Welcoming the adoption, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella stressed the programme's contribution to sustainable growth: "Investment under this programme will go to Portuguese fisheries, aquaculture and maritime projects that are both environmentally sustainable and economically sound. I am convinced that the package adopted today will allow Portuguese fishermen and fish farmers to face the future with confidence and allow Portuguese fishing and coastal communities to thrive."
The adopted Operational Programme (OP) will support the rolling out of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and Integrated Maritime Policy in Portugal. It aims at enhancing resource efficient, innovative, competitive and knowledge based fisheries and aquaculture, as well as protecting the marine environment in Portugal.
Funding will support investments in fisheries, aquaculture and processing industries that boost competitiveness and sustainability. This includes adjusting the capacity of the Portuguese fleet to available resources, reducing energy consumption, promoting innovation and increasing sustainability in the aquaculture sector. Funding will also focus on helping producer organisations to better organise themselves.
Particular attention will be paid to measures reducing the impact of fisheries on the marine environment and to protecting aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems through marine protected areas.
The Portuguese outermost regions of the Azores and Madeira will be compensated for extra costs incurred.
Local development initiatives (Fisheries Local Action Groups - FLAGs) will receive more funding, and more emphasis will be placed on joined-up action with other EU funds at regional level. The programme will also support Portuguese public bodies in enforcing CFP rules and providing sound data for the management of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors.