EMFF reaction

The first reading of the €6.5bn European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) by the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament has been received with mixed reaction.

The EMFF being introduced in 2014 aims to fund EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) measures to make EU fisheries sustainable and develop aquaculture.

But Europêche and Copa-Cogeca, which represent the interests of European fishing vessel owners and the aquaculture industry, have expressed concern over decisions being taken so far.

In a joint statement they welcome the measures for the funding of small scale fishing operations and the temporary cessation of fishing activities, but condemn the rejection of an amendment which sought to include compensation in the event of non-renewal of sustainable fisheries partnership agreements.

They say that this the resulting instability will result in sudden rises in fuel prices and “works against the economic stability of the sector operators as well as the families of fishermen who will be deprived of support from the authorities in those circumstances.”

Although the groups broadly welcome the inclusion of measures to support the modernisation of the fleet they believe it will be insufficient to back those fishermen who want to invest because support will not exceed 15% of the total investment and will only be applicable to vessels over 35 years.

And the grumbles don’t stop there. They “deeply regret” the lack of support by MEPs for the permanent cessation scheme for fishing vessels, which is they say is essential to allow a viable restructuring and a smooth adjustment of each segment of the European fishing fleet to its specific fishing opportunities.

Both organisations say they continue to be dedicated to developing principles which are essential to stimulate and strengthen a sector under tremendous structural change and to enable a smooth and feasible implementation of the CFP reform.

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