July 14, 2011
Spain's aquaculture sector gets US$17 million additional grant
Xunta de Galicia has decided to extend the grants for the Spanish aquaculture sector with more support of EUR12 million (US$17.03 million), on top of the EUR16-million (US$22.7-million) grant awarded in January.
According to the head of the Ministry of Marine Affairs, Rosa Quintana, this extension is done to "increase the number of beneficiaries of these grants and to be able to use them to cover as many needs as possible."
The official measure seeks to enhance the competitiveness especially in the shellfish culture and production sectors.
The grants will be used to launch construction, extension, equipment and modernisation projects of aquaculture facilities in order to diversify the production of species.
They will also improve working conditions and workers' safety, production methods and the construction and modernisation of spare vessels.
"Regardless of the blockages" suffered by the aquaculture sector, the regional government is willing to "take on the challenge of aquaculture" from the economic, social and environmental angles, said the minister.
Besides, she stressed that the sector needs "legal security" â€“ for that aim a lot is being done on the Master Plan for Aquaculture â€“ and support for investments by extending subsidies.
The Galician Government recently declared aquaculture as a public interest activity for the autonomous region.
Regarding the new plan, Quintana said "these are the best tools for Galicia to recover the growth and the boost of aquaculture in Europe and worldwide."
In 2010, aquaculture turnover was EUR167 million (US$236.95 million), according to statistics from the Xunta.
Sixty-one percent of the grants stipulated by the Executive in Galicia is co-funded by the European Fisheries Fund.