The European Parliament in Strasbourg voted last week on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

In total, the fund is worth EUR 6.5 billion for the period 2014 to 2020. The fund is designed to support the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy and is a critically important financial fund for coastal communities throughout Ireland.

The European Parliament supported the following key initiatives:

  • · A new scheme for young fishermen under 35 years;
  • · New funding for small ports affected by declines 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.

Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP (Ireland North West-Midlands) stated today:

“I delighted that my amendment calling for the provision of funding for small ports has received the endorsement of the European Parliament. These small ports have experienced declines in fish landings and support is badly needed to allow these ports to diversify into new economic areas such as water based activities.”

“Young fishermen under 35 years will also receive funding under the EMFF to help them set up and establish themselves in the sector. This is extremely welcome.”

“I am pleased that the report includes new support for Producer Organisation’s for the development of production and marketing plans. I initially put forward these amendments as the PO’s will act as the cornerstone of the New Common Fisheries Policy. For example, PO’s will be tasked with the responsibility of managing the obligation to land discards. Funding under the EMFF is therefore essential. Furthermore, the processing sector will also be entitled to support for a range of measures such as the development of new and innovative processing techniques.”

“In addition, I was central to securing support for the establishment of a targeted de-commissioning scheme. This is important as both targeted and precise decommissioning is the most effective way of reducing capacity and returning fleets to profitability.”

“I am pleased that the Parliament has supported increased funding for data collection, control and the inclusion of all stakeholders on the Advisory Councils. Finally, I am pleased that the Parliament decided to remove the restrictions on funding for aquaculture in Natura 2000 sites as contained in the draft report. The initial proposal was very damaging to Ireland as up to 90% of fish farms in Ireland may have been affected.”