EU TO RESTRICT BULGARIAN FISHING FLEET TONNAGE
Bulgaria's integration into the European Union hides a number of pitfalls and challenges for all local companies, including those occupied with fishery. Fish producers and processors who want to stay on the market will have to invest significant amounts in order to meet the European standards. These are mainly hygienic rules concerning the fish processing and preservation. One possible solution to the problem is to provide financing under the SAPARD programme.One of the most serious problems is that according to the EU General Fishing Policy, Bulgaria can modernize its fishing fleet but cannot increase its total tonnage fixed as of the date of Bulgaria's integration into the EU. Currently, the tonnage of the Bulgarian fleet is quite reduced because of the bankruptcy of the country's deep-sea fishery. That's why companies which have long-term interests in the branch should hurry up and either buy or lease new vessels before 2007.Moreover, there are no strong producers' organisations in Bulgaria which are obligatory in the western part of Europe. Their role is to support the companies in planning the production, finding the markets, and introducing the new technologies. These organisations also play a major role in applying for EU subsidies and receiving them. Brussels is making efforts to encourage the establishment of such structures and even plans to provide them with temporary financial support.