Bulgaria: Investment opportunities in sustainable aquaculture and processing of own catches

There are projects for BGN 23 million under the EU Fisheries Program

Companies in the fishing sector will be able to apply for nearly BGN 23 million under two procedures of the European Fisheries and Aquaculture Program that have been opened. Projects will be accepted by new companies wishing to invest in sustainable aquaculture as well as by fishermen who can receive funding for processing their own production, direct sales or innovation.

Projects may be submitted by mid-July through the UMIS system and the grant is up to 50%, as shown in the calls terms and conditions.

Investments in aquaculture

One of both schemes subject to a call for proposals is for “encouraging new aquaculture producers to develop sustainable aquaculture”. The budget allocated thereto is BGN 16.6 million as projects may be submitted by July 12.

Applicants under the scheme must be entrepreneurs who for the first time create a micro or small aquaculture enterprise. They may receive up to BGN 850,000 in investment subsidies leading to conservation and restoration of aquatic biodiversity, as well as improving ecosystems. Funding for resource-efficient aquaculture projects including energy and resource efficiency, reducing water and chemicals use, improving competitiveness, has been included in the call under the scheme. Each applicant may receive up to 50% of the project cost.

Direct sales and processing

Alongside the Fisheries and Aquaculture program, a second call for proposals under the scheme for “Value Added, Product Quality and Utilisation of Adverse Catches” will run until July 12. The funds allocated in this procedure are for BGN 6.2 million as one applicant may receive a maximum of BGN 200 thousand.

The scheme finances projects for processing and direct sales of own catches as well as innovative investments on board vessels, which lead to an increase in the quality of the products. It is clear from the call that an important condition is that these funds can only be used for catches from the Danube or the Black Sea, and if they use gear to minimize adverse fishing.

The fisheries program has a total budget of BGN 208 million to be absorbed by 2020 but is one of the most underdeveloped as regards implementation. At present, over BGN 30 million have been negotiated, and the funds paid are only approximately BGN 1.5 million, as evidenced by the data in the UMIS system.

Source: Capital.bg, author – Mrs Denitsa Vateva