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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Agreement on European maritime and fisheries fund

At the last Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries held in Brussels on 15 July 2013, ministers reached an agreement for a full general approach on a proposal for the European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF) within the framework of the common fisheries policy (CFP) reform package. The new fund would have a total allocation of EUR 6.396 billion.

This agreement on budgetary issues achieves the work initiated by the Council in October last year when a partial general approach was reached on technical aspects. It will enable the Council to start negotiations on the EMFF with the European Parliament during the Autumn.
The PECH Committee of the European Parliament had previously (on 11 July) endorsed the Commission's proposal that the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) becomes the main financial instrument to achieve the ambitious reforms of the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

The fund is supposed to help fishermen adapt to the key principles of the reform, such as preserving fish stocks by better aligning catches with scientific advice and implementing a discard ban, the Council informs.
The EMFF is structured around four pillars:
•    smart green fisheries, expected to enable a smooth transition to sustainable fishing;
•    smart green aquaculture;
•    sustainable and inclusive development of communities depending on fisheries;
•    cross-sectoral maritime policies.
In addition to these four pillars, it will finance  a series of measures including data collection, scientific advice, controls, governance and technical assistance.

Despite a ban on EU public support for construction of new fishing vessels in 2002, the PECH Committee voted to re-introduce EMFF support for the replacement of small scale coastal fishing vessels older than 35 years. The PECH Committee also voted to reintroduce a number of fleet subsidies in particular for temporary cessation of fishing activities.

Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said that the Commission's proposal was more ambitious than the position of the majority in the Fisheries Committee, as it would put an end to the ineffective subsidies of the past, which would have contributed to overfishing and to the economic decline of the fishing sector. She specified that in the trialogues following the plenary, the Commission will stand for an EMFF which supports the reform – which she characterizes as ambitious - of the Common Fisheries Policy agreed a few weeks ago.


The new fund is to replace the existing European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and a number of other instruments. The EMFF regulation (as well as the other regulations forming the CFP reform package –basic and marker regulation – agreed on also on 15 July) are expected to become operational in January 2014.

Source: Council of the EU, European Commission