In a drive to protect fish stocks, the European Union has handed funding to member states to buy and decommission fishing boats, but according to the Estonian National Audit Office, majority of those funds in Estonia have been used to purchase new, more powerful, craft.
Postimees cites an example in Ida-Viru County where a fisherman was paid 415,000 euros to demolish two vessels, only to use 380,000 euros of that aid to purchase two more powerful trawlers.
According to the daily, the scheme has been used dozens of times.
More than half of the 112.8 million euros earmarked by the European Fisheries Fund for Estonia during the 2007 to 2013 period has so far been paid out, with the Audit Office saying that funding for the next period, between 2014 and 2020, should not be allowed to be used for reinvestment into new fishing boats.
The Ministry of Agriculture said that, on the whole, the system works and fishing volumes have gone down.