by Paola Buonadonna
THE EUROPEAN, 7-13 of April
SOMMARIO. Riferisce del progetto avanzato da Emma Bonino di offrire ai pescatori europei forme di prepensionamento o di sostegno per ridurre la sovracapacità esistente nella flotta peschereccia europea. Il suggerimento potrebbe essere utile anche per ridurre il conflitto attuale sulla pesca nelle acque dell'Atlantico tra Spagna e Canada. Il sostegno finanziario dovrebbe indurre parte dei 300000 pescatori europei a un pensionamento anticipato o al cambiamento di attività. Si dà notizia delle posizioni dei diversi paesi.
Brussels - Emma Bonino, the European fisheries commissioner, has suggested offering fishermen early retirement or income support for days when they do not fish as an inducement to reduce chronic overcapacity in Europe's fishing fleet.
The proposal is the latest response to the scramble for dwindling fish stocks in European and international waters that led to clashes between Spain and Canada in the North Atlantic.
Bonino's suggestions is that member states should be free to offer fishermen income support, on condition that separate targets for reducing the size of the Union's fleet are met.
The Commission has already earmarked Ecu 2.7 billion ($3.5bn) for structural measures to reduce overcapacity between 1994 and 1999. The target is to cut overall tonnage by eight per cent from its current level of two million tons.
Although the Commission refuses to speculate on the number of jobs that could be lost, with a fleet comprising 30,000 vessels - half of them Spanish or Portuguese - and employing 300,000 fishermen the social impact would be significant.
Under the proposal, which is purely optional, fishermen within ten years of pensionable age could be offered early retirement, while their younger counterparts could be entitled to a one-off grant of Ecu 7,000.
Officials are optimistic that fisheries ministers, due to examine the plan on 6 April, will endorse it when they meet in Luxembourg in June. One said: "We already know Germany is not interested and the Dutch probably the same. The British will be against, but that sould not amount to concrete opposition: they will simply ignore the option."