The EU Commission has proposed a legislative amendment to the EMFF that would allow additional crisis measures to help the EU fishery and aquaculture sectors weather the effects of the war in Ukraine.

This complements the first package of crisis measures adopted under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) on 25 March. It comprises financial compensation for additional costs, for lost income and for the storage of products, and for the temporary cessation of fishing in areas where it is currently unsafe.

The new proposals use funds left over from the 2014- 2020 EMFF. EU fisheries commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicˇius said: “The fishery and aquaculture sectors are heavily impacted by the war in Ukraine. There are still financial resources available under the EMFF. With this proposal, we give the possibility to member states to reallocate them to specific measures mitigating the socio- economic impact of the crisis.”

Once the new proposals have been adopted by the EU parliament and Council, member states will be able to quickly grant financial support for additional costs and economic losses stemming from the crisis.

Welcoming the earlier package of support measures under the EMFAF, Javier Garat, president of Europêche, said: “The sector certainly welcomes the European Commission’s rapid action to unlock funding so that member states can provide as a matter of urgency financial aid to our fishermen.

“Given the fact that governments are reacting differently to the situation and adopting measures at a different pace and extent, it is now fundamental that the Commission pushes national authorities to quickly put in place these authorised measures and reduce red tape to guarantee a level playing field.

“Equally important is to produce as soon as possible a guidance document for member states to better understand whether different aid schemes can be cumulated. Certainly our fishers need all the support they can get.”

EU industry leaders also renewed their call for measures to be put in place to allow underutilised 2022 quotas to be carried over to next year, given that many vessels will have no choice but to tie up until their overheads reduce.

EAPO president Esben Sverdrup-Jensen said: “Fishing vessels have been in port for a long time and the fish seasons for certain species will be over soon, for instance blue whiting. To tackle the situation we need to provide fishers the option to carry over more than the existing 10% of their fishing quotas to next year.

“After all, this is a key free- of-charge measure that was already put in place back in 2015 with the Russian invasion to Crimea. This will secure employment and income. We need to prepare for every future scenario.”

He added: “We welcome the Commission’s commitment to analyse the situation on a case-by-case basis based on quota consumption. We support the request for ICES advice for the affected fish stocks to analyse the feasibility of quota banking. It is in everybody’s interest to secure the sustainability of the fish populations.”

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.


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