Nov. 10, 2010 /EIN Presswire/ – Thirty-six law-breaking vessels received 13.5 million euros in EU subsidies over a 12-year period from 1994 to 2006, an investigative report disclosed today. The report focuses on Spain and France and matches records of convictions with subsidy payments.

Earlier this week an international team of investigative journalists blew the whistle on illegal bluefin tuna fishing which created a massive black market for the product and decimated stocks of the species.

Jack Thurston, co-founder of the website, said that the results of the link between subsidies and convictions do not include the full extent of the problem, since European governments are not required to publish comprehensive lists of convictions for illegal fishing. This is the first study that draws the link between subsidies and illegal fishing from information currently on the public record.

“EU Member States should ensure those in receipt of subsidies are not engaged in illegal fishing. Subsidies have in the past fueled overfishing; in the future they must be used to support a transition to more sustainable fishing.” said Markus Knigge of the Pew Environment Group, which commissioned the research into convictions and co-founded the website that tracks EU fisheries subsidies payments.

Five of the vessels on the list received more than 1 million euro each in EU subsidies. They have been convicted of serious infringements ranging from logbook misreporting to captures under minimum size to use of illegal fishing gear and exceeding quota. Some of the vessels on the list have been convicted multiple times and have been heavily fined.

Monday, in Washington, DC, journalists from the D.C.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reported that criminal misconduct on the part of fishermen, traders and fisheries managers has led to the overfishing of eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna over the past decade.

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