EU’s farthest-flung fisheries need funding, say MEPs
Young fishermen and fish farmers in the EU’s outermost regions (ORs) need financial help and incentives, including money for new boats, said Parliament on Thursday.
The non-legislative resolution was passed by 428 votes to 64, with 118 abstentions. An amendment to allow EU and national funding to renew the OR fleet was passed by 358 votes to 240, with 16 abstentions.
Commenting on the resolution and the amendment, rapporteur Ulrike Rodust (S&D, DE) said "I have tried to work out the best proposals for a possible solution. And I deplore the fact that the amendment has raised hopes which in my opinion cannot be fulfilled. This result does not correspond to the coherence of the Common Fisheries Policy and the European Maritime Fisheries Fund, respectively, and I doubt that it will pass legal scrutiny. Emphasis should be put on the aim of the Common Fisheries Policy to reach sustainable stocks and fisheries".
EU and national funding to renew fleet
The renewal funding amendment calls on the Commission to “allow the funding (at EU or national level) of the ORs’ artisanal and traditional fishing vessels which land all their catches in ports in the ORs and contribute to local sustainable development, so as to increase human safety, comply with European hygiene standards, fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and achieve greater environmental efficiency”.
MEPs nonetheless stipulated that “this fishing fleet renewal must remain within the limits of authorised capacity ceilings, must be restricted to the replacement of an old vessel by a new one, and must allow sustainable fishing and reaching the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) objective”.
New financial instrument for OR fisheries
MEPs ask the EU Commission “to look into the possibility of establishing, as soon as possible, an instrument specifically dedicated to supporting fisheries in the outermost regions, along the lines of the POSEI scheme for agriculture”.
Programmes of Options Specifically Relating to Remoteness and Insularity (POSEI), governed by POSEI Regulation No 228/2013, include specific measures for agriculture in the outermost regions, such as production and import subsidies.
Aquaculture and young fishermen
MEPs stress that the potential of aquaculture should be better exploited in the ORs, as it might result in new production possibilities and high-quality products, with strong support from the EU. They call on the Commission to encourage and support aquaculture development projects.
Better incentives should be created under a future European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to encourage young people to work in the maritime economy, particularly by means of vocational training and promoting measures which improve the incomes and job security, and improve overall sustainable organisation of the maritime economy in the ORs, says the text.
The EU’s nine “outermost regions” include are parts of France (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Réunion, Martinique, Mayotte and Saint-Martin), Portugal (Madeira and Azores) and Spain (Canary Islands). Article 349 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union sets out their defining features, which include remoteness, insularity, small size, difficult topography and climate, and economic dependence on a few products.
Procedure: non-legislative resolution