Category Archives: Organisation and Financing of the Fisheries Sector

The common fisheries policy (CFP) has been based on a common organisation of the markets (CMO) since October 1970. This CMO aims to find the right balance between supply and demand in the interests of European fishers and consumers. It introduces marketing standards, a price stabilisation system and rules for trade with third countries. A European Fisheries Fund (EFF) enables solutions to be found to surplus fleet capacity, overindebtedness of enterprises, technical restrictions, and adaptations regarding hygiene, health, product quality and safety on board vessels.

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (Green Paper)

This Green Paper aims to collect the opinions of all persons and organisations affected by the future of the fisheries sector. Despite the measures taken to ensure the sustainable future of the sector, a large number of problems remain, such as overfishing, an increase in seafood imports, Community fleet overcapacity, decreased profitability of the sector and the dependence on public aid. The consultation is the first stage in the process which should lead a radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 22 April 2009 – Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy [COM(2009) 163 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Green Paper shall analyse all facets of the current Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and seek to explain why certain problems persist despite the progress made since the 2002 reform.

Outcomes of the Common Fisheries Policy

The CFP reform provided for a series of measures to ensure the viability of fisheries. The principal measures adopted under the 2002 reform concerned, amongst others:

  • the introduction of multi-annual plans for stock recovery and management;
  • the integration of environmental concerns into fisheries management;
  • establishing Regional Advisory Committees (RACs);
  • the setting of national ceilings to adapt the fishing capacity of fleets to fishing opportunities;
  • limiting the number of days that a vessel can operate at sea;
  • a gradual withdrawal of public funds for the construction or modernisation of fishing vessels, whilst maintaining aid for improving safety and working conditions on board vessels;
  • establishing fisheries agreements aimed at creating partnerships with third countries.

However, the objectives set in 2002 have not been achieved. Today, the Common Fisheries Policy is characterised by overfishing, fleet overcapacity, heavy subsidies, low economic resilience and a decline in the volume of fish caught by European fishermen. A radical change is needed to address these challenges.

Overcoming the five structural failings of the CFP

The depletion of European fisheries stocks is principally the result of fleet overcapacity. Several solutions are being considered to adapt the size of European fishing fleets to the stocks available. The use of transferable rights and/or the creation of a one-off fund could be a solution to this problem. However, accompanying measures aimed at preventing negative effects on smaller-scale fisheries and coastal communities still need to be drawn up.

The lack of clear political objectives, specifically with regard to ecological responsibility and the connection with general maritime issues, is the second weakness of the current CFP. The Green Paper shall consult the public on how to define the objectives in a clear and prioritised manner for decision-making and implementation.

The majority of decisions affecting the CFP are taken at Council level. This decision-making system is over-centralised and focused on short-term solutions, which compromises sustainability in the long-term. To alleviate this problem, decisions could be made jointly by the Council and the Parliament (co-decision procedure), leaving Member States, the Commission and/or the fisheries sector responsible for implementing the decisions. However, in this new system the role of consultative structures (the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Regional Advisory Committees) should be increased.

The sector lacks responsibility. Therefore a rethink is required on how to give the fisheries sector more responsibility in implementing the CFP, whilst also finding the means of ensuring that the self-management of the industry achieves its goals.

The final structural issue tackled by the Green Paper relates to the absence of political will to ensure compliance. In order to increase compliance with the regulations, the benefits and disadvantages of centralised mechanisms (such as direct Commission action or national/cross-border controls) and de-centralised mechanisms need to be examined by submitting them to consultation.

Improving the management of European Union fisheries

Restoring the productivity of fish stocks is required in order to ensure the economic and social viability of the fisheries sector. In order to improve the management of fisheries, many ideas have been submitted for consultation. These ideas concern:

  • the possibility of introducing a differentiated regime to protect small-scale coastal fleets;
  • the adoption of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) as a management principle and the introduction of long-term management plans in order to make the most of fisheries;
  • the relative stability of Community quotas and access to coastal fisheries;
  • trade in and the market for fisheries products and aquaculture products;
  • integrating the CFP into the broader context of maritime affairs;
  • scientific knowledge and data for policy decision-making;
  • Community funds for fisheries or national aid measures;
  • managing the fishing activities of Community fleets in non-EU waters in order to extend the principles of sustainable and responsible fishing to the international level;
  • the role of aquaculture in the future CFP.

Context

Although the Commission is only legally required to re-examine some of the dimensions of the CFP before 2012, the current situation, specifically with regard to stocks and fleet overcapacity, has convinced the Commission of the need to begin the reform process.

The consultation will close on 31 December 2009. It will form the basis of a public debate on the drafting of a proposal for a new regulation on the CFP. The latter could be presented to the European Parliament and the Council at the beginning of 2011, with a view to adoption in 2012.


Another Normative about Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 13 July 2011 – Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy [COM(2011) 417 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy. In order to do this, it must participate in introducing sustainable and inclusive growth, enhancing cohesion in coastal regions and improving the economic performance of the industry.

The proposals made by the Commission are directed towards sustainability and long-term solutions.

Conservation and sustainability

Through fisheries management that eliminates significant negative effects on other stocks, species and ecosystems, the CFP will contribute to the Good Environmental Status in the marine environment, in line with the provisions of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The measures adopted as part of the CFP reform should enable maximum sustainable yield (MSY) to be reached by 2015, in accordance with the international undertakings made by the European Union (EU). The highest catch that can be taken must not endanger long-term stocks. On the contrary, it should contribute to maintaining the size of the population at maximum productivity.

