Draft rules for allocating European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), aid to help fishermen to comply with new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) requirements were approved by a show of hands in Parliament on Wednesday. This aid will help fishermen to comply with the discard ban, e.g. by buying more selective fishing gear, but will also be used to improve safety and working conditions, data collection and port infrastructure. MEPs will now start negotiating the final rules with member states.
"With this vote, Parliament has provided a good future for our model of sustainable fisheries, which means first and foremost concrete measures to eliminate overfishing, and good management of fleet capacity, while enabling fishermen to make a living from fishing", said rapporteur Alain Cadec (EPP, FR).
Towards sustainable fisheries in the EU
To give effect to Parliament's agreement with the Council on the forthcoming CFP, which obliges member states to set sustainable fishing quotas from 2015 and introduces a ban on discarding unwanted fish, the EMFF will help fishermen to comply with the new rules by supporting investments in more selective fishing gear or equipment to facilitate handling, landing and storage of unwanted catches.
More data for better fisheries management
The EMFF will also fund the collection and management of fisheries data for example needed to set the Maximum Sustainable Yield required by the new CFP rules (MSY, meaning the largest catch that can be safely taken year after year and which maintains the fish population size at maximum productivity)..
Parliament also added EMFF support for withdrawing, replacing or modernising engines, provided that the new engine's power output is at least 40 % less than that of the engine it replaces. However, an amendment to reintroduce fleet renewal subsidies was rejected.
Support for young fishermen
MEPs also amended the EMFF proposal to allow fishermen under 35 years old to be granted up to €100,000 in individual start-up support if they buy a small-scale and coastal fishing vessel of between 5 and 20 years old and have five years' professional experience in the sector.
Simpler rules, better control and enforcement
The Common Fisheries Policy and the Integrated Maritime Policy will both be funded through the EMFF, on the grounds that using a single fund will help to simplify and integrate the two policies. Using the EMFF to fund control and enforcement measures should also help to ensure that CFP rules are duly observed.
The plenary voted to open negotiations with Council on the EMFF in the coming weeks. Any agreement struck would then be put to a vote in the Fisheries Committee before seeking final approval by the full House.
Procedure: Co-decision (Ordinary Legislative Procedure), 1st reading