Spain welcomes EMFF agreement

By

Pilar Caride, SeafoodSourcecontributing editor, reporting from Vigo, Spain

Published on
February 24, 2014
The European Parliament and the European Commission reached an agreement late in January on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) worth USD 8.7 billion (EUR 6.4 billion), and both administrators and the fishing sector see it as favoring the Spanish fishing fleet.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama by their Spanish initials) and the Galician Federation of Fishermen's Guild both highlighted as positive the incorporation of measures as the scrapping of vessels, as well as the measures in favor of investments on board and temporary cessation.

The Ministry also pointed out the incorporation of investments to carry out innovation projects or investments relative to traceability, the use of underexploited species or to implement new campaigns of production, among others.

The president of the Galician Federation of Fishermen's Guild, Benito González, agrees with the Spanish Ministry emphasizing positively the investments on board by public money. "There is one initiative that we have defended so much, as the French people, that it is the fund for engine replacement, in order to have more competitive and ecofriendly ships," he told SeafoodSource.

González also said he sees the provision of funds for temporary cessation as another important and positive measure. "It is necessary because in Galicia, I prefer the temporary cessation instead of getting into so many scrappings, of course some of them are necessary, but more scrapping involves loose working capacity." In addition, he said that this measure contributes to a better management of resources.

These measures so welcome by the sector have been the aspects more criticized by NGOs such as Greenpeace, who argue that these initiatives help to increase the fishing capacity and contribute to an oversized fleet. According to González, the conditions for engine replacement contribute only to a more economically efficient and environmental boat and to the security of the vessel. "They do not allow to increase the power, only is allowed to get a more modern engine, with less consumption and less pollutant," he said.

Javier Touza, president of the Cooperative of Shipowners port of Vigo (Arvi), told SeafoodSource he was more cautious at the moment of assessing this agreement, since he thinks that "It will be necessary to wait to have more information on the amounts that are going to be assigned to Spain for achieving the aims of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)."

Although he welcomed the funds to producers' organizations, "I think that such funds will help to these organizations to fulfill the aims of the CFP through production and commercialization programs, in that sense they are positive." Finally, he was concerned for the structural adjustments helps of the fleet. "They must have public help and we do not know if this is going to be enough," said Javier Touza.

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