Spain leads call for EU fleet aid
By Chris Dove, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain
20 September, 2012
Spain’s fisheries minister Miguel Arias Cañete is at the forefront of a campaign to continue European Union subsidies for scrapping member states’ vessels and modernizing the fleet.
Under the Common Fisheries Policy program 2007-2013, Spain has the backing of France, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia in calling for subsidies to be retained throughout the next financial program covering 2014-2020.
Of the CFP’s current EUR 4.3 billion (USD 5.6 billion) budget, 27 percent is allocated to adaptation of the fleet.
In a letter to European Commission Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki and the Cyprus government as current president of the European Council, the signatories warn of the necessity to provide public aid to adjust fleet capacity, manage temporary and permanent fishing cessations and meet new sustainable fisheries targets under CFP objectives of achieving maximum sustainable yield.
“We ask that the future European Fisheries Fund includes actions to modernize fishing vessels without increasing capacity,” Cañete explained, referring to “the large group of countries aligned in Spain’s direction. We couldn’t move from a system which provides aid to a system where they are totally eliminated.”
In a similar move this week, Spain’s socialist party, the PSOE-A, called on the CFP to provide safe and adequate funding for the artisanal fisheries sector represented by smaller vessel operators, a sector of vital importance to the Andalusian economy.
PSOE-A took the matter to the Andalusian Parliament’s Fisheries Committee on Wednesday, claiming that the CFP does not guarantee the industry’s viability, making it necessary to assert their demands to European authorities to ensure a stable future.
20 September, 2012