The measures envisaged also concern the elimination of discards at sea, long-term management plans based on the best available scientific advice, improving data collection and the availability of complete, reliable data for policy-making.

A future for fisheries and aquaculture

The CFP should make fisheries and aquaculture strong, viable, competitive and attractive industries. In order to increase economic viability and eliminate overcapacity, the Commission proposes to introduce a system of transferable fishing concessions for large vessels. The system should enable some operators to buy rights from other operators wishing to leave the industry. The system requires no public funding. Furthermore, it should enable incomes to be increased and new jobs to be created.

Support measures for small-scale fisheries and sustainable aquaculture could also be developed.

Consumer information

Consumers will be better informed of the quality and sustainability of the products they buy. Labelling may include environmental claims or production techniques.

Fishermen’s organisations will become active stakeholders as regards planning their members’ fishing activities, and will play a more central role in driving and supplying the market, as well as increasing fishermen’s profit margins.

Improving governance through regionalisation

The reform should foster solutions that are adapted to local and regional needs, taking better account of the specific features of the different sea basins. Key decisions concerning the general principles and objectives of the policy will still be taken at EU level. However, Member States will be able to take other fisheries management measures, under Commission control. For reasons of effective management, Member States will in particular be able to adopt technical conservation measures and anti-discard measures and transpose them in their national legislation.

The Commission envisages extending the role of the Advisory Councils when drafting conservation policy under the regionalisation model. Due to the specific nature of aquaculture, the Commission also proposes to create a new Advisory Council for Aquaculture.

Financial support

Public funding should cover all activities. It will be thoroughly simplified and will be linked to compliance with certain conditions (particularly of sustainability) by industry operators. The intervention regime under the Common Market Organisation will also be modernised. From now on, the setting of intervention prices will be decentralised and appropriate in order to avoid the destruction of surplus fish to maintain price levels.

External dimension

EU external actions are aimed at sustainability and safeguarding marine ecosystems. They are mainly based on strengthening cooperation in order to share scientific knowledge and to comply with established rules, in particular concerning the fight against illegal fishing.

The EU must play a stronger role in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, international organisations and in its relations with third countries.

Sustainable Fisheries Agreements (SFAs) with non-EU countries must focus more on good management of marine resources, improving scientific knowledge and establishing a quality governance framework.

Context

The reform is based on a large-scale public consultation that was completed in late 2010. Contributions from stakeholders were used in drafting the reform, which includes the following:

  • a legislative proposal for a new Regulation defining the main CFP rules [replacing Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002];
  • a legislative proposal concerning a new market policy [replacing Regulation (EC) No 104/2000];
  • a legislative proposal for a new Regulation on the European Fund for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries;
  • a Communication on the external dimension of the CFP; and
  • a report on Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 regarding the chapters Conservation and Sustainability and Adjustment of Fishing Capacity, and on Article 17(2) on fleet access restriction to 12 nautical miles.

Improving decision-making in Community fisheries management

Improving decision-making in Community fisheries management

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving decision-making in Community fisheries management

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Improving decision-making in Community fisheries management

Document or Iniciative

Commission Communication to the Council and European Parliament of 24 May 2006: “Improving consultation on Community fisheries management” [COM(2006) 246 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission would like to change the timing of the decisions taken on fishing opportunities. The changes are designed to organise consultation earlier to improve the quality of decision-making.

The advisory and management system for fisheries was devised at the inception of the common fisheries policy in the early 1980s.

The Council Regulation laying down the total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas available to the Member States is based on a proposal from the Commission. Up to now, that proposal has always been submitted very late in the year to allow the latest scientific and technical information to be taken into account for laying down the fishing opportunities. The timing of the procedure leaves very little time for consulting stakeholders.

Current procedure

Decisions on fisheries management are taken according to an annual timetable for laying down the fishing opportunities for the Member States and other stakeholders. For most demersal species the timetable is as follows:

  • in September the latest scientific surveys are completed and the data analysed on board the research vessels;
  • in October the scientific data are presented to the Advisory Committee for Fisheries Management of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which forwards its advice to the European Commission, Norway, Iceland and the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC);
  • in November the Commission analyses the scientific advice and consults, among others, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) and stakeholders. Negotiations on jointly managed stocks take place with Norway and the other coastal states;
  • in December the Commission adopts its proposal for a fishing opportunities Regulation for adoption by the Council.

This leaves only a very short time for effective and constructive consultation of the fisheries sector. Fisheries management decisions could be better prepared and the scope of the consultations widened.

Optimum use of the harvest rules

The Commission feels that preparation of fisheries management decisions could be improved by applying a management method based on “harvest rules” for determining the decisions on the TACs.

Such harvest rules could include:

  • the variation of the TACs from one year to the next;
  • a reduction of the fishing mortality rate to a sustainable level;
  • adjusting fishing effort (days at sea) in line with fishing mortality rates (the proportion of the fish in the sea that are caught during the year).

Ideally, these rules would be laid down in Council Regulations and would be updated only infrequently. They would cover the main fisheries and fish stocks governed by the common fisheries policy. Such an approach would leave more time for consulting stakeholders on the management principles while the scientific estimates of the precise quantities of fish available are finalised by ICES and the STECF.

For stocks not covered by a long-term plan, the Commission could present its intentions for setting the TACs for the following year as early as April. Based on the trends suggested by the scientific advice from the previous year, this policy statement would set out:

  • a commitment to gradually develop stocks to the most appropriate levels to ensure their sustainable exploitation while providing high yields;
  • TACs and effort levels for the following year to be set in accordance with the rules in recovery plans or long-term management plans, where they exist, or with the principle that fishing mortality should not be increased in any stock where mortality exceeds the level that would lead to high long-term yields;
  • that stocks at similar levels of exploitation or depletion are to be treated similarly;
  • rules on TAC variation, subject to special circumstances that might require more significant change for particular stocks.

