What would you like to search for?

Our News

Over 47% of public funds in Mediterranean countries used to support overfishing

Rome, Italy - While Mediterranean countries have agreed to protect 30% of the Mediterranean Sea by 2030, between 2014 and 2020, at least 47% of the funds allocated to the fisheries sector were used to incentivise overcapacity and overfishing threatening marine ecosystems, as shown by a new report launched by WWF.

A radical rethinking is needed to ensure that citizens’ money is invested in biodiversity protection and sustainable fishing practices.

Marco Costantini, Fisheries Manager at WWF Mediterranean, said: 
“For years Mediterranean countries have heavily subsidised the depletion of our Mediterranean Sea with disastrous ecological and social consequences. Hundreds of millions of euros of public money have been used to support large fishing fleets to grow and fish more, leaving behind the  small-scale fishers and the protection of key marine areas that actually sustain our local economies. We need to fully revert this trend”. 

The new report “Rethinking Fisheries Subsidies”, commissioned by WWF to NISEA, analysed fisheries subsidies for the period 2014-2020 in 12 major Mediterranean economies revealing that over €1.3 billion (47% of overall amount) had been used to subsidise fuel, seafood processing and boat construction and renovation with the result of enhancing fishing activity and overall catches. Only € 957 million (36%) were used to improve fisheries management and controls or on biodiversity protection. Italy has been the major recipient of EU fisheries funds in the region, followed by Greece and Spain [1], but it was in Greece and Malta that almost half of subsidies were used to enhance fishing capacity. The same was in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco where over 70% of public funds were spent in capacity-enhancing measures, including fuel subsidies.

Although small-scale fishers make up the vast majority of the Mediterranean fleets and generally have a lower environmental impact than industrial fishing, small vessels (below 12 mt) received a negligible 3% of EU public support, with countries like Italy and Croatia investing even less than 2%. Lack of information, complex application procedures but also lack of initial capital are identified as the main barriers that prevent many small-scale fishers from accessing EU funds. But the success of the pre-financing facility launched by WWF and Blue Seeds proved that, when adequately supported, small-scale fishers can apply to EU funds to sustain their transformation to sustainability. 

Alessio Satta, Director at WWF Mediterranean, said: 
“If our leaders are serious about their ambition to effectively protect our sea and communities from the increasing threats of climate change and marine biodiversity loss, the minimum they can do is to ensure that not even one euro of our public money is spent against this objective.”

This is also confirmed by another WWF's research on EU funds, launched today, revealing that every year, Member States channel between €34 billion and €48 billion of European subsidies into activities that harm nature.

WWF urges the EU and Mediterranean governments to redirect all public funds to biodiversity protection and fishery sustainability in a way to enhance the resilience of coastal communities and their long-term socio-economic prosperity. 
© Swim2Bird/WWF
Rethinking public fuding

Shpërndajeni këtë!

Na ndihmoni ta përhapim mesazhin.