EU council to discuss changes to fishing subsidies

Members of the EU agriculture and fisheries Council are due to meet this week to discuss making a deal on how the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will be run post-2020, with the main focus being on how the EU can support fishing communities going forward.

This process will begin by setting new targets and fishing quotas for the coming years, which is also known as total allowable catches (TACs).

At the moment, the Common Fisheries Policy has targets to reduce overfishing by 2020. However, reports have shown that most regions are not close to reaching the targets that were set. In the meeting, several EU countries are hoping for a compromise that’s in the interests of fisheries.

The Romanian presidency is pushing for an agreement to be made so that negotiations can begin in the European Parliament. But, so far, five countries have shown opposition to the proposals.

The three largest beneficiaries of the EMFF – France, Spain, and Italy – made a presentation to the Council last month, in which they made calls for an increase in the levels of financing. They also called for the administration process to be simplified.

They also asked for the EU to reintroduce support payments for investment in fishery capacity and the construction of new vessels.

The Commission, however, argues that increasing funding wouldn’t be justifiable as the industry has made record profits over the last few years. They also noted that increases in investment would undermine efforts to conserve marine wildlife.

The Common Fisheries Policy was introduced to determine targets based on how many of each type of fish could be caught without it threatening the populations.

It was found in an earlier report that in the North Atlantic, the North Sea, and the Baltic, 40% of fish populations are still being overfished. And in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, it’s higher still, at nearly 90%.

There are two groups in the Council opposing the relaxing of the rules on conditions and capacity, as they argue that it contradicts the EU Common Fisheries Policy and the agreements under the Sustainable Development Agenda and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

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