On the basis of this policy statement, the Commission would consult the Member States and the Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) during the summer. Stakeholders would have a more strategic role in the fisheries discussions before the Council delivered its opinion, in October, on the strategy proposed by the Commission.

Changing the timing

This new approach calls for a change in the timing of the fishing opportunities decisions.

The Commission has already consulted ICES and the STECF on the timing of the scientific advice, asking whether it could be provided slightly earlier in the year from 2007 onwards. Though providing scientific advice earlier will make the forecasts less precise in some cases, the Commission thinks this would be acceptable.

To change the timing of decisions, the Commission proposes a two-step approach, distinguishing between those fish stocks for which scientific advice on available quantities is available in June and those which are heavily dependent on annual recruitment, i.e. the quantity of juveniles joining the particular stock, which include species that are of major commercial interest and are biologically vulnerable. The proposed timetable is as follows:

  • the first step would be between June and October. ICES and the STECF issue scientific advice on the “June advice” stocks. The Commission presents a proposal for a fishing opportunities Regulation for the “June advice” stocks at the beginning of September following negotiations with the RACs. The Council adopts the TACs for the “June advice” stocks in October;
  • the second step would be between October and December. In this case, the proposed timetable would not be much different from the present timetable. ICES finalises its advice in autumn (possibly as early as September from 2007 onwards) on the “October advice” stocks, which are largely dependent on annual recruitment. The Commission presents its proposal, which does not contain any surprises for stakeholders, in November. The consultations with the fishing sector will already have taken place earlier in the year on the basis of the Commission’s policy statement on stocks not covered by a long-term plan. In December the Council then adopts a fishing opportunities Regulation covering the “October advice” stocks.

The current Community rules are to be re-examined as part of the planned review of the cod recovery plan. Therefore the Commission thinks it should wait until 2007 before proposing a new Regulation on these rules.

Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation

Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation

Document or Iniciative

Commission Regulation (EC) No 498/2007 of 26 March 2007 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 on the European Fisheries Fund [See amending act(s)].

Summary

The mechanisms and implementing rules laid down in this Regulation result from the provisions concerning the basic European Fisheries Fund Regulation (EFF).

The purpose of the detailed implementing rules is to facilitate the establishment of operational programmes (Annex I) as well as their examination and the approval of these projects by the Commission. An operational programme must include geographical criteria (analysis of national or local circumstances, description of strengths and weaknesses) and a description of how the projects developed fit in with the priority axes specified in the Regulation. Operational programmes for which public expenditure does not exceed 90 million at 2004 prices are eligible for the specific arrangements provided for in the Regulation. The purpose of these detailed implementing rules is also to assist the examination and approval of these projects by the Commission.

The structural measures for fisheries seek to guide and facilitate the restructuring of the sector. This process is necessary to safeguard the future of the sector and promote sustainable fishing. In the light of this, no public aid leading to an increase in fishing effort is permitted.

Priority axes

The implementing rules are established on the basis of the priority axes of the European Fisheries Fund (See Annex I, part A):

  • measures to adapt the European Union fishing fleet. These include public aid for the permanent or temporary cessation of fishing activities. These measures also determine aid to small-scale coastal fishing and socio-economic compensation for the management of the European fishing fleet;
  • aquaculture, inland fishing, processing and on-farm retail sale of fishery and aquaculture products. The Regulation defines the scope of aid to aquaculture production. It also proposes measures for productive investments in aquaculture based on species classification, aqua-environmental measures and animal health measures. As regards inland fishing, support may be granted to vessels of less than 12 metres not using towed gear. The Regulation provides for aid for the processing of fish to extract substances harmful to human health (such as dioxins). Aid will also be prioritised to small and micro enterprises;
  • measures of common interest. These cover collective actions, in particular to create and restructure the plans of producers’ organisations, protect flora and fauna, improve services offered by fishing ports, strengthen markets and promote partnerships between scientists and professionals in the fishing sector;
  • sustainable development of fisheries areas. The European Union will support local development strategies in order to diversify and strengthen fishing areas in decline. These fishing areas do not necessarily have to coincide with a national administrative area or with zones established by the Structural Funds. The Member States select groups for the implementation of the local development strategy.

Assessment

The Member States are to forward interim evaluations of these programmes by no later than 30 June 2011. The Commission may decide to interrupt the payment deadline where a Member State has not complied with its management, control and spending obligations.

Information and publicity

Member States or the managing authority must carry out information and publicity measures for the public and potential beneficiaries. In addition, the managing authority must ensure that information and publicity measures are aimed at the wider public, for example through the launch of the operational programme, presenting the programme’s achievements and by flying the European Union flag (Annex II) for a week from 9 May in front of the managing authority’s premises.

Financial engineering instruments

Financial engineering instruments must be in the form of actions such as socio-economic compensation for fleet management (see list in Annex III) which give rise to repayable investments, particularly to SMEs and micro enterprises, through venture capital funds, guarantee funds and loan funds.

The statement of expenditure (Annex IX) must, as regards financial engineering instruments, include the total expenditure paid in establishing or contributing to these instruments. At the partial or final closure of the operational programme the eligible expenditure is the total of any payments for investment in enterprises from each of the financial engineering instruments or any guarantees provided.

