Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

EU Increases Aid Rules to Respond to Dramatic Slump in Seafood Sector Due to Covid-19

21st March 2020
EU Increases Aid Rules to Respond to Dramatic Slump in Seafood Sector Due to Covid-19

The European Commission says it is revising EU state aid rules to provide temporary relief for fishing fleets and fish farmers who have been hard hit by the economic consequences of Covid-19 writes Lorna Siggins

A “dramatic downturn” in the demand for seafood has prompted the move by the EU, which says it will allow member states to increase the maximum amount of “de minimis” aid from a current level of €30,000 to €120,000.

The Irish fleet is facing forced tie-ups as retailers, restaurants, canteens and other large-scale buyers reduce or temporarily closing down their activities. The largely export-led Irish seafood industry has been badly affected by restricted or closed access to European and Asian markets,

The European Commission also notes that the industry depends on logistics such as landing facilities, transport and storage, which may also be affected by the evolving crisis.

European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said that “our fishermen and women and our aquaculture farmers are among the first to suffer the economic consequences of COVID-19, as the demand for seafood has experienced a dramatic slump”

“ But let me say it loud and clear: the European Union stands with you through this crisis. Together, we will ensure that the EU maintains a strong seafood industry and thriving coastal communities, now and in the future,” he said.

The European Commission said this morning that the revised state aid rules will enable member states to make immediate support available, in the form of grants or tax advantages, to operators facing a sudden shortage or unavailability of liquidity.

“ In many cases, this can mean the difference between permanently closing activities and long-term survival of healthy businesses and thousands of jobs,”it said.

“The impact of these measures on coastal areas goes well beyond the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. Also companies in the wider blue economy – from biotech to tourism – will benefit, as worsening economic conditions and restrictions on movement will be felt across the Union over the coming weeks and months,”it said in a statement. Aid can be granted until December 31st, 2020.

It said the aid measures are “fully in line with the EU’s common fisheries policy, which promotes sustainable use of ocean resources”. It said aid is not applicable to activities explicitly excluded from the de minimis aid in the fishery and aquaculture sector.

Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) chief executive Sean O’Donoghue said that the public was buying canned, rather than fresh fish, and access to cold storage for sufficient frozen product – which could allow prawn vessels to store catch - was proving an issue across Europe.

A briefing document by two European industry organisations, Europeche and EAPO, which Mr O’Donoghue has forwarded to Minister for Agriculture and Food Michael Creed describes how the Irish nephrops (prawns), whitefish and brown crab fleets that rely heavily on exports to the Chinese, Italian, Spanish and French markets have seen “huge prices drops and market closures”.

“This is also the case for other species in many countries. This led to the fishing activity being suspended and the whole seafood industry sector is affected,” the documents says.

EU fleets face a drop to “about zero” of all sales to restaurants and food services,” the document says.

The European fishing industry organisations are seeking a number of measures, including ensuring vessels can carry more than ten per cent of their quota into next year.

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

Email The Author

Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Irish Sailing & Boating

Since restrictions began in March 2020, the Government is preparing for a 'controlled and gradual return to sport' and the 2020 sailing fixtures are being tentatively redrafted by yacht clubs, rowing clubs angling and diving clubs across Ireland as the country enters a new phase in dealing with the Coronavirus. The hope is that a COVID-19 restrictions might be eased by May 5th as Sport Ireland has asked national governing bodies for information on the challenges they face. 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

To help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) everyone has been asked to stay at home. But some people may need to do more than this.

You may need to either:

You do these things to stop other people from getting coronavirus.

Read advice for people in at-risk groups

Read advice about cocooning.

Restricted movements

Everybody in Ireland has been asked to stay at home. You should only go out for a few reasons, such as shopping for food.

But you need to restrict your movements further if you: 

  • live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, but you feel well
  • are a close contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus
  • have returned to Ireland from another country

You need to restrict your movements for at least 14 days.

But if the person you live with has had a test and it is negative, you don't need to wait 14 days. You should still follow the advice for everyone - stay at home as much as possible.

Close contact

This is only a guide but close contact can mean:

  • spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person
  • living in the same house or shared accommodation as an infected person

How to restrict your movements 

Follow the advice for everybody - stay at home.

Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2020?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating