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Fisheries

Volume 495: debated on Monday 6 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on the level of income of fishing fleets of the operation of (a) the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance and (b) the European Fisheries Fund; and if he will make a statement. (283487)

The European Fisheries Fund (EFF), and Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) before it, aim to help the fishing industry adapt and restructure to changing circumstances. The range of grant aided measures is very broad and includes investment in harbour facilities which can have a direct impact on incomes, as well as indirect benefit through investment in fish processing and marketing to sustain and develop markets.

Mid-term evaluation of FIFG shows that 40 harbour projects and 154 processing and marketing companies were assisted between 2001 and June 2005.1 In addition, £5.2 million was spent on launching 71 projects led by industry members, including 15 promotional and 11 market research schemes. As a direct measure to assist fishermen, £900,000 was spent financing gear selectivity trials and vessel operational efficiencies.2

The European Commission has appointed a consortium led by Ernst and Young to undertake the ex-post evaluation for FIFG which is to be completed by the end of 2009.

EFF is a new scheme which has operated in the UK since September 2008, and as such, it is too early to assess its impact. EFF has an indicator of gross value added for the UK specifically to measure profitability; from a baseline of £988 million in 2006, moving to £1,030 million in 2010 and £1,070 million in 2015. Full details can be found in the UK Operational Programme which is available on the Marine and Fisheries Agency website at:

www.mfa.gov.uk3

1 Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) Programme in Non-Objective 1 Areas of the United Kingdom (2000-06), Update of the mid-term evaluation, Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd., 2005.

2 Ibid.

3 UK Operational Programme, European Fisheries Fund, September 2008.