When the EFF finances operations comprising financial engineering instruments, including those organised through holding funds, a business plan must be submitted by the co-financing partners or shareholders or by their duly authorised representative. This plan must comply with the conditions laid down in Articles 35, 36 and 37 of this implementing Regulation.

Management, monitoring and control

The managing authority designated for the programme by the Member State (Annex XII) must ensure that beneficiaries are informed of the specific conditions concerning the products or services to be delivered under the operation, the financing plan, the time-limit for execution and the financial and other information to be kept and communicated. The checks carried out by the managing authority must cover the administrative, financial, technical and physical aspects of the operations. Each amount corresponding to an irregularity is identified by the reference number attributed to that irregularity or by another appropriate method.

Audits must be carried out on the spot (Annex V) on the basis of documentation and records held by the beneficiary. The audit authority may also carry out random statistical sampling of operations (see Annex IV).

Irregularities

In the event of irregularities Member States must notify the European Commission of the reasons for these. Where an irregularity could have an impact on other Member States, they must also be informed.

Electronic exchange of data

The exchange of data between each Member State and the Commission must be carried out using a computer system established by the Commission which permits the secure exchange of data between the Commission and each Member State.

The computer system for data exchange contains information on:

  • the financing plans for operational programmes (model set out in Annex I, part B);
  • declarations of expenditure and applications for payment (model set out in Annex IX);
  • the annual statement on withdrawn and recovered amounts and pending recoveries (model in Annex X);
  • annual forecasts of likely applications for payment (see Annex XIII);
  • the financial section of the annual reports and final implementation reports (model set out in Annex XIV, point 3.3).

The computer system must also contain documents and information of common interest such as the operational programme (Annex I, part A), the Commission decision concerning the contribution of the EFF, the annual and final reports on implementation (model Annex XIV), the audit strategy (Annex V) and a description of the management system (Annex XII, part A).

Member States and the Commission must take all necessary measures to guarantee the protection of personal data.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 498/2007

30.5.2007

OJ L 120, 10.5.2007

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 1249/2010

12.1.2011

OJ L 341, 23.12.2010

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 498/2007 have been incorporated in to the original document. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.

Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries

Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries

Document or Iniciative

Commission Decision 2005/629/EC of 26 August 2005 establishing a Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries [See amendingact(s)].

Summary

The STECF is a standing committee created by the Commission to help it implement the CFP.

Composition

It is composed of between 30 and 35 prominent scientific experts in the fields of marine biology and ecology, fisheries science and the economic, statistical and research issues associated with fisheries. They are appointed by the Commission from a list of suitable candidates compiled after the publication of an open call for applications on the Commission website. A list of the STECF’s current members is published in the OJ. They are appointed for three years, renewable on a rolling basis.

After consultation with the competent service of the Commission, the committee can create its own working parties on specific issues.

The meetings of the committee and its working parties may be attended by Commission representatives and external experts.

Operation

The meetings of the STECF and its working parties are convened by the Commission and must be approved by it. The Commission consults the STECF at regular intervals, or whenever it considers necessary, on issues related to conservation and management of living aquatic resources. It takes account of the committee’s opinion when making proposals on fisheries management. The STECF can also deliver opinions on fisheries matters to the Commission on its own initiative.

Every year the STECF produces a report on the state of fish stocks and trends in the fisheries industry, highlighting the economic implications of the state of fish stocks. It also makes an annual progress report on the work done to coordinate scientific, technical and economic research in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

The STECF adopts its internal rules after consultation with the competent service of the Commission. They require the STECF to be guided by the principles of excellence, independence and transparency, while observing confidentiality in tax and commercial matters. These rules are published on the Commission website.

Key terms used in the act
  • Total allowable catch: the maximum quantities of a particular species of fish that may be caught over a particular unit of time in a specific area in a given period.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2005/629/CE

26.8.2005

OJ L 225 of 31.8.2005

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2010/74/EU

10.2.2010

OJ L 37 of 10.2.2010

AMENDMENT TO THE ANNEXES

Annex – Compensation accorded to STECF members and external experts for the participation in STECF activities

Decision 2010/74/EU [Official Journal L 37 of 10.2.2010].

Regional Advisory Councils

Regional Advisory Councils

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Regional Advisory Councils

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Regional Advisory Councils

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2004/585/EC of 19 July 2004 establishing Regional Advisory Councils under the Common Fisheries Policy [See amending acts].

Summary

By this Decision, the Council intends to adopt a general framework for establishing Regional Advisory Councils (RACs) in order to encourage participation by the fisheries sector * in the formulation and management of the common fisheries policy (CFP). Within that context, the parties concerned may make recommendations and suggestions to the Commission and the competent national authorities regarding the geographical areas covered by an RAC.

Establishment

The RACs consist of management units based on biological criteria. They cover sea areas which are the concern of at least two Member States. An RAC is therefore established for:

  • the Baltic Sea;
  • the Mediterranean Sea;
  • the North Sea;
  • north-western waters;
  • south-western waters;
  • pelagic stocks;
  • the high seas/long distance fleet.

Where a matter is of interest to various RACs, they will coordinate their positions and adopt joint recommendations on that issue.

Establishment procedure

In order to establish an RAC, the stakeholders must submit a properly documented request to the Member States concerned * and the Commission. If the Member States consider the request to be compatible with this Decision, they will send a recommendation on the RAC to the Commission. The latter, after evaluation of the recommendation and any necessary amendment to the request, will adopt a decision specifying the date on which the RAC will become operational.

Structure and composition

Each RAC will consist of a general assembly and an executive committee.

The general assembly will approve each year the annual report and the annual strategic plan drawn up by the executive committee.

