The European Commission has adopted revised Guidelines for State aid in the fishery and aquaculture sector ('Fisheries Guidelines'). The revised Guidelines set out the conditions under which State aid granted by Member States to support the fisheries and aquaculture sectors may be considered compatible with the Single Market They reflect the EU strategic priorities, in particular the Common Fisheries Policy (‘CFP'), especially for what concerns the new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (‘EMFAF') and the European Green Deal.
The new State aid rules help Member States to meet the ambitious EU green targets by improving energy efficiency and mitigating the effect of climate change, without undue distortions of competition in the Single Market. In particular, they introduce the following main changes: (i) broader scope of measures targeting animal diseases in aquaculture, allowing for aid to be granted for emerging animal diseases and certain invasive alien species; (ii)new categories of aid, such as aid for fleet and cessation measures (in line with EMFAF) and aid for investments in equipment that contributes to safety of fishing vessels in the Union's outermost regions. At the same time, it should be noted that capacity enhancing measures are unlikely to be approved.
The new Guidelines were endorsed by the Commission in December 2022 and will be applicable as of 1 April 2023.