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FISHERIES POLICY AND FISH HYGIENE
TECHNICAL INFORMATION IN FOOD & FISHERIES POLICY & DEVELOPMENT
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July 2006

Common Fisheries Policy


1. Commission reports on serious infringements of fishery rules; 9,660 breaches in 2004
2. Anchovy fishery in the Bay of Biscay to be closed
3. Ireland required to comply with conservation rules for the wild salmon fishery
4. Joint EU-Canadian at-sea fishery patrols announced for Northwest NAFO
5. New multi-annual conservation plan for the eastern and western Baltic Sea cod stocks
6. Commission proposes using Maximum Sustainable Yield as the basis for future target stock levels
7. Increased maximum days at sea for UK beam trawlers operating in the North Sea
8. Stop fishing notices published for French, Spanish and Danish vessels
9. New rules for procedures for inspections of fishing vessels
10. EU to join the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement
11. Commission initials new fisheries partnership agreement with Mauritania
12. New development partnership approved between EU and Greenland
13. EU and Kiribati initialed new fisheries partnership agreement
14. EU and São Tomé and Príncipe extend their existing fisheries agreement
15. New rules introduced for grading of sprat
16. Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs makes speeches on the Green Paper on Maritime Policy

Fish hygiene

17. Twenty nine rapid alerts notified for failure to comply with health conditions for fishery products
18. Commission criticises the proposed Codex Alimentarius standard for live and raw bivalve molluscs
19. DG SANCO supports workshop on EU standards for fisheries and aquaculture in Bogotá
20. Amendment published to rules on waters from which shellfish are harvested
21. New Guidelines on development of Community guides to good practice for hygiene and HACCP
22. Proposed increases to the maximum levels of lead permitted in fish
23. Commission to specify methods of sampling and analysis for lead, cadmium, mercury, and inorganic tin
24. Commission to recommend monitoring frequency for dioxins and PCBs in foodstuffs
25. DG SANCO announces programme of inspection visits for the second half of 2006
26. Commission proposes amendments to legislation on additives; food enzymes to be regulated

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission published its fifth annual report on serious infringements of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The number of breaches detected rose from 9,502 in 2003 to 9,660 in 2004. Nearly 80% of the serious infringements were from Spain, Italy and Portugal. The average fine imposed fell by almost 50%, from EUR 4,664 in 2003, to EUR 2,272 in 2004. The Commission concludes that the level of sanctions imposed by the Member States remains far too low to act as an effective deterrent.

2. The European Commission's advisory group, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF), recommended that the fishery for anchovy in the Bay of Biscay be closed until 31 December 2006 and the Council passed the necessary implementing regulation.

3. The European Commission has requested Ireland to ensure that, from next year onwards, its wild salmon drift net fishery meets the EU habitats directive, by being subject to a specific authorisation on the basis of an impact assessment. The measure could result in closure of the fishery.

4. The European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs announced joint EU-Canadian at-sea inspection patrols in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area.

5. The European Commission adopted a multi-annual plan for the eastern and western Baltic Sea cod stocks. This will include lower TACs, fishing effort limitation and measures to address the significant under reporting of catches.

6. The Commission published a Communication on "Implementing sustainability in EU fisheries through Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY)". The proposal is that MSY will provide the basis for target stock levels in the future, and thus underpin management decisions. The decision will impact on TACs and quotas for EU vessels.

7. The Commission increased the maximum days at sea for UK beam trawlers operating in the North Sea, following a reduction in fishing capacity of this segment.

8. Stop fishing notices were published for French vessels fishing for greater forkbeard, Spanish vessels fishing for blue ling and Danish vessels fishing for sandeel.

9. The Commission passed a regulation setting out the detailed notification procedures for inspections of fishing vessels in Community waters outside their sovereignty, and in international waters. Lists of authorised inspectors and vessels/aircraft must be developed, and inspection reporting and follow up requirements are now specified.

