Denmark to use EU cash to fund sustainable fishing

A unanimous majority in the Danish parliament has agreed to spend around half of a 917 million kroner fund from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) on developing sustainable and green fishing.

Denmark to use EU cash to fund sustainable fishing
File photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Just under half of the fund, approximately 437 million kroner, will be spent on various green and sustainable initiatives for the fishing industry, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries said in a statement.

Spending could promote green technologies, new fishing methods and new equipment.

“I am happy we could reach such a broad agreement in which we will join together to give a historic amount directly to green conversion in fishing,” fisheries minister Rasmus Prehn said in the statement.

“We all took part in negotiations with the ambition of helping fishing to develop in a sustainable and more climate-friendly direction so that Danish fishermen are better equipped to meet the challenges of the future,” he added.

One element that the deal aims to tackle is pollution of fishing waters with dropped or discarded fishing nets.

Investment will also be made in coastal fishing and industry organisations will be supported in work to secure sales.

Industry organisation Danmarks Fiskeriforening (Danish Fisheries Association) has expressed reservations about how the money will be distributed.

“We would have liked to see (investment) in areas where the fishing industry can contribute to green conversion and climate adaptation, more money allocated for getting out in vessels so fishermen can invest in climate adaptations in fishing,” the organisation’s chairman Svend-Erik Andersen said.

Up to 200 million kroner has been earmarked administrative work such as technical support, Andersen said.

“This is a fisheries development package from the EU. And it’s very difficult for us to see that it has much to do with the development of fishing that municipalities are getting 180 million kroner for renovation of waterways in various parts of Denmark,” he also said.

READ ALSO: Norway, UK, and EU agree deal on fishing quotas

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Denmark halts fish farming development over environment concerns

Denmark said Monday it will stop development of its fish farming industry at sea, which has widely been criticised for its harmful impact on the environment.

Denmark halts fish farming development over environment concerns
File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

“Denmark has reached the limit of the number of fish that can be raised at sea without endangering the environment… We must be a green pioneer, including fish farming,” Environment Minister Lea Wermelin said in a statement.

The move means that the government will put an end to developing new aquaculture projects in the country but its 19 existing fish farms will not be affected.

The measure has been hailed by environmental groups who deplore the pollution caused by aquaculture production.

But fish farming officials have slammed the move, which they say will harm the flourishing industry.

“It's a serious setback,” said the head of the Danish aquaculture federation, Brian Thomsen.

“We thought about establishing offshore farms but now it's impossible.”

The federation estimates annual exports are worth 1.5 billion kroner (over 200 million euros).

Denmark has been aqua farming since the nineteenth century, but it is underdeveloped in Europe because Asia provides more than 90 percent of global production in tonnes.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says aquaculture is probably the fastest growing food-producing sector, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the world's food fish.

READ ALSO: Opinion: Overfishing in Danish seas is bad for the environment and the economy