Among the main objectives of the EP are to support the blue economy, biodiversity and international governance of the oceans
The EP on Tuesday adopted the fisheries and aquaculture fund for 2021-2027. Supporting the blue economy, biodiversity and international ocean governance are among its objectives.
The new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (FEMPA) calls on Member States to invest to make the fisheries and aquaculture sectors more competitive and to develop a sustainable blue economy, as well as new markets and technologies. Protecting and restoring biodiversity are also among the priorities. At least 15% of national budget allocations should be dedicated to actions to boost fisheries monitoring and data collection, and to combat illegal and irregular fishing.
At the request of Parliament, Member States will have to meet the needs of small-scale coastal fisheries and specify what they plan to do to promote their development, thus adopting specific measures for inshore fisheries and the outermost regions.
As for the difficulties of the more remote regions, such as the Canary Islands, the additional costs that they have to face due to their location will continue to be compensated.
Other relevant measures
To encourage the employment of young people in fishing communities, where the average age of workers is over 50, the new Fund will be able to finance the purchase of the first boat, or partial ownership (at least 33%) for those under the age of 50. 40 with at least five years of experience, or an equivalent certifying degree.
Among other measures, it has been approved that fishermen who temporarily interrupt their activity for conservation reasons will receive compensation; Likewise, those who have to scrap their boat due to the permanent cessation of the activity will also have support; and there will be financing for the purchase of the necessary equipment to comply with European rules on landing and fishing controls – such as devices for tracking vessels or for reporting catches.
The actions framed in the Fund must not lead to an increase in fishing capacity, except if it is derived directly from the increase in the gross tonnage necessary to improve safety, working conditions or energy efficiency.
Gabriel Mato (PPE, Spain) noted: “The new Fund was negotiated at a difficult time. The European fleet lost important fishing grounds due to Brexit, the fish supply chain was paralyzed due to the pandemic, as well as pressure to reach an agreement in the WTO on fisheries subsidies. In addition, the young generation is reluctant to work in the sector, emissions must be reduced, in line with the Green Deal and international obligations, and aquaculture production is stagnating, while in other countries the sector is prospering. The Fund aims to mitigate the impact of these challenges.
Spain is the country that has received the most funding from this fund in the 2014-2020 period, with 1,200 million euros, ahead of France, Italy and Poland, according to data from the European Parliament. In addition, it is the third country with the largest fleet in the EU with 8,886 ships in operation, 10% of the total fleet, according to data collected in 2019 by the European Commission. According to the latest report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Spain is the EU country with the most jobs linked to the blue economy: 27% of EU jobs in coastal tourism and 17% in resources living sailors are Spanish.