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Detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector
This Regulation lays down, for the period 2000 to 2006, the detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance to attain the objectives in the fisheries sector under the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) and to guide and encourage restructuring under the fisheries structural policy.
The mechanisms and rules regarding assistance put in place by this Regulation are based on the arrangements concerning the basic Regulation for the four Community Structural Funds to which the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) belongs (Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999).
The structural measures for fisheries seek to guide and facilitate the restructuring of the industry. This is urgent and necessary if fishing is to have a future, given the continuing imbalance between available resources and fishing capacity. Against this background no public aid leading to an increase in fishing effort is permitted.
Renewal and modernisation of the fishing fleet
Public aid administered by the Member States must comply with the rules relating to the conservation of fish stocks. Where necessary, these aids may facilitate the limiting and/or stopping of fishing.
Member States may adopt two types of measures qualifying for public aid to stop the activities of fishing vessels definitively. These comprise, subject to certain conditions relating to the age and the tonnage of the vessels:
- scrapping of the vessel;
- permanent reassignment of the vessel for a purpose other than fishing.
Public aid may be granted for the modernisation of the fleet and the adoption of more selective fishing techniques. Expenditure on equipment and modernisation will be ineligible for aid during the five years following the grant of public aid for the building of the vessel concerned (except for surveillance and acoustic deterrent equipment). For vessels more than five years old provided their fishing capacity is not increased, aid may be obtained to improve safety, hygiene and working conditions and product quality. Premiums may not be aggregated. They will be reduced also by the amount of the modernisation aid or the aid received for temporary cessation. Aid for satellite-based systems for the surveillance of vessels may not be aggregated with aid received under measures for the control, inspection and surveillance of fishing vessels. Furthers conditions are laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 of 20 December 2002 on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources under the Common Fisheries Policy.
Small-scale coastal fishing
This type of fishing is carried on by vessels of a total overall length of less than 12 metres that do not use certain types of towed gear. Given the importance of small-scale coastal fishing and the contribution it makes to employment, the Member States may, subject to certain conditions, take additional measures concerning modernisation aid.
Consequently, where a number of vessel owners or members of families of fishermen engaging in small-scale coastal fishing implement cooperatively an integrated collective project for the structural improvement of fishing, a lump-sum premium (of not more than EUR 150,000) may be granted to the participants.
Fishermen may qualify for various socio-economic measures to alleviate the negative effects of the reduction in fishing effort granted by Member States, including:
- the part-financing of national early-retirement schemes subject to certain conditions concerning age (beneficiaries must be not less than 55 years old or not more than ten years below the legal retirement age) and the period for which they have worked as fishermen (at least 10 years);
- individual lump-sum payments (not more than EUR 10 000) in the event of unemployment arising from the permanent cessation of fishing by a vessel (this aid will have to be reimbursed pro rata temporis if the beneficiary resumes fishing less than one year after obtaining payment of the premium);
- non-renewable individual payments to fishermen to help them retrain (up to EUR 50 000) or diversify their activities (up to EUR 20 000) outside maritime fisheries at the same time permitting them to continue fishing on a part-time basis, on condition that it contributes to a reduction in the fishing effort of beneficiaries;
- individual premiums to fishermen who are at least 35 years old and can show that they have worked as fishermen for at least five years or have obtained vocational training and who acquire part or total ownership of a fishing vessel for the first time. The vessel must be aged between 10 and 20 years and have an overall length between 7 and 24 metres. The transfer of ownership may not take place within the same family, up to the second degree, and the premium may not exceed 10% of the acquisition cost or EUR 50 000.
If the Council adopts a recovery plan or if the Commission or one or more Member States adopt special or emergency measures, the premium amount may be increased by 20%.
Member States may encourage investment in several fields:
- work intended to protect and develop aquatic resources, save for restocking;
- facilities at fishing ports;
- the processing and marketing of fishery products;
- inland fishing.
To qualify for aid, projects must:
- contribute to lasting benefits for the economy;
- offer assurances of technical and economic viability;
- avoid counterproductive effects such as increasing production capacity.
Member States may put in place various measures to encourage collective action to find and promote new market outlets for fishery and aquaculture products (e.g. quality certification schemes, labelling, promotion campaigns, market studies, trade fairs and exhibitions, sales advice and assistance, etc.).
Priority is to be given to encouraging the sale of surplus and under-exploited species, to developing a quality policy for products and to promoting environmentally-friendly production methods and those of officially-recognised organisations.
The Member States may also encourage operations carried out by producer organisations and fishermen's associations and groups. These operations must be of collective interest and limited duration. They include the management of fishing effort, the use of technical measures for the conservation of resources, the promotion of selective gear and methods, aquaculture facilities, access to training, the improvement of working conditions and sanitary conditions for products, the establishment of new business contacts, etc.
In addition, producer organisations may receive aid during the three years following their setting up and special aid for implementing programmes to upgrade the quality of their products.
The Member States may provide for the means necessary to undertake innovative actions and technical assistance such as pilot projects (including exploratory fishing provided its aim is to conserve fishery resources), training programmes, exchanges of know-how, etc.
They may also grant compensation to fishermen and the owners of vessels for the temporary suspension of fishing as a result of:
- unforeseen circumstances (based on scientific evidence);
- the non-renewal or suspension of a fishing agreement;
- the introduction of a recovery plan for a stock threatened with exhaustion or for the management of stocks (on the basis of scientific and economic evidence);
- technical restrictions on the use of certain types of gear or fishing methods.
In the event of the contamination of shellfish by toxin-producing plankton or plankton containing marine biotoxins, the Member States may grant financial compensation to shellfish farmers if the situation requires the suspension of harvesting for more than four consecutive months or where the resulting losses exceed 35% of the annual turnover of the business.
In implementing the Regulation, the Commission will be assisted by the Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Committee for the management of Fisheries and Aquaculture for fleet management measures.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EC) No 2792/1999||03.01.2000||-||OJ L 337 of 30.12.1999|
|Amending act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
|Regulation (EC) No 1451/2001||28.06.2001||-||OJ L 198 of 21.7.2001|
|Regulation (EC) No 179/2002||28.01.2002||-||OJ L 31 of 01.02.2002|
|Regulation (EC) No 2369/2002||20.12.2002||-||OJ L 358 of 31.12.2002|
|Regulation (EC) No 1421/2004||26.08.2004||-||OJ L 260 of 06.08.2004|