MEPs endorse mitigating consequences of war for EU fisheries and aquaculture | Actuality
Fisheries Committee MEPs adopted their position on a Commission proposal to financially compensate EU fisheries and aquaculture affected by the Russian war in Ukraine, unanimously by 24 votes.
The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), according to the text adopted by MEPs, would support companies whose fishing operations have been compromised by war, as well as producer organizations and fishing operators and of aquaculture whose economic viability is threatened due to market and supply chain problems caused by Russian military aggression. These include an increase in the price of energy, raw materials and fish feed. EU governments could use their remaining EMFF resources for the 2014-2020 programming period to deal with the consequences of war in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
MEPs amended the proposal to extend compensation also to companies whose economic viability has been affected by the conflict and to the processing sector. 75% of the Fund’s co-financing would cover their loss of income and additional costs caused by the disruption of supply chains after the start of the war on February 24, 2022.
In addition to financial compensation, Member States would also be allowed to use state aid rules in a more flexible way. This would allow them to set up state aid schemes for fishing and aquaculture companies affected by the crisis.
Following the vote, EP rapporteur Nuno Melo (EPP, PT) said: “The report calls for specific measures to mitigate the market disruption of the seafood supply chain caused by the aggression The EU must take urgent action to mitigate the impact of the war and ensure the survival of businesses and jobs in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.
This draft negotiating position should be put to the vote in plenary in July. Once Parliament as a whole approves it, MEPs will be ready to start discussions with EU governments on the final form of the legislation.
In 2019, the EU fishing fleet numbered 73,983 vessels, providing direct employment to 129,540 fishermen. Aquaculture employs around 75,000 people, with the processing industry comprising around 3,500 companies. Fuel prices prevent fishing operators from breaking even and the scarcity of marine fuel keeps many vessels in port. Moreover, there are not enough alternatives for species such as Alaska pollack and Russian cod and the lack of vegetable oil is causing serious difficulties for the canning industry.