Scrap of fuel taxation exemptions for fisheries can kill the sector

8 Apr 2024

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) is sounding the alarm over the potential inclusion of fishing fuels under the revised Energy Taxation Directive. The ETF, alongside other European organizations representing the entire fisheries sector value chain, has sent a joint letter to the European Parliament and national authorities urging them to exempt fishing from the Directive’s scope.

The primary concern centres on the crippling impact fuel taxes would have on an industry already struggling with high fuel prices, an energy crisis, and geopolitical instability. The letter highlights several key points:

  • Sustainability Achievements: The EU fishing industry boasts a significantly lower carbon footprint than many other protein sources and has demonstrably reduced its GHG emissions by 52% since 1990 – surpassing the Green Deal target well ahead of schedule.
  • Economic Hardship: Fuel costs often exceed 40% of a fishing company’s operational expenses. Implementing fuel taxes amidst the current energy crisis and inflationary pressures would be a devastating blow to the sector’s economic viability.
  • Global Market Competition: Taxation would place the EU fishing industry at a disadvantage compared to non-EU competitors with lower fuel costs. This could increase reliance on imported seafood, jeopardizing the EU’s domestic supply chain.
  • Technological Limitations: The Common Fisheries Policy currently restricts modifications needed to adopt new, greener propulsion technologies. Until viable alternatives become commercially available, the fishing industry lacks practical options to reduce its carbon footprint further.

The letter concludes by emphasizing that fuel taxation would be a punitive measure for a sector already demonstrating environmental commitment. The ETF and its partners urge the EU to prioritize the sector’s needs and exempt fishing fuels from the Energy Taxation Directive until commercially viable alternative fuel and propulsion technologies are readily available.