Portugal moves forward in the seafood sector with its MAR 2030 Program

    A to-do list in the seafood sector that with this program aims to boost Portugal, and make the sector remarkably successful without neglecting sustainability.

    Throughout this month, more details of the Ordinance 186/2023 published on July 3, which will govern the MAR 2030 Program in Portugal, aimed at supporting the sector’s economic agents and productive investments in its different segments: fishing, aquaculture and fish processing and marketing, have become known.

    The framework comprises various programs and specific provisions that address different aspects of the sector. These include initiatives for on-board investments, energy efficiency, safety, and selectivity. Additionally, there are financial incentives to promote innovation in fishing enterprises, both in terms of productivity and organization. The framework also focuses on sustainable development in aquaculture, as well as providing support to small and medium-sized enterprises involved in fishery and aquaculture product processing.

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    A more modern, sustainable, and safer fishery

    In the fishing sector there is an increase in the support rate for the replacement or modernization of vessel engines. Thus, the percentage allocated would be up to 40% of the eligible expenses, an increase of 10%. By doing this, Portugal demonstrates its commitment to the environmental objectives in terms of decarbonization and energy transition and contributes to the improvement of the profitability levels of fishing activity.

    However, the program also provides for the possibility of supporting the modernization of vessels that involve increasing their gross tonnage, when the purpose is to improve safety, working conditions, or energy efficiency.

    Productive investments for industry renewal

    MAR 2030 Program in the field of productive investments also contemplates various aids for aquaculture, fish processing and its marketing. Some of them are the co-promotion initiatives between economic agents and institutions of the scientific system, materializing a greater focus on knowledge transfer. All of these are other ways to also boost innovation, digitization, and competitiveness of the companies in the sector, which will thus have a place in the subsidy.

    Promoting aquaculture from the beginning

    Finally, about aquaculture, MAR 2030 will support the creation of start-up and spin-off companies, whose purpose is to initiate in the production. This includes many of the steps to get started in aquaculture, including support for the acquisition of eggs, larvae, juveniles, and broodstock. The reinforced commitment to sustainable aquaculture is also materialized in a support rate for SMEs of 60% of eligible expenses, 10% above the support foreseen in the previous programming cycle.

    In general, the support provided takes the form of a non-repayable grant and can range from 40% to 100% of the eligible expenses.

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    The measures adopted seek to strike the right balance between promoting the improvement of sustainability, competitiveness, and resilience of the companies in the sector and the well-known environmental and climate objectives.

    About the previous program MAR 2020

    The European Commission formally approved the MAR 2020 Operational Program through the Implementation Decision in. This decision was part of adopting the Operational Program funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for Portugal. The program also includes a set of programs and specific provisions covering different measures. These include investments on board, in the field of energy efficiency, safety, and selectivity. Furthemore also includes, investments in fishing enterprises for productive and organizational innovation, including the possibility of supporting collective action.

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