Turning the Tide on EU Seas with a Green Recovery

Posted on 08 June 2020

The great potential for investments to deliver a healthier environment and a healthier economy
This joint report from Stichting BirdLife Europe, Seas At Risk, New Economics Foundation, ClientEarth, Oceana Europe, Our Fish, Scieana, Surfrider Foundation Europe and WWF illustrates how a green recovery for the oceans is possible. 

Investments in the marine environment can yield particularly large returns. Yet, it is estimated that governments around the world spend over USD 22 billion annually on capacity-enhancing, harmful financial incentives and subsidies in the fisheries sector alone. Despite marine ecosystems already being on the brink, the EU continues to invest in these harmful incentives. The EU’s Green Recovery plan is a golden opportunity to ensure that these resources are redirected and contribute to a sustainable recovery also at sea.

Long-term policies will need to enable a true Green Recovery. Financial investments will be mobilised to mitigate the economic fall-out of the Covid-19 crisis and to align the EU with its Green Deal ambitions. Therefore, it is crucial that the new recovery instrument, Next Generation EU and funding programmes such as the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) enable the EU to tackle our long-term environmental crisis and avoid undesirable trade-offs, while simultaneously improving the Union’s current economic prospects.

Specific investment opportunites explored in the paper include: 
  • Actively restoring marine ecosystems, such as rebuilding oyster reefs and fish passages in coastal dams to stimulate economic activities in sectors such as marine construction while increasing fish production, improving water quality and recovering threatened ecosystems.
  • Enabling transparent, accountable and more selective fishing activities by scaling up remote electronic monitoring (REM), as this type of technology further increases the transparency of catch data and improves confidence in scientific assessments.
  • Stopping plastic pollution at its source through investing in the re-use/rental/re-fill sectors  this win-win investment creates employment opportunities while stopping harmful pollution streams that are expensive or impossible to clean up.
A green recovery for the oceans is possible
© Ant Rozetsky / Unsplash