Fishy business in Spain

LAST UPDATED: 4 Oct, 2011 @ 18:58
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Fishy business in Spain

By James Bryce

THE European Union is paying tens of millions of euros in fishing subsidies to countries with no fishing fleet or coastline, according to a new report.

The landlocked nations, including Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, received a total of more than 20 million euros in one year.

Meanwhile, 13 other countries are allocated more in subsidies than the value of their catches, with Romania receiving more than 70 times the value of the fish landed, according to environmental group Oceana.

It comes as another report revealed the absurdity of how some of the subsidies are allocated.

In one case, a Spanish fisherman was given a 1,200 euro subsidy for improvements to his trawler, then just 17 days later, was handed 30,000 euros to scrap the same boat.

Spain is the biggest beneficiary of the EU fishing subsidy, raking in 5.8 billion euros since 2000, according to research by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The report estimates that one in every three fish landed by Spanish boats is paid for in subsidy.

The European Commission recently acknowledged the problem, stating that ‘too many boats continue to chase too few fish’ and blamed the situation on subsidies.

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