Last night, Fisheries Ministers passed one of the last hurdles in the negotiations on the reformed European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) by reaching an agreement on the criteria that will be used to determine how the money will be allocated and spent. While Oceana was pleased to see Ministers steer clear of reintroducing subsidies to build new boats, the decision to double the amount of subsidies provided to the outermost regions, thereby increasing their share to 30 million EUR, is unwelcome as it fails to address structural problems. As details of the Council vote still trickle in, the international marine conservation organization is hopeful for a positive outcome of the negotiations this Fall.
“Hopefully, Fisheries Ministers will put their money where their mouth is and maintain the proposed increase in budget allocation for data collection and control measures,” stated Xavier Pastor, executive director of Oceana in Europe.
Oceana is however concerned at the Council’s lenient approach to the establishment of conditional access to subsidies – which would block funding for fishermen involved in illegal practices and infringements of the Common Fisheries Policy. The Parliament, in this case has been stronger on this issue.
The EMFF is scheduled for a vote in the plenary session of the Parliament in October. The text agreed by the European Ministers will provide the Lithuanian presidency with a mandate to start negotiations with the European Parliament after the 766 Members of Parliament have cast their vote.