agrifish council fuel crisis

EU Member States are pushing the Commission to act quickly in order to help the fishing industry through the current fuel crisis

The crisis in EU the fishing industry caused by the current price of fuel was mentioned during the Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries, which was held yesterday, Monday 21 March 2022.

Led by the Spanish delegation, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia presented their case to the Council and the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius.

In their presentation the Member States said:

Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain are currently experiencing a significant escalation in the costs of raw materials and energy, which has increased and worsened in recent weeks.

This critical situation has led to an unaffordable escalation in production and business operation costs which, in the case of fuel price derivatives, has increased by 100% of its value, with signs of permanence or even greater increase in the coming months.

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In this situation, the fishing fleet is announcing temporary stoppages as a result of the difficulty of maintaining its activity, given the decrease in its profitability and the impossibility of compensating the increase in costs with the income received. This situation is undermining market supply while demand is holding up which inevitably leads to significant market disruption

As on similar occasions in the past, the COM has responded to these crisis situations. This happened when, due to COVID 19, Regulation No. 508/2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund was modified and, in the price crisis of 2008, where Regulation (EC) No. 744/2008 was articulated.

For the current situation of the increase in production and business operation costs, mainly fuel, we request that the Commission examine all possible measures that could be utilised to address the industry situation, including the aquaculture and processing, helping undertakings to maintain the market supply and to come forward with specific proposals as soon as possible.”

Commissioner Sinkevicius replied to the presentation by tweeting, “Our fisheries, aquaculture & processing sectors are facing big challenges due to high energy, oxygen & raw material prices.

“We will be proposing specific state aid & EMFAF measures to support them, whilst our long-term focus should be on the sector’s decarbonisation.”

This follows the commitment given by Charlina Vitcheva, Director-General of DG MARE who told the North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) and the North Sea Advisory Council (NSAC), “We are working to act quickly (in the coming days) to address the real needs of the sector…”, after they filed a joint letter to her asking the Commission to intervene in the crisis.

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