The EU Commission has activated the crisis mechanism of the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) to support the EU fishery and aquaculture sectors in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

This step, taken on 25 March, will bring ‘immediate relief to operators of the fishery, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors through financial compensation for their economic losses and additional costs’, says the Commision. It will enable member states to grant financial compensation to operators for lost income as a result of market disruption, as well as ‘storage aid’ to producer organisations.

This step is in addition to the activation of the EU’s Temporary Crisis Framework, which enables member states to provide support through state aid.

Many EU vessels are currently tied up because the current high price of fuel is making it uneconomic to go to sea, and others are working on very low margins. Vessels operating in
the Black Sea are also facing the threat of possible military activity, leading to a precautionary suspension of their activity.

Fisheries commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicˇius said: “The war in Ukraine is a war against all of us. Our fisheries, aquaculture and processing sectors are hit hard due to high energy, oxygen and raw material prices. This is the second time in the past years after the Covid-19 pandemic, so we are again taking quick action to support them in this turmoil.

“These emergency crisis measures should not in any way impede our long-term efforts towards structural energy transition of the fishery and aquaculture sectors to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal.”

The newly activated mechanism allows member states to grant two types of crisis measures:

  • Financial compensation to operators in the fishery, aquaculture and processing sectors for foregone income and additional costs stemming from the current market disruption. Additional energy costs can be covered by the compensation if they are linked to the market disruption caused by the war in Ukraine.
  • Financial compensation to POs if they implement the storage mechanism of the common organisation of the markets (‘storage aid’). This mechanism allows POs to store the products of their members as a way to secure a satisfactory market price.

The EMFAF crisis mechanism is a temporary measure. It applies retroactively as of 24 February, the date on which Russia invaded Ukraine, and will last until the end of 2022.

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


Subscribe to Fishing News magazine today; never miss an issue and save 55%!