The general assembly will appoint an executive committee of up to 24 members, which will manage the work of the RAC and adopt its recommendations.

The RACs will consist of representatives of the fisheries sector and other interest groups * affected by the CFP. These will be proposed by the organisations representing the fisheries sector and other interest groups to the Member States concerned who will select all the members of the general assembly.

Scientists will be invited to participate as experts in the work of the RACs. The following may also participate as active observers:

  • the Commission;
  • national and regional administrations of the Member States concerned;
  • a representative of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (ACFA);
  • representatives of the fisheries sector and other interest groups from third countries on an invitation from the RAC.

Functioning

RACs will adopt the measures necessary for their organisation. They may, for example, establish a secretariat and working groups. They will adopt the measures necessary to ensure transparency at all stages of the decision-making process. Their meetings will, in principle, be open to the public, save in exceptional cases.

The members of the executive committee will, where possible, adopt recommendations by consensus.

Financing

RACs may receive Community aid to cover their operating costs, including translation and interpretation. The Financial Regulation provides for such aid for bodies pursuing a European general interest objective. As regards the procedure, the Commission signs grant agreements with the RACs and may carry out checks to ensure that their expenditure matches the tasks they are supposed to perform.

Key terms used in the act
  • Fisheries sector: this includes the sub-sectors fishermen, producer organisations, processors, traders and other market organisations, and women’s groups.
  • Member State concerned: any Member State having fishing interests in the area or fisheries covered by a Regional Advisory Council.
  • Other interest groups: amongst others, environmental organisations and groups, aquaculture producers, consumers and representatives of recreational or sport fishing.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2004/585/EC

10.8.2004

OJ L 256 of 3.8.2004

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2007/409/EC

22.6.2007

OJ L 155 of 15.6.2007

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2008/695/EC of 29 August 2008 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for Mediterranean Sea under the Common Fisheries Policy [Official Journal L 232 of 30.8.2008].

Commission Decision 2007/222/EC of 4 April 2007 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for the south-western waters under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 95 of 5.4.2007].

Commission Decision 2007/206/EC of 29 March 2007 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for the High Seas/Long Distance Fleet under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 91 of 31.3.2007].

Commission Decision 2006/191/EC of 1 March 2006 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for the Baltic Sea under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 66 of 8.3.2006].

Commission Decision 2005/668/EC of 22 September 2005 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for the north-western waters under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 249 of 24.9.2005].

Commission Decision 2005/606/EC of 5 August 2005 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for pelagic stocks under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 206 of 9.8.2005].

Commission Decision 2004/774/EC of 9 November 2004 declaring operational the Regional Advisory Council for the North Sea under the common fisheries policy [Official Journal L 342 of 18.11.2004].

Advisory committee on fisheries and aquaculture

Advisory committee on fisheries and aquaculture

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Advisory committee on fisheries and aquaculture

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Advisory committee on fisheries and aquaculture

Document or Iniciative

Commission Decision 1999/478/EC of 14 July 1999, renewing the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture [See amending act(s)].

Summary

This committee gives the main stakeholders in the CFP the opportunity to analyse issues and take common positions. They can also pass on to the Commission their opinions on issues arising from the implementation of CFP legislation.

Structure and composition

The ACFA consists of a committee, a bureau and four working parties:

  • committee – 21 members from a combination of trade bodies representing production, processing and trading of fisheries and aquaculture products and bodies from outside the industry representing the interests of consumers, the environment and development. They are appointed by the Commission on a proposal from the representative bodies in each field for a term of office of three years (renewable);
  • bureau – consisting of the chairs and vice-chairs of the working parties and the chair of the Sectoral Dialogue Committee for fisheries. Its work mainly involves preparing the meetings of the full committee and planning the work of both committee and working parties.
  • working parties – composed of experts representing trade bodies, civil society and scientific and/or economic bodies. Different experts are sent to each meeting from the EU-level organisations in each field, depending on the issues to be discussed. The working parties carry out the preparatory work for the opinion of the full committee.

Operation

The committee can be consulted by the Commission. It may also look at issues related to the implementation of CFP legislation, apart from those pertaining to industrial relations, which are dealt with by the Sectoral Dialogue Committee.

The working parties meet at the request of the Commission on the basis of an annual work programme decided jointly by the committee and the Commission. The committee decides the rules for: implementing the work programme, preparing and holding meetings, taking positions or drafting conclusions, formulating the opinions and recommendations prepared in advance by the working parties and the bureau.

Decision 2004/864/EC

This Commission decision changes the structure of the ACFA to reflect the rapid expansion of the EU aquaculture sector in recent years. To give this sector better representation, it expands the committee to include the vice-chair of the working party for aquaculture, taking the number of committee members to 21.

References

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 1999/478/EC

1.8.1999

OJ L 187 of 20.7.1999

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2004/864/EC

20.12.2004

OJ L 370 of 17.12.2004

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

The common fisheries policy (CFP) has been based on a common organisation of the markets (CMO) since October 1970. This CMO aims to find the right balance between supply and demand in the interests of European fishers and consumers. It introduces marketing standards, a price stabilisation system and rules for trade with third countries. A European Fisheries Fund (EFF) enables solutions to be found to surplus fleet capacity, overindebtedness of enterprises, technical restrictions, and adaptations regarding hygiene, health, product quality and safety on board vessels.

