European Scrutiny Committee Contents

1 European Maritime and Fisheries Fund



+ ADDs 1-2

COM(11) 804

Draft Regulation on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006 and Council Regulation (EC) No 861/2006 and Council Regulation No XXX/2011 on integrated maritime policy

Legal baseArticles 42, 43(2), 91(1), 100(2), 173(3), 175, 188, 192(1), 194(2) and 195(2) TFEU; co-decision; QMV
DepartmentEnvironment, Food & Rural Affairs
Basis of considerationMinister's letter of 26 November 2012
Previous Committee ReportsHC 428-xlix (2010-12), chapter 5 (1 February 2012) and HC 86-xix (2012-13), chapter 1 (7 November 2012)
Discussion in CouncilSee para 1.3 below
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionFor debate in European Committee A (Decision reported on 7 November 2012)


1.1 Financial support to help attain the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is currently provided by the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), and in December 2011, the Commission put forward this draft Regulation proposing that, for the period 2014-2020, it should be replaced by a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), thus extending support for the first time to the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP).[1] It also proposed that the Fund should have an overall budget of €6.6 billion for the period in question, with €1.047 billion being devoted to the direct management of IMP by the Commission, and €5.5 billion to the remaining shared activities (the sustainable development of fisheries, aquaculture and fisheries areas, control and enforcement, and data collection).

1.2 The content and aims of the new Fund, and the Government's reactions to it, were set out in our Report of 1 February 2012, where we noted that the Government intended to provide an Impact Assessment, which would cover the financial implications. In view of this, we said that we proposed to hold the document under scrutiny until that information was available.

1.3 In our subsequent Report of 7 November 2012, we noted that the Government had told us that a partial general approach, covering all but the management aspects of the proposal, had been agreed by qualified majority on 24 October, which it regarded as a positive development. It also said that, given the risk of a considerable weakening of the proposal had the discussions been inconclusive, it had taken the decision to override the Parliamentary scrutiny reserve, and support this approach, thus enabling it to play a pivotal role in the discussions, and secure the best deal possible. We also noted that no financial details had been agreed, and that the UK's agreement had been without prejudice to decisions in the wider negotiation on the Multi-Annual Financial Framework. Similarly, no agreement could be reached on the criteria for the allocating funds between the Member States.

1.4 We commented that, although the Government had justified this scrutiny over-ride on the grounds that it enabled the UK to secure the best possible outcome at the recent Council, it did not necessarily follow that the deal was a good one, and we cited a number of areas which in our view could still present difficulties. In view of this, and with the Government having said that an Impact Assessment would now be provided only when the financial details were available (rather than alongside the proposals for the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy), we took the view that the handling and content of this document raised issues which the House would wish to consider further. We therefore recommended it for debate in European Committee A.

Minister's letter of 26 November 2012

1.5 We have now received from the Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Mr Richard Benyon) a letter of 26 November, providing an initial and partial Impact Assessment on this proposal, and this is attached at Annex A.


1.6 Since this document is due to be debated in European Committee A, we are drawing this Impact Assessment to the attention of the House, but, having set out the content of the partial general agreement at some length in previous Reports, we see no need for further comment.


Initial Assessment for the Proposed Regulation on The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

1.  The European Commission published its proposal for the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) in December 2011. The proposed fund has four pillars: (1) smart green fisheries, (2) smart, green aquaculture (3) sustainable development of fisheries areas and (4) integrated maritime policy. The indicative financial allocation for the EMFF is approximately €6.6billion or £5.4billion[2] for 2014-2020. The allocation is dependent on discussions on the proposed Multi-annual Financial Framework Regulation. The main distribution of the funds is focussed on fisheries and aquaculture.

2.  The general aim of the EMFF is to support the objectives of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Impacts of the EMFF will therefore interact with other instruments from CFP and are currently non monetised. However, the level of activities of the top intervention areas of EMFF can give an idea on how the economic values may impact over the EMFF working years.

3.  Funding to support the ban on discarded fish under CFP reform is one aspect of the EMFF. Estimates suggest that 51,700 kilo of fish were discarded in the UK in 2010.[3] A discard ban would stop wastage of resources and also contribute to sustainable environment by stabilising fish stocks. The ban would encourage a change in selectivity of gears and fishing techniques which could be part-funded under the EMFF. Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) will be achieved in the long run within the CFP reform timeframe benefitting the industry. Over the shorter term, as fish stocks stabilise, fish landings and industry profitability may go down due to restrictions in place, working mostly through quota controls and the progressive reduction in discards.

4.  In 2012 around 47% of all fish directly consumed by humans worldwide is produced in aquaculture, with this figure set to rise in the next few years. A positive trend for future years is also expected for the UK. The total UK value of aquaculture finfish production in 2010 was £484 million, an increase from 2009 of £29 million.[4]

5.  There is a deficit in innovation activities between the fisheries sector and the rest of the economy for most of the EU countries, where the EMFF would provide support. A rough estimation of such "innovation gap", calculated by comparing labour productivity (measured in gross value added/ employee) in the EU fisheries sector (catching and aquaculture) with the EU average, would be around 25.7% and for UK it is 16.87%.

Estimation of innovation gap in UK: Differences between GVA/employee total and in fisheries (catching and aquaculture) in 2007[5]
Member State
GVA/employee total
GVA/employee fish
Difference €
Diff % over total
UK39,52832,860 6,66816.87%

The main impact areas of the EMFF and indicators are presented in the following table.

EMFF impacts and indicators
Main impacts
Environmental impactReduction of impact of fisheries on the environment Evolution of discards
Economic impactClosure of the innovation gap in fisheries and aquaculture GVA per employee in the fishing and aquaculture sectors
Social impactCreation of jobs outside the fisheries sector in communities dependent on fisheries Number of jobs created in fisheries-dependant areas

1   (32002) 14284/10 + ADD 1: see HC 428-viii (2010-12), chapter 4 (17 November 2010) and HC 428-xxxix (2010-12), chapter 9 (26 October 2011). Back

2   Calculated in November 2012 using Back

3   Unpublished CEFAS scoping note; figures do not include Northern Ireland or discards for UK pelagic species. Back

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Prepared 13 December 2012