A group of 16 member states have presented a joint statement demanding more subsidies for aquaculture.
The member states want to keep support measures that exist today under the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) but are not included in the proposal for the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). More precisely, the declaration points out that “the elimination of the traditional investment supports would have a serious adverse effect primarily on small and medium-sized enterprises.”
The signatories call on the Commission and the Presidencies “to reinstate the support for sustainable productive investments in aquaculture such as fish farms and fish culture facilities (ponds, hatcheries, recirculation systems) in the draft EMFF proposal”.
The declaration was presented at the Council meeting 19 March, and signed by Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Isn’t aquaculture support already in the EMFF?
The proposal for the new EMFF already contains several articles on aquaculture and includes most of the elements that exist in the current fund EFF – so what exactly is the declaration calling for?
Officials said the declaration is referring to Article 29 in the EFF (Measures for productive investments in aquaculture) and that ‘traditional investments’ mean for instance pond construction/modernisation, hatcheries constructions/modernisation or construction of recirculation systems.
“Continuation of these measures under the EMFF is key for keeping sustainable production of aquaculture in the regions concerned whereby ensuring positive socio-economic impacts. And in the Czech Republic in particular, the freshwater aquaculture in some regions is a part of long history dating back to 15th century,” a Czech official wrote in an email.