Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February last year, the EU adopted several measures to support the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, but the measures lacked cohesion, according to a new report.
The EU Commission took appropriate measures to mitigate the impacts of the crisis, including a grant for fisheries and aquaculture companies affected by the crisis, according to a report published by the Market Advisory Council (MAC), a multi-stakeholder group giving input into seafood markets and policy in the EU.
However, the implementation of the support measures were done at a national level, and member states took different approaches, which meant seafood players lacked a level-playing field, the report said.
For example, the report noted the fishing sectors in Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands did not put in place compensation for the increase in fuel price, instead using the Brexit Adjustment Reserve to compensate for the price increase.
Sweden granted aid to compensate for higher prices, but it was conditional on the landings taking place in Sweden, which meant that a large portion of pelagic catches were not eligible.
Considering the impact of the ongoing crisis, MAC believes the EU Commission should ensure national authorities use all available aid opportunities and publish EU guidelines on compensation measures, in part to address the inequities.
The organization also wants the EU to continue to implement more measures to mitigate the impacts faced by the sector, particularly in terms of energy, fuel and raw materials.
The group also urged the EU to increase the maximum amount of support to the sectors, and work on crisis prevention to improve the resilience of the agri-food systems in the EU.
MAC membership includes, among other groups, the European Fish Processors Association (AIPCE), fishermen's associations across EU member states, as well as national seafood associations such as Germany's BV Fisch.