New fund for EU fisheries

06 Dec 2011

The European Commission has proposed a new fund for the EU's maritime and fisheries policies for the period 2014-2020, called the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

The EMFF will replace the existing European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and a number of other instruments. The proposed envelope amounts to €6.5bn for 2014-2020.

Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: “This new fund will increase economic growth and create jobs in the sector. No more money will be spent to build big vessels. Small scale fisheries and aquaculture will benefit of this budgetary greening of the Common Fisheries Policy."

The Commission says that the EMFF will be a fundamental instrument for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. The fund will give fishermen the incentive they need to use sustainable fishing methods, so that fishing can be less damaging to marine ecosystems, overexploitation can be stopped and the decline of fish stocks can be reversed.

While stocks are recovering, the EMFF will help fishermen to find innovative ways to add value to their catches and diversify their economy.

Spouses will be able to get support for training or other economic activities related to fishing and producers' organisations will be helped to plan production to satisfy market demands and to market their products in a way that meets the expectations of an increasingly discerning public.

Money will not go to scrapping anymore and the money will be deployed towards economically and socially productive activities. The new fund will also support innovative projects such as replacing fishing nets with more selective gear in order to reduce discards, or the development of new technologies that could lower the impact of fishing and fish farming on the environment.

The fund will strive to boost the aquaculture industry in a sustainable manner, rewarding innovation and promoting also new strands of aquaculture, such as non-food aquaculture.

The EMFF will give sufficient funds for data collection, monitoring and control, and will encourage fishermen and scientists to work in tandem to find ways to exploit natural resources in a sustainable manner.

The 2007 EU Integrated Maritime Policy interconnects maritime sectors which have historically been compartmentalised and managed in isolation. The EMFF will provide support for projects such as maritime spatial planning, integrated maritime surveillance and marine knowledge. The Commission says that including the Maritime Policy into the EMFF will ensure greater coherence and help deliver synergies between the two policy strands.

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