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EU extends financial relief to coronavirus-affected aquaculture sector


European Commission executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager announced the adoption of the Temporary Framework to enable Member States to further support the economy in the COVID-19 outbreak (Source: European Commission)

The European Commission is taking steps to extend financial aid to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors within EU member states that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recognizing that fishing and aquaculture have been among the hardest hit sectors, the European Commission is adopting a “temporary state aid framework” to allow member states to provide economic relief to these sectors of up to €120,000 per undertaking.

“Our fishermen and women and our aquaculture farmers are among the first to suffer the economic consequences of Coronavirus, as the demand for seafood has experienced a dramatic slump,” said Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries.

As retailers, restaurants and other large-scale buyers reduce or cease their activities due to the spread of Covid-19, demand for seafood has been on a downward trend. The effects of the global crisis on logistics and disruptions to the supply chain are also impacting the seafood industry.

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The Temporary Framework will enable member states to make support available, in the form of grants or tax advantages, to operators facing a sudden shortage or unavailability of liquidity. “In many cases, this can mean the difference between permanently closing activities and long-term survival of healthy businesses and thousands of jobs. Upon notification of the measures by the member state, the Commission has put in place procedures to enable very swift assessment and decision-making,” a statement from the European Commission stated.

Aid is available until December 31, 2020 to eligible undertakings that are facing difficulties as a result of the pandemic.