Madrid, 2 February 2017 – Access Info Europe welcomed today’s European Parliament plenary vote overwhelmingly in favour of a regulation that will introduce beneficial ownership transparency for EU fishing vessels.

MEPs voted 586 in favour, with 56 against and just 6 abstentions, to create a public register of the EU flagged fishing fleet, something that will contribute to the fight against illegal and unsustainable fishing, as well as limiting opportunities for money laundering and tax evasion by vessel owners.

The Parliament’s position represents an opportunity for the EU to make its fisheries policy a leading example of how beneficial ownership transparency has important environmental, economic justice, and societal benefits,” stated Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info.

Illegal fishing in the coastal waters of developing countries not only impacts on the levels of fish stocks, but also negatively affects local economies, and forces communities into migration,” added Darbishire.

This vote follows a successful civil society campaign, coordinated by Access Info and Oceana, in which over forty organisations, including leading global transparency and accountability groups, called on MEPs to support the register of owners of EU fishing vessels.

The next stage for the Regulation on sustainable fishing is what are known as “trilogue” negotiations between the Parliament, Commission and the Council.

We are now calling on EU Member States to support the Parliament’s position, in line with commitments to opening up beneficial ownership data that they have made in fora such as the G8, the G20, and the Open Government Partnership,” added Darbishire.

Access Info noted that a number of leading EU countries, including France, Germany, and the UK, have committed to advancing on Beneficial Ownership transparency through increasing openness of their domestic registers. These developments have been given extra impetus by scandals such as the Panama Papers which revealed how criminal activities, money laundering, and tax evasion, are facilitated by companies having complex ownership structures involving offshore tax havens.

For more information, please contact:

Luisa Izuzquiza, Communications Officer | Access Info Europe
Helen Darbishire, Executive Director | Access Info Europe

Send an e-mail or call +34 913 656 558

Photo: Praveen via Flick (CC BY-NC 2.0)