To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to assist UK fishermen to meet rising fuel costs; what other measures to assist fishermen with fuel costs would be permissible under EU rules; and what benchmarking his Department has undertaken of UK assistance on fuel prices to fishermen against measures taken by other EU member states.
The emphasis of any assistance to the fishing industry should be on building a sustainable future. I am, therefore, considering what steps can be taken to help the industry adapt to the changing environment including, increased fuel costs, and am meeting with industry representatives to discuss this. Among the considerations will be the relative competitiveness of the fleet compared to other member states.
Some of these steps can be funded under the European Fisheries Fund; other aid can be granted up to the de minimis limit for state aid set out in Commission Regulation 875/2007.