GENERAL FRAMEWORK

Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)

  • Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy
  • Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (Green Paper)
  • Improving decision-making in Community fisheries management

Markets

  • Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Social standards

  • Organisation of seafarers’ working time
  • Organisation of hours of work on board ships using Community ports
  • Fishing vessels
  • Improved medical treatment on board vessels

Institutional aspects

  • Advisory committee on fisheries and aquaculture
  • Regional Advisory Councils
  • Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries
  • Community Fisheries Control Agency

STRUCTURAL MEASURES AND FINANCING

  • Improving the financial measures relating to the common fisheries policy

2007-2013

  • Interinstitutional Agreement on cooperation in budgetary matters
  • European Fisheries Fund
  • Detailed rules for the implementation of the EFF Regulation

2007-2013

  • Detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector
  • Emergency measures for scrapping fishing vessels
  • FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

STATE AID

  • State Aid: Guidelines
  • De minimis aid for the fisheries sector
  • State aid for SMEs in the fisheries sector
  • Improving the economic situation in the fishing industry
  • State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty

State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty

State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

State aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission – Community guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty [Official Journal C 244 of 1.10.2004].

Summary

The guidelines clarify the Commission’s approach in cases where the public authorities grant financial support to firms in difficulty *. Under the general principle of the prohibition of state aid (Article 87(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Community), aid granted to firms in difficulty must not be allowed to become the rule. The exit of inefficient firms is a normal part of the operation of the market and, while rescuing and restructuring aid may keep in existence firms in difficulty, this is generally at the expense of their competitors.

Financial contribution from the beneficiary firm to the restructuring

The guidelines are based on the principle whereby, in any restructuring operation, the beneficiary is required to finance a substantial proportion of its restructuring costs.

Depending on the size of the beneficiary, thresholds determine its contribution to the overall cost of restructuring: at least 50 % for large firms, 40 % for medium-sized firms and 25 % for small firms. The guidelines are, therefore, concerned especially with large firms operating throughout the European Union. Such firms generally have large market shares and the state aid granted to them has a more appreciable impact on competition and trade.

The beneficiary’s contribution has a twofold purpose: it will demonstrate that the markets (owners, creditors) believe in the feasibility of the return to viability within a reasonable period of time, and it ensures that the aid is limited to the minimum required to restore viability while limiting distortion of competition.

A substantial contribution from the beneficiary to the restructuring was previously required under the 1999 guidelines. The 2004 guidelines reaffirm with greater clarity the principle that the contribution must be real and free of aid.

“One time, last time” principle

The guidelines also stipulate a uniform period of ten years during which the beneficiary of the aid may not receive any additional rescue or restructuring aid. This “one time, last time” principle is designed to prevent repeated granting of rescue or restructuring aid that keeps firms artificially in business. An important exception to this rule is where restructuring aid follows the granting of rescue aid as part of a single restructuring operation.

Definition of rescue and restructuring aid

The guidelines extend the concept of rescue aid so as to allow the beneficiary to take urgent measures, even of a structural nature. Firms in difficulty may already need to take certain urgent structural measures to halt or reduce down a worsening of their financial situation during the rescue phase.

Under the 1999 guidelines, no restructuring measure financed through state aid could be undertaken during the rescue phase. Admittedly, rescue and restructuring involve the interplay of different mechanisms but are often two phases of the same operation. Such a strict distinction between rescue and restructuring has thus given rise to difficulties.

Accordingly, rescue aid is by nature temporary and reversible. Its objective is to allow time to analyse the circumstances which gave rise to the difficulties and to develop an appropriate plan to remedy those difficulties. Restructuring will be based on a practical plan for restoring a firm’s long-term viability. Any aid granted following the adoption and implementation of a restructuring or liquidation plan for which aid has been requested will be considered as restructuring aid.

GENERAL CONDITIONS FOR AUTHORISING AID

Common rules apply to rescue aid and restructuring aid:

  • the firm must qualify as a firm in difficulty within the meaning of the guidelines;
  • a recently established firm may not receive rescue and restructuring aid for the first three years of its existence.

In order to be approved, rescue aid must:

  • be in the form of loan guarantees or loans granted at an interest rate comparable to those for loans to healthy firms;
  • be reimbursed within a period of not more than six months after disbursement of the first instalment;
  • be warranted on the grounds of serious social difficulties;
  • have no unduly adverse spillover effects on other Member States;
  • be accompanied, on notification, by an undertaking given by the Member State concerned to communicate to the Commission within six months a restructuring plan, a liquidation plan or proof that the loan has been reimbursed in full and/or that the guarantee has been terminated;
  • be restricted to the amount needed to keep the firm in business for the period during which the aid is authorised;
  • respect the “one time, last time” principle.

Restructuring aid raises particular competition concerns. The general principle is to allow restructuring aid to be granted only in circumstances in which any distortions of competition will be offset by the benefits flowing from the firm’s survival. Authorisation will be granted only if strict conditions are met:

  • a restructuring plan must be implemented that restores the firm’s long-term viability within a reasonable timescale;
  • compensatory measures must be taken to prevent or to minimise the risks of distortion of competition (divestment of assets, reductions in capacity or market presence, etc.);
  • the aid must be limited to the strict minimum and the rules on the beneficiary’s contribution must be complied with;
  • specific conditions may be attached by the Commission to the authorisation of aid;
  • the restructuring plan must be implemented in full;
  • the Commission must be in a position to make sure that the restructuring plan is being implemented properly, through regular reports communicated by the Member State concerned.

The conditions for authorising restructuring aid are, however, less strict where the aid is granted to small firms since it affects competition less than aid for medium-sized and large firms.

SCOPE

The guidelines are based on Article 87(2) and (3) of the Treaty establishing the European Community, which stipulates that aid falling within the scope of Article 87(1) may be regarded as being compatible with the common market.

