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8. EU aid and incentives

8.5. European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)

For the 2014-2020 period, a new Fund was created for EU maritime and fishery policies known as the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) and regulated in Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 15 May 2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2328/2003, (EC) No 861/2006, (EC) No 1198/2006 and (EC) No 791/2007, and Regulation (EU) No 1255/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council19.

Pursuant to the aforesaid Regulation and in line with the “2020 European Strategy” and with the start-up of the Common Fisheries Policy, the Fund pursues the following priorities concerning the sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities and connected activities:

  • Fostering environmentally sustainable, resource efficient, innovative, competitive and knowledge-based fisheries, by pursuing the following specific objectives:
    1. The reduction of the impact of fisheries on the marine environment, including the avoidance and reduction, as far as possible, of unwanted catches.
    2. The protection and restoration of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystem.
    3. The ensuring of a balance between fishing capacity and available fishing opportunities.
    4. The enhancement of the competitiveness and viability of fisheries enterprises, including small-scale coastal fleet and the improvement of safety and working conditions.
    5. The provision of support to strengthen technological development and innovation, including increasing energy efficiency and knowledge transfer.
    6. The development of professional training, new professional skills and lifelong learning.
  • Fostering environmentally sustainable, resource efficient, innovative, competitive and knowledge-based aquaculture, by pursuing the following specific objectives:
    1. The provision of support to strengthen technological development, innovation and knowledge transfer.
    2. The enhancement of the competitiveness and viability of aquaculture enterprises, including the improvement of safety and working conditions, in particular of SMEs.
    3. The protection and restoration of aquatic biodiversity and the enhancement of ecosystems related to aquaculture and the promotion of resource-efficient aquaculture.
    4. The promotion of aquaculture having a high level of environmental protection, and the promotion of animal health and welfare and of public health and safety.
    5. The development of professional training, new professional skills and lifelong learning.
  • Fostering the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy by pursuing the following specific objectives:
    1. The improvement and supply of scientific knowledge as well as the improvement of the collection and management of data.
    2. The provision of support for monitoring, control and for the enhancing of institutional capacity and the efficiency of public administration, without increasing the administrative burden.
  • Increasing employment and territorial cohesion by pursuing the specific objective consisting of the promotion of economic grown, social inclusion and job creation, and providing support to employability and labor mobility in coastal and inland communities which depend on fishing and aquaculture, including the diversification of activities within fisheries and into other sectors of maritime economy.
  • Fostering marketing and processing by pursuing the following specific objectives:
    1. The improvement of market organization for fishing and aquaculture products.
    2. The encouragement of investment in the processing and marketing sectors.
  • Lastly, fostering the implementation of the Integrated Maritime Policy, i.e., the Union policy whose aim is to foster coordinated and coherent decision-making to maximize the sustainable development, economic growth and social cohesion of Member States. In particular, promoting the developing of maritime industries in the coastal, insular and outermost regions in the Union, through coherent maritime-related policies and international cooperation criteria.

The EMFF had a budget of €5,749,331,600 for the shared management measures, i.e., those taken in cooperation with the Member States and in compliance with the common provisions set forth in Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013.

A breakdown of allocations between the Member States is provided below:

In the case of Spain, there has been a specific Operating Program pertaining to this Fund in force since November 13, 2015, managed by the Directorate-General of Fisheries under the Secretariat-General of Fisheries of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, with a total budget of €1,161,620,889.

The European Commission is already preparing the EMFF for the new 2021-2027 budgetary framework. In general, the proposal includes a budget of 6.14 billion euros, which will be used to attain the following objectives: (i) to promote sustainable fishing and the conservation of marine biological resources; (ii) to contribute to EU food safety through aquaculture and sustainable and competitive markets; (iii) to enable the growth of a sustainable blue economy and to develop prosperous coastal communities; and (iv) to strengthen the international governance of oceans and to guarantee protected, safe, clean and sustainably managed seas and oceans.

19 Regulation (EU) 2020/560 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2020 amending Regulations (EU) No 508/2014 and (EU) 1379/2013 as regards specific measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in the fishery and the aquaculture sector (OJEU of 24 April 2020). The main measures adopted in the context of this Regulation include most notably the following::

  • It is possible to use 10% of the resources available from the EMFF under shared management for fisheries control and for the collection of scientific data, for measures related to the mitigation of the COVID-19 outbreak and for the compensation of additional costs in the outermost regions.
  • It is possible to support the temporary cessation of fishing activities caused by the COVID-19 outbreak crisis with a maximum co-financing rate of 75% of eligible pubic expenditure, not subject to financial capping.
  • The scope of the simplified procedure is extended to include amendments to Operational Programmes related to the specific measures and the reallocation of financial resources thereto to address the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The ceiling for support to the production and marketing plans of producer organizations is increased up to 12% of the average annual value of the production placed on the market.
  • Member States are permitted to grant advances of between 50% and 100% of the financial support to producer organizations.
  • Where necessary in order to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the EMFF will be able to grant aid to compensate the storage costs of fishery and aquaculture products. The intensity of the aid is increased up to 25% of the annual quantities of the products put up for sale by the producer organization concerned. Member States will also be able to set trigger prices immediately, where they had not done so prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, so that their producer organizations trigger the storage mechanism.
  • EMFF support will also be available for measures to compensate the economic losses resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak for operators in the fishing, farming, processing and marketing of certain fishery and aquaculture products from the outermost regions, in particular those resulting from the deterioration in the price of fish or increased storage costs. The Commission should approve, without delay, such measures proposed by Member States.