Fishers to receive €800,000 COVID-19 aid following approval from European Commission

An €800,000 Maltese scheme to support fishing vessel owners affected by the COVID-19 outbreak has been approved by the European Commission.

Maltese fishing vessel owners will be benefiting from an €800,000 scheme, with the initiative receiving the final seal of approval from the European Commission.

The scheme was approved under the State Aid Temporary Framework, and will be distributed in the form of direct grants.

The aid amount per beneficiary will be calculated by multiplying the amount of fish, in kilograms, caught in 2020 by €0.98, up to a maximum ceiling of €5,000 per vessel.

The measure seeks to partially address the loss of income suffered by fishermen during the COVID-19 outbreak due to the restrictive measures introduced by government to limit the spread.

This will be done by tackling the liquidity needs of fishing vessel owners to continue their activities during and after the outbreak.  

The Commission found that the scheme is in line with the conditions of the Temporary Framework. In particular, aid per beneficiary will not exceed €270,000, and the scheme will only be granted until 31 December 2021.

The price of fish across Malta plummeted by nearly 50% after airports and trade routes across the globe were shut down by the pandemic.

Industry experts said the problem for fishers began during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, when government started closing down restaurants and places of entertainment to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

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