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NGOs, WTO delegates label EU fisheries funding as harmful subsidy by Mark Godfrey December 17,2020   |  Source: SeafoodSource

A EUR 6.1 billion (USD 7.4 billion) budget of the next European Maritime, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) for 2021 to 2027 is drawing criticism from NGOs and a WTO delegate, who say it represents a harmful subsidy encouraging unsustainable fishing.

The package was agreed to in principle last week in Brussels by the European Union’s parliament, and the European Council, composed of member-state governments.

In an interview with SeafoodSource, the delegate, who represents a non-E.U. state but who wished to remain anonymous, described the package as equating to a harmful, capacity-building subsidy. This was, said the delegate, “unhelpful” at a time when the WTO is seeking to persuade other large fishing nations like China to stop paying out harmful subsidies to their own fleets. Negotiations, which failed to produce a deal in line with the WTO’s deadline of the end of the year, but will continue in 2021.

In announcing the package European Union Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said the EMFAF is intended to improve conditions onboard fishing vessels and that no E.U. subsidy would “risk harmful effects.”

“The E.U. Commission is satisfied that the agreement does not include harmful fisheries subsidies, which


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