More than 300,000 euros granted to impacted fishermen

More than 300,000 euros granted to impacted fishermen

The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced on Monday the granting of aid worth 302,000 euros to fishermen and shipowners following the cessation of activity following the the end of the fishing agreement between the European Union (EU) and Morocco. This aid will benefit a total of 11 vessels.

In the Official State Bulletin (BOE) published on Monday July 17 (expiry date of the Morocco-EU fisheries agreement), the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food published two orders aimed at compensating the vessels affected by the cessation of activity following the end of the agreement, which benefited the fleet of Andalusia, Galicia and the Canary Islands.

This aid amounts to 120,000 euros for shipowners and 182,000 euros for crew members, 50% co-financed by European Union (EU) funds, for the period from July 18 to September 30, 2023 .

Under the agreement, which expires on Monday, Spain has obtained 92 of the 128 licenses to fish in Moroccan waters. However, only 21 vessels have applied for a license for the years 2021, 2022 or 2023, according to Spanish ministry sources quoted by Iberian media.

Only 11 vessels fished for at least 20 days over the three-year period from 2021 to 2023. These 11 trawlers also fulfill the condition set by the European Commission of not having received more than 180 days of aid for a temporary stop between 2014 and 2023“, specified the same sources.

Consequently, only these 11 vessels will be able to benefit from this aid, including 7 from Andalusia and 4 from the Canary Islands. The ministerial sources also indicated that the government is studying the possibility of providing additional state aid to compensate other vessels affected, in particular 6 vessels from Andalusia which have fished for more than 20 days between 2021 and 2023, but which have already reached the aid ceiling of 180 days for the temporary cessation, financed by European funds.

It should be noted that the mentioned ceiling refers to the limits established in the previous budgetary programming of the fisheries funds (2014-2023) of the former European Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

On the Moroccan side, the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, announced last Wednesday that a meeting of the Morocco-EU joint committee on fisheries will be held this week in Brussels, confirming the end of the initial agreement of 4 years.

“The government is currently reflecting on the strategy to be implemented in the fishing sector”, he added, emphasizing the need to establish a “more advanced, because the current scheme, which consists of receiving financial compensation for the right to fish, is no longer appropriate. Morocco’s objective is to create real added value”.

As a reminder, the fisheries agreement between the European Union and Morocco is of great political importance for Spain, and its future is conditioned by a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union concerning an action brought before the European judges.


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