10. The EU Council has approved the Community's membership of the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement, a regional fisheries organisation established in 2000 with World Bank and GEF support.

11. The European Commission, announced that it had initialed a new fisheries partnership agreement to replace the current fisheries agreement with Mauritania due to end on 31 July 2006. Fishing opportunities are provided for eleven fleet categories including crustaceans, long-liners, trawlers targeting black hake, other demersal fisheries, cephalopods, tuna, and small pelagic stocks. The overall financial contribution from the EU to Mauritania will amount to EUR516 million over 6 years.

12. Following the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Greenland, concluded in June 2006, the EU Council has decided to enter into a new development partnership with Greenland which will support measures in favour of a) education and training; (b) mineral resources; (c) energy; (d) tourism and culture; (e) research; (f) food safety.

13. The Commission announced that the EU and Kiribati have initialed a new fisheries partnership agreement, which will provide fishing opportunities for 16 tuna vessels in return for an annual EU financial contribution of EUR 478,000.

14. The EU and the Government of São Tomé and Príncipe agreed to extend their existing fisheries agreement whilst negotiations continue regarding a new fisheries partnership agreement. The extension will continue to provide fishing opportunities for 63 EU vessels including tuna seiners, long liners and pole and line vessels.

15. The Commission has introduced an amendment to the rules to be used for market grading of sprat.

16. Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Mr. Joe Borg, gave three speeches in Finland, France and Ireland, setting out the aims and recommendations of the Green Paper on Maritime Policy.

Fish hygiene

17. There were 29 rapid alerts were notified by Member States for failure to comply with health conditions for fishery products. Consignments included dried smoked catfish from Suriname, carbon monoxide treatment of shortfin mako shark from Spain and 5 consignments of raw headless shell on fresh water shrimps with the unauthorised substance nitrofuran (a metabolite of nitrofurazone) from Bangladesh.

18. Codex Alimentarius has proposed a standard for live and raw bivalve molluscs for human consumption, and the European Commission published its comments on this. The Commission considers that E.coli is a better indicator of faecal contamination than faecal coliforms, that it is premature to include a standard on viral pathogens, that labeling requirements should be more specific, and that analytical methods should be validated (not just published).

19. The Commission DG SANCO announced that the third European Commission workshop on EU standards for fisheries and aquaculture imports from third countries took place in Bogotá, Colombia on 20th-22nd June 2006. Sixty participants from national-level competent authorities in 13 Latin American countries attended. The workshop was part of the European Commission Health and Consumer Protection Directorate General's "Better training for safer food" initiative.

20. The Commission published a correction to the Directive setting limits for the effect of discharges on the colour of waters from which shellfish are harvested.

21. The Commission announced that new Guidelines have been prepared to help the development of Community guides to good practice for hygiene or for the application of the HACCP principles.

22. The Commission considered proposed changes to the maximum levels of some heavy metals in fishery products: the maximum level of lead permitted in muscle meat of fish will increase from 200 microgram/kg to 400 microgram /kg in some fish species.

23. The Commission discussed with Member States the possibility of specifying methods of sampling and analysis for the lead, cadmium, mercury, and inorganic tin.

24. The Commission made recommendations to Member States on the monitoring of background levels of dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs in foodstuffs.

25. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO announced its programme of inspection visits for the second half of 2006. The review of List 1 countries for fishery products will be continued with visits to Ivory Coast, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Cuba, Tunisia, Tanzania, Uganda, Canada, Madagascar, Suriname, Oman, and Philippines. Follow up visits on fishery products will be undertaken in Mauritania, India and Senegal (subject to the readiness of the third country concerned. There will also be a review of dioxins in fish oil in the UK.

26. The European Commission has made significant proposals to amend legislation on additives, so as to introduce harmonised EU legislation on food enzymes for the first time, and upgrade current rules for some food additives. The proposals foresee a simplified common approval procedure for flavourings and enzymes, based on scientific opinions from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).


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