The European Commission has made good its 2004 promise to review fishing regulations. It is increasing so called de minimis subsidies, from 3000 to 30 000 euros per beneficiary over three years. The EU’s Fisheries and Maritime affairs Mireille Thom says the system revaluation is fair and overdue;“These of course are aids that are deemed not to distort competiton and therefore do not have to be notified to the Commission”.
In the fishing industry this aid is most used by boat owners, and as such the increase will be welcome recogniton of their efforts to stabilise fish stocks, and accepting to reduce the size of fishing fleets. The Common Fisheries Policy remains guided by the principle of species protection as it seeks a balance between what the market wants, and what the seas can sustainably provide. Today fish stocks are still estimated to be too fragile to allow an unregulated fishing free-for-all.