A report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) claims that more than half of fishermen and women in the EU earn less than the minimum wage, and calls for economic incentives to move towards a more sustainable EU fisheries market.
Spain owns 11 of these vessels, followed by the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal with two vessels each, while France and Italy have one each. Spain’s vessels represent 4.6% of the country’s total external fleet, “indicating the need for reinforced monitoring, control and surveillance measures, as well as national sanctioning schemes”, says the report.
Dr Antonia Leroy, head of ocean policy at the WWF European policy office, said in a press release: “Many fishers work for very poor pay in an industry that barely keeps afloat financially and is often on the wrong side of the law. This must not continue. The EU must base its fisheries policy on a better understanding of how work conditions and financial stability interact with environmental sustainability. People need to have a job that is fair and decent, as well as environmentally sustainable.”
EU needs to end ‘harmful fisheries subsidies’
The WWF report calls for the elimination of harmful fishing subsidies, “those which use public money in a manner that incentivises overfishing and practices that damage the marine environment”, while also calling for those to be redirected towards helping the transition to low-impact fishing that also “supports a fair standard of living across all vessel segments”.
Many fishers work for very poor pay in an industry that barely keeps afloat financially and is often on the wrong side of the law. This must not continue. Dr Antonia Leroy, WWF
It is not all bad news in the report, however, as it also found that between 2013 and 2018 there was a decrease in the number of cases of non-compliance with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), “indicating that continued investment in fleet monitoring and control is necessary”.
The EU evaluation of the CFP is taking place this year, and the WWF argues that this report shows the need for a “better understanding of the socio-economic dimension of fisheries policies in order to improve the sector”, and the importance of including incentives to “secure an inclusive and fair transition to low-impact fisheries aligned with the CFP and the EU’s environmental objectives, while securing the livelihoods of coastal communities for generations to come”.
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