European Fisheries Fund – €30 million per year for Croatia

Croatia is becoming a full EU member state during a time of big changes within the fishing industry, both nationally and within the EU market.  After EU membership, Croatian fishermen, fish farms, fisheries, coastal and island communities will have access to €30 million yearly from the EU Fisheries Fund and Croatia securing an additional €10 million.

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) defines and regulates the fishing industry, fishing capacities, and the management of the fisheries fund.  Fishing quotas are not defined.  However, fishing fleets’ tonnage capacities are defined and, hence, limited.  Croatia’s fishing fleet capacity will be defined upon EU membership and will not be allowed to be increase thereafter.  Presently, Croatia’s capacities are approximately 45,000 GT and approximately 310,000 kW.  Fishing boats that are ordered before EU membership, but will be completed after membership, will be allowed to be calculated into Croatia’s fishing fleet.  All fishing boats must be equipped with a satellite supervising system.  According to the international ICAT convention, Croatia’s quota for tuna will remain the same as when Croatia becomes an EU member.

Until a plan for the management and rejuvenation of the fishing fun, new fishing licences and certificates for fish exports to the EU will not be allowed.  The sale of licences among fishermen and fisheries is allowed.  When conditions are met for issuing new licences, citizens from other EU member states must not be discriminated.  After EU membership, Croatia’s waters become the fishing waters of the EU, but only Croatian fisherman have the right to fish within Croatian territorial waters.

After 2015, the small fisherman category for personal use will be eliminated. This is a hybrid category between a sports/recreational and professional fisherman.  A total of 13,000 such licences have been issued and it is estimated that 4,000-5,000 of these fishermen will re-licence as professional fishermen.

Croatia has been allowed a transition period and the exclusion for traditional small boats smaller than 15 meters and they will be permitted to fish one mile from shore.  Also, fishing along the west coast of the Istrian peninsula fishing boats will be allowed 1.5 miles from the coastline until 30 June 2014, with a possibility of this being a permanent arrangement.  Four islands (Lastovo, Mljet, Vis, Dugi Otok) have special status, regarding co-financing of projects from the EU Fisheries Fund, totalling up to 85% of the total value of the project, instead of the normal 75%.

The total fishing catch of the Croatian fleet in 2011 is 70,353 tons, valued at €60 million.  The fishing industry employs approximately 10,000 persons, with the revenue by the industry reaching €200 million per year.

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