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Spanish Tuna Boat Owners Want Tax Rebate And Aid

Spanish fishing Confederation, Cepesca, is requesting state aid of 29 million euros (USD 39.2 million) for the operation of tuna and other fishing vessels outside the EU and the further construction of ships. The company that represents the Spanish tuna fleet says the funding, which includes tax rebates for the tuna fleet, will generate 450 million euros worth of work for shipyards in the short term.

The request would affect 126 Spanish vessels operating in international waters, including tuna purse seiners. Cepesca sent a letter to Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to appeal for such support from the state.

According to Cepesca, the budget would generate more employment and higher social security for around 5,000 workers. The letter also explained that ship-owners are currently building ten additional tuna vessels with a total investment of 300 million euros. The majority of Spanish shipyards are already occupied with the construction of new tuna purse seiners. 

The application of funding from Cepesca comes at a time when the Spanish state is beginning to climb out of a period of huge debt crisis, attempting to higher taxes on Spanish workers to meet its payback schedule to Brussels. The tuna industry however is amidst a time of record profits.

Cepesca states that state aid claims have been allowed by Brussels since 2008 as a measure to level the competitiveness of the European fishing fleet with third countries. The Minister of Agriculture, however, has said that on the grounds of such financial crisis suffered by Spain, the grant is likely not to be feasible between now and the end of the year.