FishFiles Lite Newsletter
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June 2006

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Commission publishes Green paper on Integrated Maritime Policy.
2. European Fisheries Fund approved to replace FIFG. EUR 3.8 billion over 7 years.
3. Updated financial measures announced for implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy
4. Commission awards Member States EUR 6 million. for fisheries enforcement and control
5. EU joins inter American tuna commission
6. EU announces new limit of EUR 30,000 per beneficiary allowed for State Aid by Member States
7. Ireland allowed to implement national capacity withdrawal subsidy
8. Tuna conversion factors consolidated
9. EU Sao Tome and Principe fishery partnership agreement concluded
10. EU Greenland fishery partnership agreement concluded
11. EU Madagascar fishery partnership agreement concluded
12. EU Federal State of Micronesia fishery partnership agreement concluded
13. Commission announces new tariff quotas for canned tuna and other fish from Thailand and other countries
14. North Sea sand eel fishery to fully reopen
15. EU sets TACS and quotas on blue whiting and on Atlanto-Scandian herring in the North Sea.
16. New director announced for EU Fisheries Control Agency in Vigo
17. Commissioner Borg launches consultation of EU maritime policy in Azores.
18. Stop fishing notices announced for Spanish, Portuguese, French and German vessels.

Fish hygiene

19. The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) Annual Report 2005 is published on line
20. Twenty Eight rapid alerts announced regarding non-compliant fishery products
21. EU Commission comments on draft Codex standard for caviar from sturgeon.

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission finally published its Green Paper entitled, "Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union: A European vision for the oceans and seas". The paper sets out issues to be addressed in a new vision for an Integrated Maritime Policy and proposes an integrated approach to transport, shipping, trade, coastal and port-based industries, off-shore, traditional and alternative energies, fisheries, aquaculture, marine research, tourism.

2. The Council of Fisheries Ministers adopted the Regulation on the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) first proposed in July 2004. The EFF, which will replace the current Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG), from 1 January 2007, will run for seven years, with a total budget of around € 3.8 billion. Funding will be available for all sectors of the industry - sea and inland fisheries, aquaculture businesses, producer organisations, and the processing and marketing sectors - as well as for fisheries areas and will have five main priorities: adapting fishing capacity and effort to available fish resources, support to the various industry branches, aid for producer and branch organisations, sustainable development of fisheries-dependent areas; and technical assistance to Member States to facilitate the delivery of aid.

3. The Council has approved the regulation to establish the new framework for Community financial measures for the implementation of the common fisheries policy (the CFP) and the Law of the Sea (referred to as Community financial measures). It sets out objectives and a range of support measures which will attract Community support, including control and enforcement, data collection, scientific advice, governance, international relations and technical assistance. It also sets out audit and monitoring and evaluation requirements.

4. The Commission has decided on the level of financial support to be provided from Community funds for Member State fisheries MCS functions. Total community contribution is just over EUR6 million. New member states joining in 2004 get 50% of eligible expenditure, and the rest 25%.

5. The EU Council of Ministers has approved the ratification of the Antigua Convention for the strengthening of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), paving the way for EU full membership of this regional fisheries organisation for the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

6. The EU Commission has proposed the details of a regulation to allow Member States to apply state aids to the fishery sector, up to a limit of EUR 30,000 per beneficiary, with contravening the community's competition rules, increasing the current value from EUR3,000 per fisherman. However the aid cannot apply to any measure which increases fleet capacity.

7. The Commission has approved state aids granted by the Irish Government in favour of its fishery sector, to provide additional support for the removal of excess capacity in Ireland's demersal and shellfish fleets, through the scrapping of vessels, in the face of decreasing fishing opportunities brought about by cuts in fish quotas.

8. The Commission has consolidated the amendments to the weight conversion factors for tunas to allow standardised calculation of live weight for price support purposes.

