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EU fishing fleets reap profits while taxpayers foot the bill

Date:
November 27, 2013
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
The European Union's taxpayers are paving the way for fishing fleets to reel in valuable catch in developing countries while fishing companies pocket the profits, according to researchers.

“The EU has the potential to lead the world in sustainable fisheries,” says Daniel Pauly, principal investigator with the Sea Around Us Project and the study’s co-author. “But as they stand now, these access agreements are being subsidized in ways that disadvantage developing countries and contradict the EU’s own development goals by forcing their citizens to essentially pay twice for the fish they’re taking off of the plates of developing countries.”
Credit: The Pew Charitable Trusts

The European Union's taxpayers are paving the way for fishing fleets to reel in valuable catch in developing countries while fishing companies pocket the profits, according to University of British Columbia researchers.

In a study published today in the online journal PLOS ONE, researchers from UBC's Fisheries Centre analyzed access agreements that allow EU-based fishing fleets to operate in Africa and the South Pacific. They found that EU governments pay 75 per cent of the annual access fees, which have ranged in value from 300,000 Euros paid to Equatorial Guinea, to 175 million Euros paid to Morocco.

Meanwhile, the amount paid by the industry represents only 1.5 per cent of the revenue generated from selling the catch.

"The EU's fishing companies are benefitting from these agreements far more than the developing countries where they go to fish," says Fr้d้ric Le Manach, a PhD student at with UBC Fisheries Centre's Sea Around Us Project and the study's lead author.

In addition to access fees, EU government subsidies often cover the cost of fuel or equipment, says Le Manach, and previous studies have linked subsidies to overfishing and overcapacity.

"Since the companies aren't paying the full cost of doing business, they make more profit and in turn invest in bigger and more efficient boats, which enable them to further exploit developing countries' fish stocks."

"The EU has the potential to lead the world in sustainable fisheries," says Daniel Pauly, principal investigator with the Sea Around Us Project and the study's co-author. "But as they stand now, these access agreements are being subsidised in ways that disadvantage developing countries and contradict the EU's own development goals by forcing their citizens to essentially pay twice for the fish they're taking off of the plates of developing countries."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fr้d้ric Le Manach, Christian Chaboud, Duncan Copeland, Philippe Cury, Didier Gascuel, Kristin M. Kleisner, Andr้ Standing, U. Rashid Sumaila, Dirk Zeller, Daniel Pauly. European Union’s Public Fishing Access Agreements in Developing Countries. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (11): e79899 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079899

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "EU fishing fleets reap profits while taxpayers foot the bill." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127225449.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2013, November 27). EU fishing fleets reap profits while taxpayers foot the bill. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127225449.htm
University of British Columbia. "EU fishing fleets reap profits while taxpayers foot the bill." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127225449.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

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