MEPs adopted on Wednesday a deal with EU governments on providing EU fisheries and aquaculture sectors with financial support to alleviate the consequences of the war, by 620 votes in favour, 10 against and 9 abstentions.
The measure would support fishers who had to cease their activities due to the war in Ukraine as well as producers and fishing and aquaculture operators whose activities were disrupted as a consequence of the Russian aggression. MEPs also agreed with the Council to amend the proposal to include also those operators and producers whose economic viability was negatively impacted by the war and the processing sector.
Member states would be able to adjust the rules to use the remaining resources available in the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for the 2014-2020 programming period. The compensation would cover operators and producers’ lost income as well as additional costs incurred because of the war such as the increase in energy, raw materials and fish feed prices.
The aid would be provided retroactively from 24 February 2022, when the Russian aggression started, at a co-financing rate of 75%.
“This financial package will allow additional crisis measures to be used to support the EU fishery and aquaculture sectors in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In particular, funding will be made available to compensate for additional costs, for income forgone and for the storage of products, as well as for the temporary cessation of fishing activities. As for the latter measure, thanks to the European Parliament, aid will be extended for companies that temporarily cannot continue fishing due to economic constraints,” said EP rapporteur Nuno Melo (EPP, PT) following the vote.
Following the final plenary approval, the Council of the EU ministers will have to formally adopt the deal. It will enter into the force following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
In 2019, the EU fishing fleet employed 129 540 fishers directly and totalled 73 983 vessels. Aquaculture employed around 75 000 people, with the processing industry comprising around 3 500 companies. Part of the EU fleet has ceased operating due to decreasing profitability and increasing marine fuel and fish feed prices as a result of the military conflict. Supply chain and market disruption have led to shortages also felt by seafood farming and processing sectors.
More information: European Parliament – Press release