They apply to firms in difficulty in all sectors, including agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, subject to certain conditions. The coal and steel sectors are, however, excluded from the scope of the guidelines.

DATE OF APPLICATION AND DURATION

The Commission will apply the new guidelines with effect from 10 October 2004. Only state aid notified after that date will be subject to them as they do not have retrospective effect.

Key terms used in the act
  • Firm in difficulty: a firm is regarded as being in difficulty where it is unable, whether through its own resources or with the funds it is able to obtain from its owner/shareholders or creditors, to stem losses which, without outside intervention by the public authorities, will almost certainly condemn it to going out of business in the short or medium term.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission – Temporary Community framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis [Official Journal C16/3 of 22.1.2009].
This Communication aims to introduce a temporary State aid system in order to cope with the failures resulting from the economic and financial crisis that began in October 2008. The temporary additional measures provided for meet two principal objectives:

  • to unblock bank lending to companies;
  • to encourage companies to continue investing in the future, in particular in sustainable growth.

To achieve these objectives, Member States may, under certain conditions and until the end of 2010, provide in particular:

  • maximum flat-rate aid of EUR 500 000 per company during the first two years, to help companies overcome the current difficulties;
  • State guarantees for loans accompanied by a premium reduction;
  • subsidised loans, in particular for the production of green products (meeting environmental protection standards early or going beyond such standards);
  • aid in the form of risk capital, which may be up to EUR 2.5 million per SME and per year (instead of the current EUR 1.5 million) provided that at least 30 % (instead of the current 50 %) of the investment costs are met by private investors.

Communication from the Commission on the application of State aid rules to measures taken in relation to financial institutions in the context of the current global financial crisis [Official Journal C 270/02 of 25.10.2008].
This Communication clarifies the application of State aid rules to emergency measures aimed to offset losses due to the October 2008 financial crisis.

Public intervention should be decided at national level within a coordinated framework and on the basis of a certain number of European Union common principles. Two types of financial institution receiving aid are distinguished with consequences for restructuring when State aid has been received:

  • financial institutions which are fundamentally healthy and whose difficulties of access to liquidity is exclusively a result of general market conditions;
  • financial institutions with endogenous problems due to their business mode or business practices and whose weaknesses have been exposed and exacerbated by the crisis in the financial markets.

The Communication covers two main types of measure taken with regard to these institutions:

  • guarantees covering financial institutions’ debts. These include in particular general guarantees protecting retail deposits and liabilities, some types of interbank deposits and short and medium-term debt instruments. The duration and amount of these guarantees must be limited to the minimum necessary and the guarantees must include appropriate mechanisms to minimise undue distortions of competition;
  • the recapitalisation of financial institutions. Public funds are provided in order to strengthen the capital base of the institutions directly. This injection of capital must be limited to the strict minimum, so as not to encourage the financial institution to engage in other activities or in an aggressive commercial strategy.

Member States may also accompany this aid and restructuring with the provisions of public funds, in particular from the central bank.

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

FIFG: Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

The Regulation on the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) sets out the policy priorities and the terms of assistance for the fisheries and aquaculture sector for the period 2000-06. The FIFG is designed to help achieve the aims of the common fisheries policy by providing structural assistance. It thus strengthens the competitiveness of the operating structures and the development of economically viable enterprises.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1263/1999 of 21 June 1999 on the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

Summary

The aim of the FIFG is to contribute to achieving the objectives of the common fisheries policy. It supports structural measures in fisheries, aquaculture and the processing and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products. In this way it promotes the restructuring of the sector by putting in place the right conditions for its development and modernisation.

Objectives

The aims of the FIFG’s structural measures are to:

  • contribute to achieving a balance between fisheries resources and their exploitation,
  • strengthen the competitiveness of operating structures and the development of economically viable enterprises in the sector;
  • improve market supply and the value added to fishery and aquaculture products;
  • contribute to revitalising areas dependent on fisheries and aquaculture.

Scope

This Regulation grants FIFG support to the following in line with the FIFG’s overall objectives:

  • fleet renewal and modernisation of fishing vessels;
  • adjustment of fishing effort;
  • joint enterprises;
  • small-scale coastal fisheries;
  • socio-economic measures;
  • protection of marine resources in coastal waters;
  • aquaculture;
  • fishing port facilities;
  • processing and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products;
  • seeking new outlets for such products;
  • operations by members of the trade;
  • innovative actions, in particular those of a transnational nature and involving the networking of operators and areas dependent on the sector.
  • technical assistance.

Programming

This Regulation firmly links the FIFG both to the structural policy established by Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds and to the common fisheries policy provided for in Council Regulation (EEC) No 3760/92.

The structural measures financed by the FIFG fall under different multiannual programmes according to the regional context in which they apply:

  • where regions are eligible for Structural Funds under Objective 1, the measures are included in the programming for that Objective;
  • where regions are not eligible for Objective 1, the measures are covered by single programming documents in each Member State.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1263/1999 29.06.1999 OJ L 161 of 26.06.1999

Related Acts

Council Regulation (EC) No 2370/2002 of 20 December 2002 establishing an emergency Community measure for scrapping fishing vessels [Official Journal L 358 of 31.12.2002].

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2722/2000 of 13 December 2000 establishing the conditions under which the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) may make a contribution towards the eradication of pathological risks in aquaculture [Official Journal L 314 of 14.12.2000].

