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Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR)

Commission approves €720,000 Maltese scheme to support #BluefinTuna fishermen

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The European Commission has approved a €720,000 Maltese scheme to support self-employed Bluefin tuna fishermen that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the state aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants. The aid will be calculated based on the quota assigned by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture to Bluefin tuna fishermen in 2020.

The purpose of the scheme is to compensate the drop in the price of Bluefin tuna on the market and therefore help those fishermen to continue their activities after the outbreak. The Commission found that the Maltese scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the grants will not exceed €120,000 per beneficiary. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a member state, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework.

On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU state aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.57984 in the state aid register on the Commission's competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.

Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR)

Commissioner Sinkevičius is tackling environmental threats in the Baltic region

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Today (28 September), Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, is organizing a high-level conference ‘Our Baltic' to address the environmental threats in the Baltic region. The Conference will focus on how to reduce pressure on the Baltic Sea and boost existing commitments in protecting it, as well as undertake new actions to tackle these problems.

Commissioner Sinkevičius said: “Action is needed in the Baltic to improve its state and preserve its biodiversity. This is why I took the initiative to bring the relevant decision makers to the table, and see how we can reduce pollution and litter, promote sustainable fishing, and roll out a common approach to reducing the inputs of nutrients. I look forward to our discussions during this high-level event.”

The most predominant threats in the Baltic Sea stem from excessive nutrients leading to eutrophication, high fishing pressure on some stocks in the past, marine litter, pollutants and contaminants including pharmaceuticals. It will aim to translate the Commission's ambitions defined in the European Green Deal, the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategies into concrete European measures for specific sea basins. The event will combine a high-level Ministerial session and stakeholder discussions. Ministers for environment, agriculture and fisheries from the eight EU member states in the region (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden) will also sign a Ministerial Declaration which will build on reinforced implementation of existing EU legislation in these countries and commit to reaching new targets agreed in the new EU strategies.

You can follow the event online here. The latest version of the programme and further details are available on the website.

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Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR)

What's next for the future of oceans - EU launches consultation on #InternationalOceanGovernance

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The EU has launched a targeted consultation to assess development needs and options for the EU's International Ocean Governance Agenda. High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell said: “The protection of our oceans is a global challenge that requires a collective response. The European Union is doing its part and ready to do more. We are determined to continue to fulfil our responsibility towards our citizens and to work with partners across the world. We all want sustainable and healthy oceans and to improve their governance.”

Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius added: “The EU is fully committed to promoting ocean governance. We are a reliable partner in strengthening the international framework, a top donor in building capacity, a strong supporter of ocean science and a business partner for the sustainable ‘blue economy'. This consultation will help the EU to lead on delivering of global sustainability objectives for the ocean.”

The consultation aims to identify relevant actions in light of today's challenges and opportunities in delivering global sustainability objectives for oceans, in particular in support of the European Green Deal and the Sustainable Development Goal on the oceans (SDG14) under the 2030 Agenda.

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Commissioner Sinkevičius starts discussions on fishing opportunities for 2021 at #AgrifishCouncil

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Environment, Fisheries and Oceans Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius (pictured) presented on 29 June at the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers videoconference the Commission's recent communication on sustainable fishing and orientations for 2021.

The debate with ministers started the new round of discussions and negotiations on fishing opportunities for the coming year. As also outlined in the Commission's Communication, this year is the year when fish stocks have to be managed in line with the maximum sustainable yield target, i.e. ensuring sustainable levels of fishing.

Thus, this will be the main objective in the proposals for the Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea stocks. Commissioner Sinkevičius also spoke to the ministers about the implementation of the landing obligation which despite being a win-win situation for fishermen and for the environment, remains a strong concern. On Brexit, he stressed that unity and a strong common position is needed to defend EU's interests.

Finally, the Commissioner talked to ministers about the bycatch of dolphins, porpoises and other protected species. EU legislation, both nature and fisheries rules, already offers all necessary tools to member states and in particular for the regions to tackle this problem effectively. In addition, the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 underlines the need to eliminate bycatch of species threatened with extinction or to reduce it to a level that allows their full recovery. A press statement by Commissioner Sinkevičius is available here.

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