MEP Ana Miranda explained the importance of avoiding the deterioration of producers' incomes. (Photo: European Union 2012 EP)
European Parliament approves subsidies for mussels
Thursday, June 21, 2012, 23:00 (GMT + 9)
The Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament (EP) approved a regulation on the fisheries and aquaculture markets that considers the mussel among the products that may be eligible for subsidies to avoid price drops.
The regulation for the Common Organisation of Markets of the Fishery and Aquaculture Product Sector, better known as the Stevenson Report (after the MEP who drafted it: Struan Stevenson), was validated on Wednesday by EU parliamentarians, becoming the first reform package of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
The document includes several amendments from the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG) and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), some of which were raised by the Galician Regulatory Mussel Council to political parties.
BNG MEP, Ana Miranda, explained that "with this inclusion producers may be funded to store mussels in case significant price declines take place and so avoid a deterioration of income," the newspaper La Opinion reported.
"It is a measure to stabilize the market for this product and producers' incomes," she added.
Members of the European Union (EU) also discussed the following initiatives:
- Types of aquaculture activities: the regulation of the European Parliament includes extensive aquaculture -- the mussel or the shellfish ones on the beaches -- to differentiate it from intensive or industrial aquaculture, which has really different environmental and employment characteristics;
- Promotion: The Stevenson Report aims to promote sustainable aquaculture products through the designations of origin taking advantage of the certification capacity that ensures the quality and sustainability of the product. The Council acknowledges that this decision promotes its work through the promotion and the differentiation of the mollusc that is native of Galicia;
- Labelling: the Fisheries Commission rejected the inclusion of the fish capture date, as it had been proposed by Brussels, and argued that only the data on the landing of the product should be mentioned;
- Juvenile fish destination: the MEPs rejected the fact that the landed immature fish can be given away to charity eating sites as the EC wanted and proposed that they should be used for animal feed or for processing;
- Structural Funds: the Fisheries Committee supported the proposal that set that for those regions whose GDP per capita underwent over 75 per cent growth given the EU average -- such as Galicia – in the next period from 2014 to 2020 should receive at least two thirds of the funds that had been granted so far in the period between 2007 and 2013. MEPs also approved the creation of specific aid programmes for artisanal fisheries and for small-scale and traditional aquaculture.
- Galician mussel producers invoiced EUR 400 million
By Analia Murias