The Danish Fisheries Agency has issues notice that fishing vessels will no longer be able to use bottom fishing on the Dogger Bank

The European Commission approves two Danish schemes totalling around €118m to support the seafood sector in the context of Brexit. Photo: DFPO

The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, two Danish schemes totalling around €118 million (DKK 880.8 million) to support the fishery, fish processing and wholesale sectors affected by the effects of the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

The €113 million (DKK 840.8 million) scheme to support the fishery sector aims to compensate vessel owners for the losses suffered as a result of the permanent reduction of fishing quotas. The aid will be granted to eligible Denmark-registered vessel owners in the form of direct grants. The aid amount per beneficiary will be calculated based on the loss of quota value following the reduction of the fishing quota. The compensation rate will range between 75 and 100% depending on the size of a beneficiary’s overall loss of quota values. For example, losses up to around €268,750 (DKK 2 million) will be compensated in full, while losses above around €4 million (DKK 30 million) will be compensated at a rate of 75%. A compensation rate of 90% or below can be increased by 10% if the beneficiary provides an action plan, describing environmentally sustainable initiatives the aid will be used for. The scheme will run until 31 December 2023.

The €5.4 million (DKK 40 million) scheme to support the fish processing and wholesale sectors is aimed at compensating companies in these sectors for the loss of turnover caused by a reduction in fish supply due to: (i) a decrease in landings of EU fishers linked to reduced fishing quotas following Brexit, or (ii) limited access of Danish fishers to Norwegian waters in the first quarter of 2021 due to the renegotiation of fisheries agreements following Brexit. The aid will take the form of direct grants and will run until 31 December 2023. To receive full compensation, beneficiaries receiving more than around €201,000 (DKK 1.5 million) will have to commit to spending 35% of the aid on environment-friendly measures, which contribute to greening the production. The scheme will run until 31 December 2023.

Both measures are planned to be funded under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, established to mitigate the economic and social impact of Brexit, subject to approval under the specific provisions governing funding from that instrument.

The Commission assessed the schemes under Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, and in particular under the Guidelines for the examination of State aid to the fishery and aquaculture sector. The Commission found that the schemes facilitate the economic activity of fishing and do not adversely affect trading conditions to an extent contrary to the common interest. On this basis, the Commission approved the Danish measures under EU State aid rules.

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