The State aid rules for fisheries and aquaculture are closely related to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), in particular the rules on support measures financed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
State Aid Policy
The State aid framework in the fisheries and aquaculture sector also consists of:
- A sector-specific block exemption Regulation (FIBER) (consolidated version)
- Guidelines for the examination of State aid to the fishery and aquaculture sector (consolidated version)
- De Minimis aid rules in the fishery and aquaculture sector (consolidated version)
State aid to promote the economic development of the fishery and aquaculture sector is embedded in the broader CFP. Within the CFP, the Union provides financial support to the fisheries and aquaculture sector. The use of State aid is only allowed according to the Guidelines if they respect the conditions of the EMFF Regulation 508/2014.
Certain types of State aid to the fisheries and aquaculture sector are deemed to be compatible with the internal market. These are contained in Commission Regulation 1388/2014 declaring certain categories of aid to undertakings active in the production, processing and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
Regulation 717/2014 provides the rules for de minimis aid in the fishery and aquaculture sector. The regulation sets the ceiling at €30,000 per beneficiary over any period of three years. In addition each Member State has to respect the maximum cumulative amount set out in the annex to the de minimis regulation (the “national cap”) while granting aid to undertakings active in the fishery and aquaculture sector.
The de minimis aid is conditional; it may not be used for the purchase of fishing vessels, for the modernisation or replacement of main or ancillary engines of fishing vessels or to operations increasing the fishing capacity of a vessel, or equipment increasing the ability of a vessel to find fish or any other ineligible operations under the EMFF Regulation.
The competition rules for fisheries products are set out in Regulation1379/2013. Under Article 40 of Regulation 1379/2013 standard competition rules apply to fishery and aquaculture products. The Regulation also sets out some specific derogations.