MEP Pat The Cope Gallagher has welcomed the European Parliament’s approval this week of the €6.bn European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), 2014-2020.
He called the monies, which will help support the Irish fisheries and aquaculture, “a critically important financial fund for coastal communities throughout Ireland and the North West”.
The North West MEP also welcomed the EP’s decision to back a number of key initiatives, many of which he had proposed and lobbied for.
These include: a new scheme for young fishermen under 35 years of age; new funding for small ports affected by declines in fish landings to allow for diversification; funding for quality and safety initiatives; the establishment of a targeted de-commissioning scheme; support for producer organisations to help them implement production and marketing plans, including the discard ban; support for a range of measures for the processing sector such as improvements and innovative manufacturing techniques; support for greater gear selectivity so as to reduce discards by avoiding them in the first place; and increased funding for fisheries data collection and control.
He said: “I am delighted that my amendment calling for the provision of funding for small ports has received the endorsement of the European Parliament. These small ports have experienced declines in fish landings and support is badly needed to allow these ports to diversify into new economic areas such as water based activities.
“I am also pleased that the Parliament decided to remove the restrictions on funding for aquaculture in Natura 2000 sites, as contained in the draft report. The initial proposal was very damaging to Ireland, as up to 90% of fish farms in Ireland may have been affected.”
The proposed EMFF Regulation is not yet finalised. The fund is still subject to agreement between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. Negotiations are set to begin this week.