EU fisheries funding approved by MEPs

THE EUROPEAN Parliament approved the draft proposal for the allocation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) by a show of hands on Wednesday 22nd October.


MEPs voted against the decision to reintroduce subsidiaries for the building of new boats and have implemented strict limits on the amount of public funding that can be spent of new fleets.


European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, welcomed the outcome of the vote: “I am pleased with the overall outcome of the vote. In particular, I welcome the decision to reject spending EU taxpayers’ money on building new fishing vessels and to cap the amount of funds Member States can spend on fishing fleets. This will allow the EMFF to focus on funding projects which promote a sustainable future for the fishing industry and coastal communities. I also welcome that Parliament decided that all stakeholders should be able to benefit from support contributing to their participation in Advisory Councils”


MEPs amended the EMFF proposal to allow fishermen under 35 years old to be granted up to €100,000 in individual start-up support if they buy a small-scale and coastal fishing vessel of between 5 and 20 years old and have five years’ professional experience in the sector. The vote also included a package training for sustainable fishing practices that is essential for fishing communities.


Investment in data collection, control and regulation enforcement has been doubled as a result of the vote. This means that fisheries authorities have a real chance of fighting illegal fishing which account for illegal landings. More funding for data collection will give experts a complete picture of stocks and allow them to advise which stocks need more time to recover.


These moves have also been welcomed by animal welfare group WWF, who commented: “[These] decisions gives European fish stocks a real fighting chance. Funding for fleet renewal ended in 2002, and a reintroduction of these subsidies would have dangerously increased the capacity of the fleet, given boats a longer range and resulted in the destruction of the few remaining healthy fish stocks,” said Tony Long, Director, WWF European Policy Office.


“This is good news for conservation of fish stocks and fishing communities who can look to a more secure future. Importantly, MEPs also decided to invest in data collection, control and enforcement of fisheries, by increasing the budget available.”