23rd May

EU assurance for fisheries sector following Russian trade ban

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European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, has given assurance that the European Commission 'stands ready to support the fisheries sector' and possibly shift unused fishing quotas to 2015, following Russia’s announcement on August 7 to ban imports of certain fisheries products from the European Union.

In a letter addressed to Italian Minister Maurizio Martina and the Chair of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, Alain Cadec, Commissioner Damanaki said the EU can provide financial support and could maybe shift unused fishing quotas to 2015.

She has also called on EU governments to make use 'as quickly as possible' of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) which can provide financial aid to producer organisations unable to sell their products to Russia. Funds will also enable producers to store the unsold products until new markets have been found.

No approval is necessary from the European Commission to unlock these storage funds. Commissioner Damanaki pointed to flexibility rules that allow Member States to carry over up to 10% of their fishing quotas to the following year. She is also examining the possibility of going beyond the 10% quota flexibility under the condition that scientific examination confirms that such a proposal would not undermine long-term sustainability.

Background 

The fisheries products affected by the ban are live, fresh, chilled, frozen, salted, in brine and smoked fish, molluscs and crustaceans. The main Member States exporting these products to Russia in 2013 were Denmark, Latvia, UK, Ireland, Estonia, Spain and France. In 2013, the total export value of the banned EU fisheries products was almost €144 million or 2% of total value of the EU's fish and aquaculture annual product.

Russia is the EU's 6th export market for fisheries products. In 2013, EU exports of fisheries products to Russia represented 5%, or €199 million, of total EU fisheries exports. In 2013, fisheries products represented 0.2% of the EU’s overall exports to Russia.

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