Fishsubsidy.orgFishing Boat has published a list of law-breaking fishing vessels from Spain, France, Belgium and the UK who have all received EU subsidies. Between them, the 41 boats have received 16,360,770 Euros in subsidies. The data has been collected manually from government websites, press reports and court records: it is therefore likely to be an under-estimate.

Five of the vessels, all from Spain, received over 1 million Euros in 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.

Other fishing crimes listed include fishing in prohibited areas,  false landing declarations, illegal mesh sizes, illegal discards and possession of 2.5 tonnes of cocaine. Currently there is no obligation to take criminal behaviour into account when deciding which vessels should get subsidies.

Subsidies paid to owners of fishing vessels and others working in the fishing industry under the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy amount to approximately 1 billion euro a year. is a project coordinated by EU Transparency, a non-profit organisation in the UK and the Pew Charitable Trusts, a charitable foundation based in the United States. The aim is to obtain detailed data relating to payments and recipients of fisheries subsidies in every EU Member State and make this data available in a way that is useful to European citizens.

Further Reading‘s list of identified infringements.