Ireland North West MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher has welcomed the outcome of a key vote on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) which was approved by the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries in Brussels earlier this week.
The fund will be used to co-finance projects, along with national funding, over the period 2014 to 2020. The EU under the MFF agreement will contribute up to EUR 6.5 billion.
The Committee on Fisheries, of which Mr. Gallagher is a full member, voted to specify the projects that will be eligible for funding over the next seven years. The EMFF is the third and final part of the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and again is subject to co-decision with the European Parliament, EU Fish Ministers and the European Commission.
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP stated today “I am delighted that my amendment which will enable small ports that have experienced declines in fish landings to receive funding was passed. Small and declining ports are already at a disadvantage compared to larger ports and must be able to offset this by developing marine infrastructure to enable diversification strategies to increase marine tourism as well as water based activities. Moreover all ports, large and small, will be able to improve their facilities, including the supply of ice and modernisation of quays.”
Pat the Cope also stated that “I am extremely pleased that my amendments concerning direct funding under the EMFF to the Producer Organisations received the backing of the Committee. This is extremely important as the PO’s will be the cornerstone of the new CFP and will have a key role in the implementation of the discard ban.”
Pat the Cope confirmed that he supported amendments tabled by the Rapporteur, French MEP Alain Cadec on funding for young fishermen and the renewal of fishing boats.
Pat the Cope stated that “the Committee have recommended that young fishermen under 35 years of age shall receive start up funding. The principle of supporting young farmers is enshrined in the CAP and I believe young fishermen should also receive similar help from the EU.”
Pat the Cope stated on the issue of fleet renewal “I supported the position of the Rapporteur despite concerns by NGO’s that such funding would contribute to over fishing which I believe to be scaremongering. The amendment proposed by the Rapporteur only permits funding for the renewal of the small scale fleet and for boats older than 35 years. There are also health and safety factors involved which must be taken into consideration with boats older than 35 years.”
Next Steps: The European Parliament will vote on the recommendation by the Committee during the week commencing the 7th of October. After the Plenary vote, trialogue negotiations between the European Parliament, Council Presidency (Lithuania) and the European Commission will begin.