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Commission unveils new fisheries fund
Tuesday, 06 December 2011 15:06

The European Commission has proposed a new fund, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) worth EUR6.5bn, to replace the European Fisheries Fund and other instruments, for the period 2014 to 2020. The new fund will help deliver the objectives of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) by supporting projects that will assist fishermen in the transition to sustainable fisheries, facilitiate the introduction of a ban on discards, help coastal communities diversify their economies, and create jobs and improve the quality of life along European coasts.

According to a Commission press release, to reduce pressure on stocks and marine ecosystems, one of the key objectives of the reform of the CFP that the Commission proposed in July, EMFF will give fishermen the incentives they need to fish sustainably. The fund will switch support from decommissioning of fishing vessels to increasing aid to the small scale coastal fleet, which plays an important role for many coastal communities. For the first time the fund will support maritime projects such as integrated maritime surveillance, maritime spatial planning, and marine knowledge.

The new fund received a mixed response from stakeholders. The decision to end support for scrapping vessels was met with regret by Europeche and Copa-Cogeca, the organisations representing the fisheries and farming sectors respectively inEurope. On the other hand, the WWF, while welcoming the decision to end support for decommissioning, expressed concern about proposed allocations for modernisation of equipment and aquaculture and called for strict safeguards to prevent the funds from being used for activities that could harm the environment.

By integrating existing financial tools into a single instrument, the EMFF hopes to cut red tape another objective in the overall simplification of administration.