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Horta ,  September 28, 2018

Regional Government presents position on European Commission's proposal for renewal of aid to fishing fleets in Outermost Regions

Under the public consultation process promoted by the European Commission, the Regional Government, through the Regional Secretariats for the Sea, Science and Technology and for External Relations, has presented its position on the amendments to the guidelines for State aid in fisheries and aquaculture by including a section on "Aid to the renewal of fishing fleets in Outermost Regions."
 
The amendments provide for the granting of aid for the acquisition of new fishing vessels in the Outermost Regions (ORs), considering the need to stabilise the fishing effort and to comply with the maximum capacity limits set for each fleet segment in these regions.
 
In the document submitted, the Regional Government states that it is "fully justified" that State aid should be allowed for the acquisition of new fishing vessels in Outermost Regions, as it will "improve the safety and working conditions of an ageing and obsolete fleet."
 
In this regard, the document recalls opinions issued by the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions acknowledging the "pressing need" to define "specific measures for fishing fleets in Outermost Regions."
 
Even though the Azorean Government considers that the proposal under consultation is "very positive", it believes that it is clearly "insufficient" in two aspects.
 
The first aspect concerns the fact that the proposed amendments point out to "the exclusion of investments in the renewal of the fishing fleet in Outermost Regions from the EMFF co-financing."
 
According to the Regional Government, there is "no objective reason to justify that the support for the acquisition of new fishing vessels in Outermost Region cannot be co-financed by the EMFF." In fact, "it has already submitted proposals for amendments to EMFF Regulations to the appropriate national and Community institutions, which are currently under discussion."
 
As for the second aspect, the Azorean Government disagrees with the proposed maximum aid intensity rates. Under this perspective, "they are clearly insufficient to ensure the renewal of the ORs' fleet, bearing in mind that this aid is primarily intended to promote the improvement of on-board safety and working conditions of fishing vessels in these regions."
 
In this regard, the Regional Government believes that it "the maximum aid intensity should be set at 85%, equivalent to that provided for in the proposed EMFF Regulation for operations located in the outermost regions."
 
Moreover, the Government of the Azores also considers that the maximum rates of aid varying according to the length of vessels "is not in line with the specific situation of fisheries in ORs".
 
In the particular case of the Azorean fishing fleet, the Regional Government defends that vessels with an overall length exceeding 24 metres, for which an aid rate of just 25% is proposed, correspond to only 4% of vessels, being mostly tuna seiners that use pole and line fishing; the latter is a sustainable fishing technique.


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Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

 
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