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European Fisheries Fund
This Regulation establishes a new European Fisheries Fund (EFF) for the period 2007-13. The Fund provides financial assistance to help implement the 2002 reform of the common fisheries policy (CFP) and to support the restructuring that has become necessary as the sector has developed.
The European Fisheries Fund (EFF) shall contribute to realising the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) objectives, which specifically consist of ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. In order to achieve this, the Fund shall provide financial support aimed at:
- ensure the long-term future of fishing activities and the sustainable use of fishery resources;
- reduce pressure on stocks by matching EU fleet capacity to available;
- promote the sustainable development of inland fishing;
- help boost economically viable enterprises in the fisheries sector and make operating structures more competitive;
- foster the protection of the environment and the conservation of marine resources;
- encourage sustainable development and improve the quality of life in areas with an active fishing industry;
- promote equality between women and men active in the fisheries sector.
The EFF provides for five priorities:
measures to adapt the EU fishing fleet:
financial assistance can be granted to fishermen and fishing vessel owners affected by the measures taken to combat overfishing or to protect public health to help them temporarily or permanently lay up fishing vessels and to train, re-skill and provide early retirement to fishermen. Vessels that are permanently laid up, in addition to those already due for scrapping, may be reused for other non-fishing activities or for the creation of artificial reefs. The EFF may contribute to improving working conditions, the quality of products, energy yield and catch selectivity. It may also contribute towards replacing engines, providing non-renewable compensation to fishermen affected by permanent cessation of fishing activities and for premiums for young fishermen to buy their first fishing vessel. However, financial assistance may in no circumstances lead to an increase in the catch capacity or the power of the fishing vessel's engine;
aquaculture, inland fishing, processing and marketing:
the EFF promotes the purchase and use of gear and methods that reduce the impact of aquaculture production on the environment and improve the quality of produce and conditions in terms of human and animal health. Assistance will be limited to micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as certain large enterprises with less than 750 employees or whose turnover is less than EUR 200 million. Priority is nevertheless given to micro and small enterprises;
certain collective action could receive aid from the EFF on the condition that they contribute to the sustainable development or conservation of resources, to improving the services offered by fishing ports, to strengthening markets in fishery products and to promoting partnerships between scientists and operators in the fisheries sector;
- sustainable development of fishing areas: the EFF supports measures and initiatives aimed at diversifying and strengthening economic development in areas affected by the decline in fishing activities.
- technical assistance: the Fund may finance initiatives involving preparations, monitoring, administrative and technical support, evaluation, audit and checks needed to implement this Regulation.
One of the main objectives of the EFF is to simplify the allocation and management of funding. Member States must send the Commission a strategic plan and an operational programme in order to benefit from assistance under the European Fisheries Fund.
The national strategic plans must set out the national priorities and objectives to implement the CFP. The Commission will organise a debate with Member States by 31 December 2011 to assess the progress made in implementing the strategic plans on the basis of the conclusions of intermediary assessments.
The strategic plans form a basis for the development of operational programmes, which will implement the policies and priorities to be co-financed by the EFF. The Commission approves the operational programmes by issuing a decision, after having checked that they are in line with the objectives of the EFF. If necessary, it may require that the operational programmes be modified.
The operational programmes are subjected to three assessments. Member States are responsible for forecast and interim assessments whilst the Commission carries out the final assessment. The part of the budget reserved for technical assistance may be used to finance these assessments.
The Regulation defines the responsibilities of the Member States and of the Commission concerning the EFF. In particular, Member States are tasked with informing the general public, potential beneficiaries and stakeholders of the opportunities available under the EFF to ensure that the Fund is used in a transparent manner and to underline the role of the EU.
The EFF has a budget of €4 304 million for the period 2007-13. Over that period the Commission proposes to allocate on average €615 million per year to the Member States who have decided to benefit from EFF aid (all the Member States except for Luxembourg).
The amounts are divided between the Member States according to the size of their fisheries sector, the number of people working in the sector, the adjustments considered necessary for the fishing industry and continuity of the measures in hand.
Except for certain expenditure incurred by the Commission that is 100 % covered by the EFF, the maximum contribution of the EFF is always calculated as a proportion of the total sum of all public expenditure. It varies according to the priority of the initiative and will be higher for the most disadvantaged regions and for the new Member States, i.e. those covered by the new "convergence" objective under the Structural Funds. The intensity of public aid authorised for each operation financed also varies according to the same parameters (see Annex II to the Regulation).
The Regulation sets the rules governing eligibility of expenditure (Article 55), financial management, financial corrections, budgetary appropriations and reimbursement. It establishes a Committee of the European Fisheries Fund to assist the Commission in managing the EFF.
The Union’s contribution cannot exceed the public contribution or the maximum amount of EFF assistance for each priority axis and each objective. However, derogations may be granted upon request in writing by a Member State and under certain conditions (see Article 76).
Management, monitoring and control
Each Member State must appoint the following bodies before requests for payment can be submitted:
- a managing authority for the programme to select and monitor initiatives to be financed;
- a certification authority to verify that expenditure complies with EU rules;
- an audit authority to verify the proper functioning of the managing and certification authorities;
- a monitoring committee, which a representative of the Commission participates in for advisory purposes and which assesses progress in reaching the objectives of the operational programme.
Each year the managing authorities must send the Commission an annual report, to which the Commission replies with its comments. The Commission summarises these reports in its annual report which it sends to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. The Member States must also send a final report on the implementation of the operational programme before 31 March 2017.
for fisheries programming under the Financial Perspective for the EU for the 2007-13 period, replacing the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG).
Like the other European Funds, the EFF reflects the principles of the new approach for simplification, transparency, strategic planning and greater responsibility for the Member States in selecting and implementing the Funds. The EFF is one of two instruments for expenditure incurred under the CFP.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006
OJ L 223 of 15.8.2006
|Amending Act(s)||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
Regulation (EU) No. 387/2012
OJ L 129 of 16.5.2012
The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 have been incorporated into the original text.