In Brussels, the Council of Ministers of the EU

Luis Planas calls for an urgent energy transition in the fisheries sector

News - 2022.11.21

The Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers of the European Union (EU), held in Brussels, discussed the initiative the Commission is working on to define short- and long-term measures on energy transition in the fisheries sector, with the aim of improving its resilience and making it less dependent on fossil fuels. These measures will seek to improve energy efficiency and to incorporate clean and renewable energy sources and complementary propulsion technologies into the fishing fleet.

Luis Planas pointed out that this is a great challenge that requires support from public funds, because the energy transition involves the implementation of new propulsion systems that require new designs in shipbuilding. The minister alluded to the need to renew the fishing fleet, which has a high average age and was designed for a propulsion system based on fossil fuels.

The minister recalled that the European Maritime Fund for Fisheries and Aquaculture (EMFF) does not provide funding for the replacement of vessels and is therefore insufficient to meet the ambitious decarbonisation targets set by the EC, and other suitable funding instruments will be needed.

Energy is one of the main production costs for fisheries and aquaculture, which has been hit hard by higher prices because of the war in Ukraine. To deal with the economic situation, the EC has adopted measures such as the establishment of a temporary framework allowing state aid of up to €300,000 per company and the activation of the FEMPA crisis mechanism. This has made it possible for support measures to be made available to the sector in Spain for a total amount of more than €68 million.

The Council also discussed a commission communication on the development of a strong and sustainable seaweed sector. Luis Planas pointed out that this is a sector that has very good prospects in Spain, given that it has a large number of available sites for its development and already has a long tradition and thorough knowledge, as well as a wide network of R&D&I centres.

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