Reaction to EU Fit for 55: Energy Taxation Directive and Fossil Fuel Subsidies for the Fishing Industry

© Greenpeace / Christian Aslund
© Greenpeace / Christian Aslund

In response to today’s publication of the European Commission’s “Fit for 55” package – a package of policy and laws to bring the taxation of energy and electricity into line with the European Green Deal and EU commitment to carbon neutrality, Rebecca Hubbard, Program Director for Our Fish said: 

“The proposed review of the Energy Taxation Directive (1), as part of the “Fit for 55” package, provides a critical opportunity for the EU to remove perverse subsidies that artificially inflate fossil fuel consumption, like fuel tax exemptions for the EU fishing industry.”

“Globally, the fishing industry produces the same amount of CO2 emissions by trawling the seabed as released by the aviation industry (2), with the EU having the heaviest trawled seas and a chronic overfishing problem (3). But instead of grabbing the bull by the horns and proposing a rapid elimination of all fuel exemptions for the EU fishing industry, the Commission has given it a free pass to continue destroying marine life and worsening climate change.”

“The European Commission’s bizarre and outrageous blind spot is especially concerning considering that 87% of EU citizens that responded to the consultation support complete removal of tax exemptions for the fishing industry. Why does the fishing industry get a free pass when everyone else has to pay the true price of carbon pollution and environmental destruction? This is not fair, nor does it match the goal of carbon neutrality that the EU has committed to. The EU must do better”.


Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, Our Fish [email protected], +34 691 826 764



(1) COM 2021, 563 final. Proposal for a COUNCIL DIRECTIVE restructuring the Union framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity (recast). 2021/0213 (CNS). 

(2) Sala.E et al (2021). Protecting the global ocean for biodiversity, food and climate. Nature, 17 March 2021. 

(3) European Environment Agency (2019), No 17/2019. Marine messages II: Navigating the course towards clean, healthy and productive seas through implementation of an ecosystem‑based approach. 
For more information on the campaign to eliminate EU fossil fuel subsidies go to

Share this article

Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore

Bottom Trawler Playa de Menduina EU bottom trawler the Playa de Menduina active in the North Atlantic. Bottom-trawling boats, the majority from EU countries, drag fishing gear weighing several tonnes across the sea bed, destroying marine wildlife and devastating life on underwater mountains - or 'seamounts'. Greenpeace ship Esperanza tours Atlantic waters searching for and intercepting bottom trawling fishing vessels during a campaign to highlight the destruction caused by this controversial form of fishing. Credit line: © Greenpeace / Kate Davison

Briefing: What if adopting the Energy Taxation Directive was a mitigation action under UNCLOS?

Without the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies from our economies, we will not be able to reach climate objectives under EU law or broader climate objectives under the Paris agreement, in order to ensure a decent future for the planet and humankind in the coming decades. Last December’s COP28 climate summit underlined the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels and the phasing out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transitions.

Energy transition and Decarbonisation of the fishing fleet: the Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE)’s Perspective

Energy transition and Decarbonisation of the fishing fleet: the Low Impact Fishers of Europe (LIFE)’s Perspective

Shifting from fossil fuel dependency to a zero carbon economy is as imperative for fisheries as it is for other production sectors. Decarbonisation must also be coherent with the other processes affecting the fisheries sector, and in line with fishery management objectives. Decarbonisation must not be pursued at the expense of biodiversity conservation, nature restoration, and the transition towards a fair and sustainable food system. On the other hand, if the vision of the fisheries of the future is well framed and the energy transition is well aligned with the CFP objectives to end overfishing, conserve and restore the marine environment, and is consistent with the objectives of achieving economic, social and employment benefits, it could provide a great opportunity to revitalise the small-scale low impact fishing sector, and give them prospects of future.