WELSH Conservative MEP Dr Kay Swinburne today backed moves to support fishermen who have not been able to fish since December due to the severe winter weather.
Conservatives in the European Parliament have contacted the European Commission seeking information about EU funds for those facing financial losses because of the storms.
Inshore fleets, including those in Wales and southern England, have been particularly badly affected this winter as storms have prevented them from going to sea.
According to Dr Swinburne fishermen have faced the choice of risking their lives at sea or not having enough money to pay their bills and feed their families. Fishermen were finally able to return to the sea only last weekend after almost two months of inactivity.
Following pressure from Conservative MEPs, the European Commission has revealed that support can be provided via EU schemes such as the European Fisheries Fund.
Dr Swinburne has also been pressing for flood affected areas of the UK to be eligible for emergency assistance under the European Union Solidarity Fund which provides financial aid in case of major natural disasters.
Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, she said:
"The extreme winter weather has had a significant impact on our fishing industry, as well as on the ports infrastructure which serves it.
"Conservatives in the European Parliament are determined to do all we can to help our fishermen and fishing communities.
"I welcome the admission from the European Commission that there are a number of ways in which fishermen hit hard by the recent storms can get help, as well as schemes through which they can get financial aid to insure against similar future disasters.
"The UK and Welsh Governments, local authorities and the Commission need to cooperate to ensure support gets to the places that need it most as quickly as possible."