2 billion euros in aid to cope with fuel crisis – Fishupdate.com

2 billion euros in aid to cope with fuel crisis Published:  16 July, 2008

Joe Borg

EUROPEAN fishing ministers last night agreed a massive aid package totalling more than two billion euros (around £1.5-billion sterling) to help fishermen cope with the fuel crisis.

Diesel costs have shot up by more than 200 per cent over the past few years, with the sharpest increases coming this year as crude oil prices have soared. The situation has led to riots by Spanish and French fishermen and growing unrest throughout the UK, most notably Scotland which has the largest fishing fleet in Britain and has been hit the hardest.

But not all the money will be coming at once. It is thought the emergency aid package will be spread over a number of years and will encourage EU fishermen to spend longer in port, therefore reducing their need for fuel. It will also be used as a measure – long advocated by environmental groups – to reduce pressure on fishing grounds which they claim are being threatened by over fishing. Most of the aid will come from the European Fisheries Fund which has a five year budget totalling 4.3-billion euros.

EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said: “High fuel prices and chronic overcapacity mean that fisheries are in a time of crisis. We must focus on reducing over capacity, on reducing fuel dependency and on market measures which can help fishermen raise the first sale value of their catches.” Mr Borg added: “Only in this way can we help establish a truly sustainable future for the industry.”

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