December 05, 2011

Maritime & Fisheries fund unveiled

On 2 December, the European Commission proposed that, of a total budget of EUR7.5 billion to be directed to fisheries and maritime affairs for 2014-2020, EUR6.5 billion would be earmarked for the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The new fund expands the range of the current European Fisheries Fund (EFF), which will run its course in 2013.

The EMFF is geared to address the ambitious sustainability requirements recommended in the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which is currently under negotiation, as well as taking account of the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. As such, with the intention of contributing to vibrant employment creation, it will prioritise investments related to incentivising the transition to sustainable fishing practices to reverse declines in stocks; energy efficiency and reduction of the carbon footprint; environmental protection of marine ecosystems including through scientific input; improved product quality; and quality of life in coastal areas.

Almost EUR5 billion of the total is reserved for supporting fisheries, aquaculture and the bottom-up local development of coastal communities. This is to cover social and economic activities in the form of aid for small-scale fishing; training and investments in safety and improved working conditions; and diversification of maritime activities, including tourism, catering and added-value products. By contrast, a number of previously-supported activities will no longer be eligible. These are: increases to fishing vessels' capacity; the building of new vessels; dismantling or import of vessels; temporary cessation of fishing activity; experimental fisheries; transfer of ownership of fishing companies; and (most) stock recovery operations.

A little over EUR1 billion has been earmarked for control measures, data collection and implementing the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP). The latter will provide support for activities where greater cooperation and coordination across national jurisdictions and sectors can help avoid duplications and reduce costs such as maritime spatial planning, maritime surveillance and marine knowledge. In its current form, the establishing of a support programme for the development of an IMP for 2011-2013 has recently been granted a EUR40 million budget by the European Parliament.

The EMFF will be better aligned than its predecessor with the regional, social and rural development funds under a regulation establishing common rules and implementing arrangements and enabling a blending of the different sources of EU support where necessary without overlap. The total budget will be allocated to the Member States based on the importance of the fisheries sector in each country. Each Member State will design an operational programme for approval by the Commission, specifying how they intend to spend the money allocated. Decisions on precisely which projects or activities are to be financed will be made nationally.

Further details:

Posted by iroronan at December 5, 2011 04:54 PM

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