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'Asian countries are using the money to exponentially increase their fleets and subsidize their operating costs'', said Daniel Voces

Fisheries sector defends aid to sustainable fishing and calls for eliminating those that encourage illegal fishing and overfishing

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Friday, September 13, 2019, 17:10 (GMT + 9)

Alerts that the elimination of the tax exemption to fuel would create inter-territorial imbalances, increase the prices of fishery products and impact on the profitability of the fleet, especially artisanal
 
Geneva - The European fisheries sector has expressed its full support for the multilateral agreement promoted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to eliminate subsidies that encourage illegal fishing activities or contribute to overfishing, and advocates to maintain public support to guarantee the environmental, economic and social sustainability of this activity. This was stated by the sector, grouped in Europêche, an organization of which the Spanish CEPESCA is part.
 
This position has been defended by Daniel Voces, general director of Europêche, during his participation in the High Level Meeting on Trade, Climate Change and Economy of the Oceans 1, which is held in Geneva organized by the United Nations. Europêche has celebrated the consensus on the decision that no government grant or maintain any subsidy to vessels and operators that develop a fishing activity outside the legal framework, that is, to practice IUU fishing; and has also demanded the elimination of aid that negatively affects target fish populations that are in an overfishing situation.
 
 
Europêche defends, however, the maintenance of public financial assistance aimed at the modernization of fishing vessels and the improvement of their energy efficiency by their contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and advocates to control and restrict investments that involve increasing total fishing capacity outside international targets.
 
With respect to fuel, the sector indicates that it can currently account for 40% of the operating costs of the fishing activity and considers the elimination of tax exemptions to them to be an error. The sector recalls that energy products have historically been exempt from taxation for air and maritime navigation worldwide and that the EU applies it to fishing activity within territorial waters (12 nautical miles).

 

Similarly, Europêche warns that the elimination of exemptions would not only cause an imbalance between territories, since long-distance ships can recharge their tanks in ports with lower prices. It would also impact on a rise in the prices of fishery products for the final consumer, as well as on the profitability of fishing companies, with special emphasis on artisanal activity within territorial waters.
 
According to Daniel Voces, CEO of Europêche, “while EU financing policies are strongly oriented towards improving sustainability and research, Asian countries are using the money to exponentially increase their fleets and subsidize their operating costs. The EU - Voces adds - is the largest and most attractive seafood market in the world and the EU fleet is obliged to meet the highest social and environmental standards, facing competition from non-European fleets whose catches end up in our market, so it is important to establish common game rules for all operators.”
 

Photo: CEPESCA

During his speech, the representative of the EU fisheries sector also presented the progress made by Europe to eliminate harmful subsidies and ensure sustainable management of fisheries. And he said that they demonstrate that financial support is essential to ensure safety on board, ensure good working conditions, improve energy efficiency and defend the competitiveness of responsible fishermen.
 
Thus, and indirectly, these investments are also essential to make the fishing sector attractive to young professionals and thus solve the problem of generational relief, as well as to ensure the introduction of new technologies and mitigate the effects of climate change.

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