Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, is promising to speed up access to a raft of aid and support measures for the country’s fishing and aquaculture sector in a meeting held Monday, reports Agrodiariohuelva.

The ministry is searching for solutions to mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic on the fishing sector, without neglecting the ordinary actions of fisheries management, particularly in regard to the mackerel and sardine fisheries, it said.

Different procedures are being streamlined, such as making certain agreements more flexible to ensure that the country’s long-distance fleet can continue its activity as normally as possible in the fishing grounds of Morocco, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania.

Planas highlighted the efforts made by Spain to ensure the package of support measures included in the recently modified European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), approved last week, are as beneficial as possible for the fishing and aquaculture sector.

Measures include the possibility of establishing aid for shipowners, crew and, at Spain's request, the inclusion of shellfish workers impacted by the health crisis.

It will also finance storage aid, increased compensation for economic losses in the Canary Islands and regulatory changes to specific support for aquaculture.

The minister highlighted the inclusion of higher co-financing percentages in some of these measures, which will allow greater use to be made of the funds allocated to Spain in the EMFF.

To speed up its implementation, the Official State Gazette (BOE) published last Friday the first resolution to facilitate the use of this aid.

The order sets trigger prices for the main species, such as anchovies, sardines, mackerel, horse mackerel, hake and fresh blue whiting, among others. The second resolution with other species of interest to the sector will come out soon.

Planas said the application of these measures will allow for a speedy a return to normality in the fishing sector.