FishFiles Lite Newsletter
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April 2006

Common Fisheries Policy

1. EU Fisheries Council discussed proposals for sustainable fishing fleets
2. Permits to be required for non-native aquaculture species
3. Common Fisheries Policy data collection gets EUR31.4 million subsidy
4. Commission says Sweden's income tax deductions for fishermen are illegal
5. EU - Solomon Islands Fisheries Partnership Agreement approved
6. Revised coordinates for fishing zones around Malta.
7. Stop fishing notices for French and Polish vessels
8. Committee of the Regions pronounces on marine environment

Fish hygiene

9. Twenty five rapid alerts announced regarding non-compliant fishery products
10. Commission starts "Better Training for Safer Food" with a fish products workshop in Jakarta
11. New regulation proposed on health claims in relation to food
12. Commission discusses methods of sampling and analysis for dioxins
13. Commission regulates sampling and analytical methods for primary smoke products
14. The Food and Veterinary Office prepares food safety profiles of Member States
15. Regulation 466/2001 on MRLs of certain contaminants will be consolidated

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The Fisheries Council has considered the Commission's proposals for bringing EU fishing fleets onto an economically sustainable basis. Proposed actions, approved in principle, include more participatory governance, continued reduction of fishing effort on depleted stocks, reinforced control and the promotion of research into fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly fishing techniques. There is support for the concept of starting annual TAC and quota negotiations in advance of the December Council, and simplification of the procedure (so called frontloading of TACs). However some Member States have doubts about the fleet restructuring measures proposed, especially support for engine replacement.

2. The Commission has proposed new measures to regulate the introduction of non-native species in aquaculture so as to prevent their possible negative impact on the environment. Member States will be required to operate a system of permits.

3. The Commission decided to provide subsidies of EUR31.4 million towards the cost of Member States' programmes for the collection of information regarding the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy.

4. The Commission decided that the Government of Sweden's special income tax deduction for fishermen is not compatible with the principles of the Common market, and ordered the scheme to be rescinded.

5. The EU Council approved the EU - Solomon Islands Fisheries Partnership Agreement. The agreements shares annual fishing possibilities for tuna purse seiners between Spain (75%) and France (25%) and provides fishing possibilities for 10 surface longliners (Spain and Portugal). A new protocol is under discussion.

6. The Commission published corrections to the coordinates of fishing zones and trawlable areas around Malta.

7. Stop fishing notices were issued for Northern prawn in NAFO, Polish vessels targeting herring and French vessels targeting black scabbardfish and herring.

8. The Committee of the Regions has issued a report criticizing the Commission for a lack of urgency in proposals for improved marine environmental conditions.

Fish hygiene

9. Twenty five rapid alerts were announced in April 2006 by Member States regarding fishery products found not to comply with health requirements. These included carbon dioxide treated tuna and catfish fillets from Vietnam, smoked sprats with excess levels of smoke materials from Latvia, nematodes in canned fish liver from Poland and illegal antibiotics (nitrofurans) in fresh water shrimps from India and Bangladesh. Indonesia has once again had consignments for fishery products rejected, this time for excess mercury in butterfish fillets and abnormal smells in lobster tails.

10. The European Commission held the first of six training workshops under the "Better Training for Safer Food" initiative on EU import standards for fish and aquaculture products. It took place in Jakarta, Indonesia from 25th to 27th April 2006 and was aimed at the personnel of national level control authorities within the region. It will be followed by further fishery products workshops in Cartagena, Colombia in June and Dakar, Senegal in October.

11. The Council and Commission announced the draft of a new regulation regarding health claims made in relation to food, to be issued in the near future. It will prohibit false and misleading claims and statements giving rise to doubts regarding the safety of other foods, or which refer to changes in bodily functions. Health claims for foods will have to be scientifically substantiated.

12. Following the issue of new limits for dioxin in foods, the Commission has initiated discussions to revise the methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in foodstuffs. A decision will be made in the next few weeks.

13. The Commission passed a regulation setting out the sampling and analytical methods regarding the content of primary smoke products to be used in smoke flavourings for foods.

14. The Food and Veterinary Office of the Commission has prepared country profiles on the food safety systems of Member States, and although some countries have objected on grounds of too much transparency, these are now being considered by the Committee for publication.

15. The Commission has announced that due to the large number of amendments in recent years Commission Regulation 466/2001setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs will be consolidated and re-issued within a few weeks.

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