Industry seeks answers on Borg fuel plan Published: 03 August, 2005
UK FISHERMEN’S leaders want urgent clarification of a statement to them by EU fisheries commissioner Joe Borg that the rules applying to the FIFG fund can be looked at again to allow vessels to win assisted lay-up periods to help ease soaring fuel costs.
Mr Borg spelled out a rethink of the FIFG rules allowing lay-ups of up to three months at a meeting in Brussels attended by industry representatives including the chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Bertie Armstrong and Barrie Deas, the chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations.
In the meantime, the UK fisheries ministry, Defra, is carrying out a study on the implications of the oil price hike on fishermen and what might be done about it.
Today, Mr Armstrong, said that Mr Borg’s statement on a reinterpretation of the FIFG rules to allow temporary cessation of fishing up to three months threw up a list of problems, not least the question of whether the UK would participate in this scheme.
Mr Amstrong added:
“I think what Mr Borg was saying is that there is now some flexibility in the FIFG funds to apply to fleet viability.
“The next stage is to go to the fishing industry and ask if this would help them and also go to the Scottish and UK fisheries departments and ask exactly what is on the table. The curious thing is that there were no UK fisheries officials at the meeting with Mr Borg.The short of it was Mr Borg was making announcements about the administration of funds and the UK administrators of the funds were not there to hear him.
“There are self evident difficulties over Mr Borg’s statement and people will want to know immediately how much money is available, but Mr Borg’s attitude was calm and he showed a general appreciation of the fact that Commission had accepted the serious nature of the fuel cost issue.”
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