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EU reaches informal deal on fisheries and aquaculture fund

Monday, December 7, 2020

European Commission, the Council and the Parliament reached a provisional political agreement on how to disperse the €6.108 billion budget of the 2021-2027 European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF).

In line with the objectives of the European Green Deal and Sustainable Development Goal 14, it provides an ambitious support package for the achievement of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, the development of local coastal communities, the promotion of a sustainable blue economy, the implementation of the Union’s maritime policy towards safe and sustainably managed seas and oceans, and for international ocean governance.

The new EMFAF will particularly support small-scale coastal fisheries and vessels up to 24 meters as well as promote aquaculture. The three institutions also agreed on a crisis management scheme to allow emergency support to the fishery and aquaculture sector in case of a significant disruption of the market.

Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, welcomed the agreement. “With the new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, we will be able to invest in improving the health, safety and working conditions on board fishing vessels, while at the same time ensuring that the EU fleet is sustainable. We made sure that no subsidy at EU level would risk harmful effects leading to overfishing and overcapacity, something the commission has been most vigilant about throughout the process. This agreement also sends a strong signal for the ongoing negotiations on fisheries subsidies at WTO level,” Sinkevičius said.

Following this agreement, and the agreement on the Common Provisions Regulation earlier this week, the framework for the new EMFAF is complete. Once formally endorsed by all institutions and upon final adoption of the EU long-term budget for 2021-2027, it would allow member states to finalize their national plans so that the funds can reach the beneficiaries as soon as possible.

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