Brussels has told EU fishermen’s organisations Europêche and EAPO it is looking at ‘all possible options’ to help the EU fishing industry to weather the current high fuel costs and other difficulties caused by the Ukraine war, Covid and Brexit.

Replying to a letter sent on 10 March by the two organisations spelling out the extent of the problems, fisheries commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius (pictured above) stressed that the Commission was ‘actively listening to the concerns of all stakeholders, closely monitoring the socio-economic situation, and assessing impacts’.

“The operation of businesses across all sectors, all the way along the supply chain, has been disrupted. This includes fisheries, aquaculture and processing, and it has short- and long-term consequences,” wrote Virginijus Sinkevicius.

He told Europêche and EAPO: “Let me assure you that we are considering all possible options across the full range of instruments available. This includes an unprecedented level of sanctions to disable the Russian war effort, while also considering the impacts these sanctions could have on the EU fishing sector.

“The sanctions package is being complemented by actions to support EU operators and to help them both during the immediate crisis and to transition to a more resilient, energy-efficient and sustainable future operating model in line with our EU Green Deal objectives.”

This included looking at possible reallocation of existing funding under the 2014-2020 EMFF and at changes to its successor for 2021- 2027, EMFAF, as well as at EU state aid options, he said. “We are working to act quickly to address the needs of the fishing sector, including those set out in your letter.”

The commissioner asked the two groups to keep in close contact with the Commission and to ‘provide updated information on the state of play as the situation evolves’.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

Main image copyright: European Union, 2019

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