Minister Miguel Arias Cañete announced the end of the state aids for the fleet fishing outside the EU. (Photo: La Moncloa Gobierno de España)
No state aid will be granted to vessels fishing outside EU
Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 23:30 (GMT + 9)
The head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama), Miguel Arias Cañete, announced that "from now until the end of the year" it will not be possible to grant state aid to the fleet fishing off the waters of the European Union (EU).
The minister referred to the boats that catch tuna and other related resources in non community waters.
These are aids granted through tax exemptions or reductions in labour costs, which Brussels enables so as to try to match the competitiveness of European vessels with those from other nations, such as those from Asia.
Arias Cañete stated the General Fisheries Secretariat is working on the creation of a "special register" of vessels fishing outside EU fishing grounds. Anyway, he ruled out the fact that that kind of support can be granted at the moment.
The minister recalled that in 2008 the European Commission (EC) published its guidelines on this type of aid and that the deadline for granting it is 31 December.
In addition, he stressed that in the context of the current economic crisis, some segments of the fleet that would hypothetically be benefitted are getting "very interesting returns," EFE agency reports.
"We will continue working for the register, clarify which companies can be supported and if there is a more favourable budget scenario, we would analyze the implementation of the aids," he added.
The minister explained that he has always maintained "consistent" contacts with the fleets that have been affected and that he is working on the possibility of establishing a special register of fishing vessels that, in certain cases, may be eligible for bonuses. This register would contemplate all fleets fishing outside the EU and not just tuna boats, and it would be similar to that for the shipping firms from the Canary Islands.
He said the Secretariat is preparing an act on the scope of the aids but "internal disagreements" in the sector are delaying the procedure.
By Analia Murias