Green Party MEP and Spokesperson for the Marine Grace O’Sullivan, has expressed disappointment at a number of ‘shortcomings’ in the €6bn EU fisheries fund announced earlier today.
Speaking after a PECH (fisheries) Committee overwhelmingly voted in favour of the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF), Deputy O’Sullivan said it’s bad news for small-scale Irish fishers.
“The EMFAF is deeply flawed. I voted against it and was vocal in my opposition along with my colleagues in the Greens/EFA group. I’m despondent that my fellow-MEPs chose to support this inequitable funding.
“Island and coastal-populations are dependent on small-scale fishing, and I’m sad to say this agreement will see more subsidies given to the intensive fishing industry instead.
“Myself and my Greens/EFA colleagues were a strong voice in negotiations calling for equity and fairness in the distribution of fisheries funding. Sadly, voices representing big industry won out.
“We also fought for the interests of remote Irish islands, where fishing is a vital part of the economic sustainability of communities. We called for their inclusion in the provisional agreement, but again, economic interests took precedence over communities and sustainability and the provision was removed.”
MEP O’Sullivan noted that the agreement is counter-productive to the fight against overfishing, just months after the EU missed its legal commitment to end overfishing in its waters.
“At a time when strong action is needed against harmful subsidies that encourage overfishing, this agreement goes in the opposite direction.
“This will weaken the hand of the EU in ongoing international negotiations to end harmful subsidies worldwide.
“The EMFAF agreement also does not achieve the Parliament’s demands for the protection and restoration of marine biodiversity.
“The EMFAF should have been rejected. It will create further uncertainty in an already-struggling sector. It’s a sad day for sustainable Irish fishing.”