金沙游戏官网:Europe's fishing rules slip through the net

 作者:贺堋     |      日期:2019-03-02 04:03:00
By DEBORA MacKENZIE in BRUSSELS Schemes designed to protect Europe’s shrinking fish stocks by trimming the size of the fishing fleet are making the problem worse, says the European Court of Auditors. In a damning report, the auditors detail how fishermen evade attempts to limit their activities. To make matters worse, last month a meeting of fisheries ministers rejected proposals that would allow the European Commission to monitor fishing boats more closely. The European Court of Auditors evaluates how effectively the Commission spends its money. Last month it concluded that much of the 253 million Ecus ( £195 million) spent between 1987 and 1990 to reduce the Community’s fishing fleet had instead enlarged it. According to fisheries scientists, the main reason European waters are overfished is that improvements in technology have given the Community’s fishing boats the capacity to catch about 40 per cent too much fish. Ministers have told the Commission to use some of its funds for regional development to decommission boats in order to cut fishing capacity. But the Court of Auditors found that over the four years it studied, cash from the Commission helped to build 672 new boats. Fishermen who receive funds from the Commission to modernise fishing equipment must take at least one old boat out of service for each one built. But in some cases, say the auditors, boat owners claimed they were scrapping boats that had sunk years before. Grants are not supposed to pay for more powerful engines or better electronic fish-finding equipment – improvements that would increase catches – but in most cases they did, the auditors found. One British fishing boat was lengthened with Community aid, increasing its capacity, although if the Commission had known this it would never have approved the aid, says the report. The auditors found that the Commission does not have the means to enforce the rules. Last month, fisheries ministers made the job even harder by rejecting a plan for member states to track fishing vessels with radar, approving only voluntary tests of the system. They also rejected a plan to minimise illicit fishing by prohibiting boats from carrying nets of a type they would not be allowed to use. The ministers said boats could carry other kinds of net,