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EC sends formal warning to Denmark for failing to properly control fisheries

Staff Writer |
Environmental organisations ClientEarth and Our Fish have welcomed a decision by the European Commission to follow-up on infringement proceedings against Denmark for failing to properly control fishing practices, and illegal misreporting of catches.

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Denmark has been found in breach of its legal obligation to ensure that fishers record bycatches in their electronic logbook, leaving huge quantities of fish undeclared. This compromises scientific evaluations of fish stocks and threatens their sustainability.

This behaviour is in clear violation of the rules contained in the EU fisheries Control Regulation.

As a result, the European Commission has formally notified Danish authorities, giving them two months to comply with EU law.

ClientEarth Fisheries lawyer Elisabeth Druel said: “Denmark is blatantly breaching its obligation to control fishers operating in its waters. We welcome the Commission’s decision to open infringement proceedings for Denmark’s failure to monitor fishing activities by its vessels. In addition, we’re concerned that Danish authorities also granted illegal fishers access to European public money.”

Legally, only fishers and fishing operators who have not contravened the law in the past 12 months can obtain subsidies from member state authorities. In reality, a recent report from the Danish Court of Auditors has shown that Danish authorities have granted subsidies to fishers who were found to be in severe breach of the law.

For example, on one occasion, a fisher was granted money despite having twice misreported his catches by more than 1000%, while another had breached the law five times without receiving any penalty points, in contravention of EU law.

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