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Weekly Overview: Pressure on Commission Forces Support for EU Fishermen

09 September 2014

ANALYSIS - Pressure mounted this week in Europe for the European Commission to take action to support the fisheries sector in the face of the bans on a number of products from being exports to Russia, writes Chris Harris.

Scotland’s secretary for rural affairs and food Richard Lochhead was among a number of fisheries ministers pressing the commission to make the fish sector a priority.

A meeting of ministers was called on Friday to discuss the Russian ban, which is being most severely felt by Denmark, Latvia, UK, Ireland, Estonia, Spain and France.

The total export value of the banned EU fisheries products is close to €144 million, which represents two per cent of total value of the EU's fish and aquaculture annual product. Russia is the EU's 6th export market for fisheries products.

Now the fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki has pledged support for the fisheries sector.

In a letter to the current chair of the EU fisheries committee Alain Cadec and the Italian fisheries minister Maurizio Martina promising financial support to producer organisations that are unable to sell to Russia.

Apart from the storage aid, the Commission is also to show more flexibility over quotas with some quota able to be moved into next year.

The commission is also monitoring market prices carefully, with a special task force established to analyse the economic impacts.

And special funds have been made available for promotion of agricultural and fisheries products.

In another report from the European Free Trade Authority EFTA, criticism has been leveled at Iceland for its welfare practices in a number of slaughterhouses.

The study by EFTA was to make sure that Iceland is complying with the with the EEA requirements.

Although EEA law regarding animal welfare is not applicable to Iceland, the rules for protection of animals at the time of killing, which came into force on 1 January 2013 are.

Generally, the report found the Iceland complied with the rules but found some faults in the enforcement of compliance.

Chris Harris

Chris Harris

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