Eu members recently agreed over eu fisheries commissioner Joe Borg's proposal to send fishing boats to tsunami-affected Asian countries. But experts warn that instead of having a positive effect, the move might harm fishing communities and fish stocks of recipient countries.
The initiative has yet to be approved by the un Food and Agriculture Organisation, which will meet on March 12, 2005. Since subsidised transfer of fishing vessels to developing countries can lead to overfishing, eu funding for them was halted at the end of 2004. Such transfers were prohibited under the eu's Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance. Now, the European Commission (ec) has proposed that they can be undertaken under "Fisheries Partnership Agreements (fpas)". But it is feared that fpas will become a back door for such transfers, demonstrating their usefulness under certain circumstances.
Boats that are between five to 12 years old will be sent to tsunami-hit nations only till June 30, 2006. Boats with trawlers will not be sent. eu members will also have to ensure that the boats are navigable, suitable for fishing and don't impact the recipient nation's fish stocks and economy adversely.
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