Cablegate: Polish Fishing Industry: The Happy Unemployed

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Per EU requirements, Poland is in the middle of
restructuring its Baltic fishing fleet to meet EU
requirements. Part of that process includes the reduction
of the fleet by scrapping vessels and compensating the
vessel owners and operators. The Restructuring Agency
responsible for implementing this system has approved
agreements to scrap 183 Polish fishing vessels and
compensate 1,000 fishermen who worked on those vessels. On
average, each vessel owner receives 1 million zloty
($333,000) while each fisherman that worked on a scrapped
vessel receives 10,000 EUR ($13,000). European Union
structural funds pay for 75% of the program cost, while the
state budget pays the other 25%.

2. The Deputy Director of the Fisheries Department in the
Ministry of Agriculture, Lech Kempczynski, said that the
scrapping program is extremely popular among Polish
fisherman. The Restructuring Agency, which he chairs,
received over 260 applications to scrap boats. He believes
that the agency is effectively striking a balance between
thinning the fishing fleet and permanently damaging Poland's
fishing industry.

3. Shortly after the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia,
Polish media reported that some of these scrapped boats
would be transferred to the affected areas to provide
replacement vessels for those lost in the catastrophe.
Kempczynski said that, while this was a noble idea and good
politically, the scrapped vessels were instead being
destroyed. He said that the cost of refitting the Baltic-
Sea vessels to operate in warm water was prohibitive.

4. Poland's entry into the EU also requires the country's
fishing industry to conform to EU quotas. Kempczynski
described the procedure whereby the quotas are established
as a give-and-take process where none of the parties come
out completely satisfied. In general, however, he said that
of the quotas for Baltic fish, Polish fishermen only roundly
criticize the one for cod. Under the EU quota, Poland can
harvest 14,000 tons of cod, whereas they previously operated
under a quota of 16,000 tons. The other main species
harvested in the Baltic are herring, sprout, and salmon.



2005WARSAW01273 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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