Council Regulation (EC) No 2792/1999 of 17 December 1999 laying down the detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector [Official Journal L 83 of 4.4.2000].
This Regulation lays down the detailed rules and arrangements for Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector. It specifies the procedure for adopting the multiannual guidance programmes for the fishing fleets (MAGPs) for the period starting on 1 January 2002.

Commission Decision 1999/500/EC of 1 July 1999 fixing an indicative allocation by Member State of the commitment appropriations under the financial instrument for fisheries guidance (FIFG) outside the Objective 1 regions of the Structural Funds for the period 2000 to 2006 [Official Journal L 194 of 27.07.1999]
This Decision lays down the indicative allocation by Member State of the commitment appropriations under the FIFG outside the Objective 1 regions for 11 Member States (excluding Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal). These appropriations total EUR 1 106 million in 2000-06 (1999 prices). The total allocations for the FIFG for the period 2000-06 total EUR 4 119 million (2005 prices).

Council Regulation (EEC) No 3760/92 of 20 December 1992 establishing a Community system for fisheries and aquaculture (Official Journal of the European Communities L389 of 31.12.1992)
This Regulation establishes a Community system for fisheries and aquaculture. It contributes towards achieving a balance between conservation and the management of resources, on the one hand, and fishing effort and the stable and rational exploitation of those resources, on the other.

Improving the financial measures relating to the common fisheries policy

Improving the financial measures relating to the common fisheries policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Improving the financial measures relating to the common fisheries policy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Improving the financial measures relating to the common fisheries policy

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 861/2006 of 22 May 2006 establishing Community financial measures for the implementation of the common fisheries policy and in the area of the Law of the Sea.

Summary

Through this Regulation the Council intends to improve the effectiveness of financial interventions within the framework of the implementation and control of the common fisheries policy (CFP).

Priority objectives

Financial measures are provided for in order to implement the CFP. The financial interventions concern:

  • improving the control of fishing activities and the application of CFP measures. The purpose of the funds allocated to the Member States is to compensate for any shortfall in national fisheries control programmes and to deal with deteriorating resources. The aim is to coordinate these control measures, taking particular account of the deployment of national inspection and surveillance systems through the Community Fisheries Control Agency;
  • data collection and improving scientific advice. The aim of the financial interventions made to Member States is to provide additional information for the evaluation of fisheries resources. Data handling goes hand in hand with collecting information, and it is essential to involve all stakeholders in the implementation of these measures. The Community funds will be used to support the establishment of complete databases which will be regularly updated within the Member States;
  • international relations. The financial interventions will support the conclusion of fisheries agreements with third countries, collaboration with the United Nations and the establishment of partnerships in the sector. These funds are also to be used for Community participation in preparatory work aimed at establishing new international organisations and/or new international standards in the fisheries sector and to protect fisheries resources;
  • governance of the CFP. The Regulation provides for expenditure relating to the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (ACFA) and the Regional Advisory Councils (RACs), as well as for financing the operational costs of establishing the RACs.

Allocation of Community funds

These various actions will be financed within the framework of the financial guidelines for the period 2007-13. These actions receive Community funding as they help to ensure a long-term balance for fisheries resources.

Annual appropriations will be authorised by the budgetary authority within the limits of the financial framework. The measures financed under this Regulation may not receive financial assistance from other Community instruments. The Commission will ensure that preventive measures are established against fraud, corruption and any other illegal activities by providing for the recovery of the amounts paid if any irregularities are detected.

The implementation of these actions will be monitored on a regular basis. The Commission will ensure the regular, independent, external evaluation of the actions financed.

Under this Regulation the Commission must present to the Parliament and to the Council by 31 March 2011 an interim evaluation report on the results obtained and on the monitoring of the implementation of the actions financed by Community funds. A communication on the continuation of these actions will be published no later than 30 August 2012.

References

Act Entry into force – expiry date Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 861/2006

1.1.2007 – 31.12.2013

OJ L 160 of 14.6.2006.

Related Acts

Commission Regulation (EC) No of 3 November 2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No as regards the expenditure incurred by Member States for the collection and management of the basic fisheries data [Official Journal L 295 of 4.11.2008].
This Regulation establishes the Community financial contribution for expenditure incurred by Member States for the collection and management of the basic fisheries data. Member States are to submit an annual budget forecast concerning their national programme to the Commission for evaluation. The Commission may request a Member State to provide further clarification on the expenditure concerned in order to carry out that evaluation. The Member State shall provide that clarification within 15 calendar days from the Commission’s request. Eligible expenditure shall be related to data collection activities (collection of data on the sampling sites, at-sea-monitoring of commercial and recreational fisheries, research surveys at sea), data management activities (database and website development, storage, quality control and validation, processing, etc.) and data use activities (production of data and their uses to support scientific analysis, biological parameter estimates, and preparation of sets of data for stock assessment, bio-economic modelling and corresponding scientific analysis). The first national programme covers the period 2009-2010.

Commission Regulation (EC) No of 11 April 2007 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No as regards the expenditure incurred by Member States in implementing the monitoring and control systems applicable to the Common Fisheries Policy [Official Journal L 97 of 12.4.2007].
This Regulation establishes the conditions governing financial aid from the Community for expenditure incurred by Member States on the control and implementation of the CFP regulations during the period 2007-2013. To receive financial aid, Member States must notify the Commission of their control programme before 31 January each year. Eligible projects are generally for a sum greater than 40 000 euros. They must follow the schedule set out in the annual programme and are subject to an interim evaluation report and a final report which is submitted to the Commission by each Member State. In addition, some additional conditions must be met for investment in new technologies, the purchase and modernisation of vessels and training and exchange programmes.