Call For International Deals Rethink –

Call For International Deals Rethink Fishing Monthly Published:  15 May, 2003

EUROPEAN Union fishing fleets, deployed under fishing agreements, are causing ecological devastation and threatening food security in some of the world’s poorest communities, say leading environmental and developmental organisations. NGOs such as the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements (CFFA), the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and Greenpeace are calling for the EU to ensure greater equity and sustainability in fishing agreements.

Currently, they say most of these fishing agreements seriously undermine the provisions of international legislation with regard to the protection of the marine environment. And costs are not solely environmental: European taxpayers paid over 137 million Euros (£98 million) in 2000 towards these agreements, with most benefits accruing to only a handful of European nations.

They say EU nations will decide in June 2003 whether future fishing agreement legislation should be amended.But it is feared that the ‘Friends of Fishing’ countries such as Spain and Portugal will resist any changes to fishing agreements, as these nations are the greatest beneficiaries of current exploitative relationships.

“According to a report by the Institute of European Environmental Policy, the value of catches for some fish species can be up to 40 times higher than the fee paid for vessels’ access. NGOs are urging the EU to take this opportunity for reform. Steve Trent, the Director of the Environmental Justice Foundation said, ‘It is imperative that destructive EU fishing practices be halted if marine ecosystems are to remain productive and able to support local fishing communities.”.