9. The European Commission, on behalf of the European Union, and São Tomé e Príncipe, have concluded a new 4-year fisheries partnership agreement to replace the previous agreement which ended on 31 May 2006. The new agreement covers the period from 1 June 2006 until 31 May 2010. It provides fishing possibilities exclusively on tuna for 43 vessels (61 in the previous agreement): 25 seiners (previously 36) and 18 long-liners (25). The fishing possibilities for pole-and-line vessels have not been renewed. The EU financial contribution will amount to € 663,000 per year.

10. The Commission announced that it has initialed a new fisheries partnership Agreement with Greenland for a period of six years, from 1 January 2007. Part of the fishing opportunities generated will go to the EU fleet and another part will be used for exchange of quotas with third countries to balance the EU fisheries agreements in the North Atlantic. The annual EU financial contribution will be significantly reduced, at €15,847,244, of which 25% is earmarked for support to the Greenlandic fisheries policy. This reflects a reduction in the fishing opportunities. However a cod quota has been introduced with a level of 1,000 t in 2007 rising to 3,500 t until the end of the protocol.

11. The European Commission and Madagascar have concluded a new 6-year fisheries partnership agreement (FPA), which provides increased fishing opportunities for the 44 seiners (previously 40) and 44 long-liners (40), in return for an EU financial contribution of € 990,000 per year. The FPA will come into force on 1 January 2007.

12. The EU Commission has concluded the text of a Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Community and the Federated States of Micronesia on fishing in the Federated States of Micronesia.

13. The EU has opened tariff quotas for annual quantities of 2 558 tonnes canned tuna and 2 275 tonnes of canned mackerels and sardines from Thailand and other countries, following the accession of new Member states in 2004. About two-thirds of quotas are due to Thailand.

14. Due to new scientific advice from the STECF, the Commision has passed a regulation increasing the catch limits, quotas and fishing effort limits for sandeel in the North Sea. Fishing effort is limited to 2003 levels, up from the previous limit of 20% of the 2004 level, introduced to allow monitoring of the stock condition.

15. The Council has passed a regulation setting TACS and quotas on blue whiting and on Atlanto-Scandian herring in the North Sea, with derogations for gill net fishers.
16. The Community Fisheries Control Agency, based in Vigo announced the appointment of Mr Harm Koster as its first Executive Director. Mr Koster, an economist from the Netherlands, was previously head of the Inspection Unit in the European Commission's Directorate-General for Fisheries, and is currently Head of the Unit responsible for bilateral fisheries agreements.

17. Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, started his Green paper consultation tours on the European Maritime Policy with a four-day visit to the Azores, to participate in the Conference and the Outermost Regions, hosted by the Regional Government of the Azores.

18. Stop fishing notices were announced for Spanish vessels fishing for Greenland Halibut in ICES zone of II a (EC waters) IV, VI (EC and International waters), Portuguese vessels fishing for cod in ICES zones I, II (Norwegian waters), French vessels fishing for alfonsinos in ICES zones III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X and XII (Community waters and international waters) and German vessels fishing for herring in ICES zone III d Subdivisions 25-27, 28.2, 29 and 32 and for sprat in ICES zone IIIb, c, d (EC waters).

Fish hygiene

19. The Commission has presented its annual report on notifications made through the rapid alert system for food and feeds (RASFF). A total of 3,158 notifications of food and feed risks were received through the RASFF last year, compared to 2,588 in 2004. Fishery products accounted for around 18% of the notifications

20. Twenty Eight rapid alerts were announced in June 2006 by Member States regarding fishery products found not to comply with health requirements. These included carbon monoxide treated tuna from Vietnam, Thailand and Senegal and swordfish from Vietnam and Spain, heavy polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in smoked fish from France, mercury in grouper from the Yemen and also leucomalachite green and Listeria monocytogenes in frozen fillets of Pangasius from Vietnam.

21. The European Commission provided comments on the draft CODEX standard for caviar from sturgeon. The Commission has questioned why caviar from paddlefishes has not been included, and proposes that the standard follows the recommendations of CITES restrictions on the marketing and labelling of sturgeon caviar.

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