The current European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (2014-2020) aims to make progress towards environmental, economic and social sustainability in fisheries and aquaculture. It has a total budget of 6.4 billion euros, of which Spain received around 1.089 billion euros. This report reviews the spending of funds in relation to the environmental sustainability of Spanish fishing activities until 2018, the last year public information is available.
Key conclusions include that € 55 million has been spent on subsidies deemed harmful to the marine environment, out of the € 295 million expected to have been spent during this period. Some investments in aquaculture and the temporary and permanent cessation of fishing activities are noteworthy. On the other hand, 167 million euros have been spent on activities that are considered beneficial to ecosystems and the sustainability of fishing activities of the expected 428 million for this period, such as the protection of biodiversity, data collection, the control of fishing activities and the local activities development strategies. Similarly, the expenditure on small-scale fishing is considered very low compared to industrial fishing (5.8 of the 321 million euro), a fleet with greater economic difficulties and notable social importance.
In general, Spain is moving in the right direction, but there are many aspects that need to be improved for the next funds allocated between 2021 and 2027, in particular to improve the clarity and availability of information as well as its transparency. In this context, it is important to note that in the next tranche of funds, all Member States, including Spain, will allocate more resources to biodiversity protection (currently only 5% of the total fund is planned to be spent), data collection and control (it expected to spend 7% and 6% of the total fund respectively) as these measures not only help restore poorly preserved ecosystems and combat illegal fishing, but also restore marine resources on which many coastal communities and society at large depend.
You can read the report in Spanish here: Use of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) in Spain between 2014 and 2018 and recommendations for the following period