subsidies undermines the objectives of the CFP to end overfishing, jeopardises the EU position in the ongoing negotiations over fisheries subsidies at the WTO, and sends the wrong political signal from the EU to political leaders around the world.