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EU is feudalising seas to sea lords: (EU Observer)


One of the more controversial proposals, which saw "lots of discussions" among the 27 commissioners is the idea of having "tradable concessions" which fishing companies or associations can sell in order to reduce overcapacity of the European fishing fleet.

It would mean that fishermen or fishing companies which have a licence to exploit the stocks of a certain country are allowed to sell these concessions to each other.

Citing examples in the Nordic countries, Damanaki said the system would work "under strict rules" left to each member state to set out. She did admit, however, that one of the concerns expressed by other colleagues in the commission is that it would "be abused by the aggression of markets".

Green MEPs and environmental groups however said that the plan is not bold enough to tackle the systemic problems of EU's fisheries policy.

"The Commission's proposal to set up a market-based system to determine who has the right to fish is nothing short of scandalous," Spanish Green MEP Raul Romeva said in a statement.

Speculation and the concentration of fishing rights in the hands of big companies will be a direct consequence of this policy, in Romeva's view.

No resource rent taxes, instead "licenses" to private "investors." We all can soon pay rent to banks from eating fish.

by kjr63 on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 11:50:07 AM EST
The mental capture is staggering - this is like the CO2 emissions trading programme.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 11:52:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Politicians have no shame.
by kjr63 on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 11:53:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When all you have is a hammer, all you see is nails.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 11:57:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Were a country make it legal to sell your lifetime voting rights for &euro10,000, how many would bet that an effective majority of the electorate would sell their votes? Then, with a coalition containing a majority of the votes, the government could vote to take what ever money or assets the sellers have left away from them. Then "government would be run like a business!"

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 07:40:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Link to EUObserver: New EU policy aims to reduce overfishing by 2015.

There may be merit in a "cap and trade" approach to fishing quotas, but the problem with the fisheries policy is not only the quotas, not even mostly. What cap and trade does is take the political component of the policy, which is the assignment of quotas, out of the hands of the politicians who are always making a mess of them.

Under the proposal, which still needs approval of member states and the European Parliament, a legal obligation to have fishing of each species not exceed its replacement rate should be put in place by 2015.

Transition phases, compensations and subsidies to cushion the loss in jobs will be part of the package and agreed upon at a later stage.

...

The proposal will seek to ban discards, dead or injured fish that are thrown back into the sea after being caught because they are too small to sell or belong to a different species.

How is the "discard ban" to be policed?

If it is true that fishing by traded concession will result in industrial fishing totally driving out small fishing enterprises, it is easier to regulate and police a smaller number of large industrial operations and have them bear the cost. I think the most practical way to police this might be having an inspector on board, which would be prohibitively expensive and impractical on a small boat.

Funny how they leave the compensations for lost jobs "to be agreed at a later stage".

Meanwhile, it's amazing that "fishing not to exceed the replacement rate" is not a requirement already, but it is unenforceable without the discard ban.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 02:18:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What cap and trade does is take the political component of the policy, which is the assignment of quotas, out of the hands of the politicians who are always making a mess of them...

Can't leave the political responsibility in the hands of politicians, now, can we? Bureaucrats and "The Market" can obviously do so much better a job, as has been shown to be the case with fiscal and monetary policy in the EU.


As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 09:58:44 AM EST
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It is incredible what one can SELL and BUY on the market nowadays...is there ANYTHING that can't be sold and misused? Well we may not have good enough imagination to follow these guys any more. It's like teams of specialists have been created to think of every single thing that can be brought on the market to make more chances for corruption and misuse...
They are "packaging" bad loans, selling rights, buying CO2, trading peoples data...One thing you will not be able to see anywhere is responsibility...


Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Wed Jul 13th, 2011 at 09:42:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Access to the seas for fishing is a public good and maybe, given the tendency for overfishing, it shouldn't be free. As with CO2, there are two alternatives, a tax, and cap-and-trade.

What cap and trade does, apart from not being a straight "tax", is take away the very political quota allocations from the political process. The only thing left to decide by the EU would be the total catch for each species, not how it's to be divided among the fishing enterprises. How it's to be divided among countries should be a interesting detail to watch when this thing gets to be under discussion.

Economics is politics by other means

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 02:23:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not saying that it (and other things) should not be regulated but what bothers me that they made everything to be "stock" and subject to the sale on markets. Usually that means more space for corruption and misuse.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 02:43:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Access to the seas for fishing is a public good and maybe, given the tendency for overfishing, it shouldn't be free.

If there is a fixed supply (fishing quota), there are monopoly profits. Value created by the public.


