Financing the Energy Transition
What to finance and how to finance will create the right or wrong incentives for achieving a transition to carbon-friendly fishing.
We believe as a first step that the Council of the EU and Member States should eliminate fuel tax exemptions for fisheries through the revision of the Energy Taxation Directive that is currently being negotiated in Council. We also believe that if a phasing in of taxation is agreed, it should be as quick as possible, and aligned to what is decided for the maritime sector in particular for the large scale industrial fleet. Taxation should ideally be high enough to dis-incentivise the use of fossil fuel, should reflect its carbon content and taxation should increase overtime so that we can progressively move away completely from oil as a source of energy. Ideally taxation should be applied to all vessels that enter or leave EU ports.
We also believe that the funds generated through taxation should be redirected to finance the transition of the fisheries sector towards a completely decarbonised sector which is also less energy intensive and less impactful.
Financing should also follow and be coherent with the priorities, objectives and targets of the roadmap and of the vision for the type of EU fisheries sector we want.
In our view the energy transition should clearly start with the first objective of reducing fuel consumption as much as possible. To do so financing is perfectly available under the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF).
Then probably we should move towards hybrid solutions for engines. Financing for these measures can be foreseen in the next programming period of the EMFAF. In the meantime, innovation and research support can be increased also through different funds as well as the investments in necessary port infrastructures that can tap into other funds such as Regional Structural Funds.
And then full decarbonization can happen in the years following those first steps. .
It is however crucial to understand that public financing cannot and must not cover the costs of the whole energy transition. So financial solutions and investments must come from the sector itself as well. As some fishers are already doing.