State aid: Commission approves €720,000 Maltese scheme to support Bluefin tuna fishermen

The European Commission has approved a €720,000 Maltese scheme to support self-employed Bluefin tuna fishermen that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The public support will take the form of direct grants. The aid will be calculated based on the quota assigned by the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture to Bluefin tuna fishermen in 2020. The purpose of the scheme is to compensate the drop in the price of Bluefin tuna on the market and therefore help those fishermen to continue their activities after the outbreak. The Commission found that the Maltese scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, the grants will not exceed €120,000 per beneficiary. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.57984 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.