TALLINN - At a sitting of the monitoring committee of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund's operational program for 2014-202 on Thursday, extraordinary support measures were approved whereby over 5 million euros is to be directed into the sector in Estonia.
The support will enable to compensate additional expenditures incurred by fishing companies as a result of market disruptions due to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine and their impact on the supply chain of fisheries and aquaculture products, the Ministry of Rural Affairs said.
Continued rapid growth in energy prices has caused a need to respond to changes and ensure entrepreneurs' competitiveness going forward. Estonian Minister of Rural Affairs Urmas Kruuse said in a press release that significant investments have already been made from the fund to transition to more sustainable energy sources but the volume of funds and the speed of the transition limit the pace of the process.
"There are no good alternative solutions yet in fishing enabling to replace ship fuel used at sea with an alternative energy carrier," Kruuse said.
Changes to the 2014-2020 operational program of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund are intended to compensate increased energy costs to producers of aquaculture products and entrepreneurs engaged in the processing of fishing and aquaculture products. It is planned to compensate trawlers for the increase in the price of fuel used in fishing. The period of compensation spans from March 1 to Dec. 31 this year.
The activities of the fisheries sector are geared at export, which is why the ministry deems it important to do everything it can to preserve the sector's competitiveness in foreign markets.
Altogether 2.18 million euros has been made available for trawl fisheries for compensating the increase in fuel price with the maximum sum of support per applicant being 500,000 euros. For entrepreneurs engaged in aquaculture and the processing of fish products, 2.87 million euros has been made available in energy compensation with the maximum support per applicant being 200,000 euros.
Regulation enabling to apply for the extraordinary support through agricultural registers and information authority PRIA is being prepared by the Ministry of Rural Affairs. Application rounds for the support are planned to open in February or March 2023.
Seventy-five percent of the total volume of the support will be disbursed from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and 25 percent from the Estonian state budget.