FRANCE - The European Commission has adopted a key investment package for the French maritime, fisheries and aquaculture industries amounting to roughly €774 million, about €587 million of which of EU funding.
Welcoming the adoption, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella stressed the programme's role in the quest for sustainable growth: "This is a programme customized to France's economy, so that investment can go to projects that are both environmentally sustainable and economically sound. I am convinced that the package adopted today will make French fishermen and fish farmers more confident about the future and will allow the country's coastal communities to thrive."
The money is intended to support any development or modernisation that can boost the competitiveness and sustainability of the industry, like for instance reducing the capacity of the French fleet, curbing energy consumption or promoting innovation in the aquaculture sector.
Producer organisations will be helped to get a better share of the value chain, with special attention to the extra costs faced by the French outermost regions. Measures reducing the impact of fisheries on the marine environment and protecting aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity receive special attention.
Local development initiatives (the Fisheries Local Action Groups or FLAGs), which have proven extremely successful in recent years, will not only receive increased aid, but that aid will also be combined with other EU funds of regional nature.
Significant amounts will go to the French public bodies that are entrusted with enforcing the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy through inspection and control and with the complex task of collecting the many fisheries data that are needed for a sound management of both the fisheries and the aquaculture sector.
In keeping with the principles of the European Maritime and Fisheries Funds, the operational programme (OP) just adopted for France in the context of the 2014-2020 financing period will help the country deploy the EU's new Common Fisheries Policy and Integrated Maritime Policy. Without neglecting the protection of the marine environment, it promotes a resource-efficient, innovative, competitive and knowledge-based industry for fisheries and aquaculture in France.
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