Member states are due to lose €10 million a year in EU funding for fisheries control because they did not use it previously to enforce the CFP rules.
Member states are not using the money put at their disposal from the EU to enforce CFP rules, such as ensuring that only the allowed quantities of fish are caught. As a result, the Commission is proposing to reallocate these funds – not to other fisheries enforcement programmes but to the integrated maritime policy.
ClientEarth fisheries lawyer Elisabeth Druel said: “Member States are not using money at their disposal to monitor and enforce fisheries rules. We are seeing a worrying fall in the number of inspections – some of them due to an alleged lack of money. This is reckless and irresponsible behaviour and member states must invest more if the CFP is to succeed.”
Member states are investing less and less in fisheries controls. The French Fisheries Monitoring Centre will report that in 2016, the number of inspections in France dropped by 5% – following a 13% and 12% fall over the previous two years.
Resources are available to countries to monitor and enforce the CFP, but they are not using it – a move that MEPs are calling “irresponsible”. Now, they are set to lose €50 million over 2014 – 2020.
On the international stage the EU is saying that they are leaders in the fight against illegal fishing, while countries are failing to invest enough into proper fisheries controls, breaching their obligations under EU law.
The European Parliament is planning to ask the Council for explanations from member states on why there is such an underspend.
More needs to be done by member states to implement, monitor and enforce the CFP.