11 November 2011

Galicia reserves EUR 11 million for fishing vessel dismantling:

Xunta de Galicia decided to set aside EUR 11 million -- from the European Fisheries Fund for the period between 2007 and 2013 -- to be allocated for scrapping fishing vessels.

Rosa Quintana, Galician Minister of Maritime Affairs, stressed her support to a "strong and competitive" sector and defended the scrapping of vessels as an alternative for their owners to engage in other economic activities.

"If the shipowners want to dismantle ships to pursue other activities, I think we should use those funds," the official told the deputy Bieito Lobeira.

"I agree that Galicia is not willing to scrap the fleet but if the shipowners want to do so, they can do it," added Quintana.

The deputy strongly criticised the ship-scrapping process: "They want to put an end to the fishing fleet and to replace it with aquaculture and marinas while our fishermen will have to find a way of making a living."

Lobeira also accused Quintana of being an agent "of aquaculture lobbies," the newspaper La Voz de Galicia reported.

The deputy José Manuel Balseiro recalled that during the bipartisan government 25 vessels disappeared with grants of EUR 28 million.

Quintana appeared at the Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget of the Galician Parliament to present the budget of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs for the next year, rising by 1.7 per cent over the current year and will reach EUR 178.6 million.

Of these, the Galician government will use EUR 102 million for investment and giving aid to businesses and professionals in maritime fishing, EFE news agency reported.

Although the fishing industry is going through a "difficult economic environment," the figures "called for optimism," as seafood increased by 8 per cent in first-sale value and in average price by 13%, Quintana added.

Finally, an achievement of the administration was highlighted: the increase in 500 fishing permits (permex) since 2009 and the "creation of 1,050 jobs" in the Northwest Bay of Biscay fishing ground, the newspaper Faro de Vigo reported.

Source: FIS. By Analia Murias. 10 November 2011

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