A political agreement on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is now in place following protracted negotiations between the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers.
The fund is worth EUR 6.5 billion to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in the EU for the period 2014 to 2020. Negotiations on the EMFF broke down before Christmas due to a disagreement over the allocation of funding for data collection and control. MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher can confirm that a broad political agreement including all technical issues is now in place at an EU level.
Mr Gallagher stated today “I am pleased that a broad political agreement is in place for the EMFF, which is the last major EU fund still to be formally adopted for the period 2014 to 2020.”
“The EMFF is vitally important to coastal communities throughout Ireland as it is designed to support the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy.”
“I believe that the main aspects contained in the EMFF agreement will help to maintain employment in the fisheries sector and in peripheral coastal communities dependent on fisheries.”
“I am particularly pleased that an amendment, which I originally tabled in the European Parliament, calling for the provision of funding for small ports has been included in the final agreement. My amendment will allow the Government to ring fence funding for small ports that have experienced declining fish landings. The provision of seed capital is badly required to allow these ports to diversify into new economic activities.”
Mr Gallagher confirmed that the agreement will now be put to a vote in the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament before a vote in the Plenary of the European Parliament in April.
The political agreement includes the following key initiatives:
- · A new scheme for young fishermen under the age of 40;
- · New funding for small ports affected by a decline in fish landings to allow for diversification;
- · Funding for quality and safety initiatives;
- · The establishment of a targeted de-commissioning scheme;
- · Support for Producer Organisations to help them implement the production and marketing plans including the discard ban;
- · Support for a range of measures for the Processing sector such as improvements and innovative manufacturing techniques;
- · Support for greater gear selectivity so as to reduce discards by avoiding them in the first place;
- · Increased funding for fisheries data collection and control;
- · Member States including Ireland with a significant small scale fleet will have to prepare an Action Plan for the development, competitiveness and sustainability of these fisheries.