..there are two alternatives, a tax, and cap-and-trade.

Cap-and-trade gives these profits to rentiers and banks. These rents do not even belong to the fishermen. They don't create this wealth.

..the very political quota allocations from the political process

Indeed. But i see no difference between political corruption and private rents. The money men capture the wealth in both cases.

Tax is simple, impartial and just. If some species is threatened, tax it more. And the wealth returns to wealth creators.

by kjr63 on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 06:09:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cap-and-trade gives these profits to rentiers and banks.

Not if you auction the permits instead of handing them out for free. Handing them out for free is simply a subsidy to legacy players in the sector.

A combined tax and permit auction would probably be best: Use a tax to set what amounts to a floor under the permit price, then use auctioned permits to make sure that sudden price spikes don't make fishermen empty the seas in search for short-term profit.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 06:20:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The auction would still favor deep pockets. Perhaps auction permits for vessels that displace more than a few tons and tax the catch according to species for all fishermen, but the problem with discards remains. You could also restrict the permits to fishing more than 3 km. from shorelines or in waters less than 10 m. deep. That would protect fish nurseries and provide work for small fishermen for local markets.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 10:13:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You auction the licences, deep pockets buy them, and then they hold hostage the ship owners and the fishermen. What's not to like?

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 10:20:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Require a registered vessel capable of making delivery in order to participate in the auction.

Yes, that still favours the deep pockets. If you want to protect traditional industry for the sake of protecting traditional industry, set aside a part of the permits for whatever activity you wish to protect.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 10:59:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From Damanaki's press conference it's obvious that the Commission's commitment to this idea is half-hearted. They are aware of the potential problems, and they try to repair them by fragmenting the market they are creating, rendering the whole scheme inoperative and therefore even more of an expensive and pointless boondoggle:
We propose tradability at national level only, and we propose safeguards to protect legitimate public policy concerns like preventing too many fisheries interests to be concentrated in the hands of a few. And the small-scale fleet will be exempt, to prevent it from being absorbed by bigger operators.
So, what exactly are they proposing?

The thinking is hopelessly muddled. The speech starts with

Our current system is not working in favour of sustainability. 75% of EU stocks are still overfished and a third of them are in a worrying state.
and ends with
Europe needs more fish, more wealth and more jobs.


Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 11:09:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Europe also needs magick flying ponies:

One hundred years ago the two most productive fisheries in the EU were the North and Baltic seas.  (IIRC, cod in the first and herring in the second.)  A combination of over fishing and pollution are putting paid to both and increasing sea temperature is hammering in the last nails in the coffin.  

Canadian experience suggests you guys and gals are going to dither until the fish stocks collapse, your fishing industries follow, and THEN you'll be forced to do what you need to do: stop fishing until the ecology recovers.

If you don't you'll force the fish population ever to the right:

which, at some point, can easily drive the fish stocks to complete collapse, wrecking the ecology, and putting yourselves in a situation that will take hundreds or thousands of years to recover from.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 01:54:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Latest number I saw had some 9 out of 10 fishing waters globally beign over-fished. IIRC we have also passed peak fish sometime around the year 2000.

An almost devestated public good I think should be left alone to regrowth. That means a ban on fishing, investment in socially needed replacement jobs and reeducation of fishermen. And policing anything large enough to be profitable, in effect leaving rowboats with people fishing for their own table alone.

But then again I think coal mining should be banned.

However, the difference between European fishing and European CO2 emissions is that the CO2 emissions will be costly to reduce. How many work in fishing in Europe? How much of the food is from fish?

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES!

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 03:07:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Commission press releases: Maria Damanaki European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
Breaking the circle: introducing a new Common Fisheries Policy

Press Conference on the Common Fisheries Policy reform package: speaking points (Brussels, 13 July 2011)
One way that contributes to giving responsibility back to the industry as well as to sustainability is a more market-based system of access to fleets.

Tradable concessions have been introduced in many countries and proved effective in tackling overcapacity: for instance in Denmark the demersal fleet was slimmed down by 30% in 4 years and the pelagic one by 50%. Norway, the U.S., Australia and New Zealand also show success with this approach.

We propose tradability at national level only, and we propose safeguards to protect legitimate public policy concerns like preventing too many fisheries interests to be concentrated in the hands of a few. And the small-scale fleet will be exempt, to prevent it from being absorbed by bigger operators.



Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 08:14:12 AM EST
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Demanaki: "preventing too many fisheries interests to be concentrated in the hands of afew"

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jul 14th, 2011 at 08:23:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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