FishFiles Lite Newsletter
FISHERIES POLICY AND FISH HYGIENE
TECHNICAL INFORMATION IN FOOD & FISHERIES POLICY & DEVELOPMENT
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September 2006

Common Fisheries Policy


1. Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for deep-sea fish stocks announced for 2007-2008
2. EU to propose a freeze on expansion of deep sea trawl fishing at the United Nations
3. Commission published Baltic Sea fishing possibilities for 2007.
4. Commission outlined the principles for setting fishing opportunities for 2007.
5. EU Council amended the catch documentation scheme for toothfish.
6. NAFO members agree to strengthen sanctions
7. New definition of drift nets introduced
8. EU and Mauritania amended their Fisheries Agreement
9. CFP market policy was evaluated, Commission reports to Council
10. New water quality requirements introduced for fresh water resources for fisheries
11. Stop fishing notices published for French, Dutch, Portuguese, Latvian, British, Belgian and Polish vessels.

Fish hygiene

12. Forty three rapid alerts notified for fishery products consignments
13. List II countries allowed to supply the EU until 31 October 2007
14. Amendments to fishery product health certificates proposed
15. FVO reported on dioxin controls in Germany; need strengthening
16. FVO reported on dioxin controls in Latvia; need to restrict distribution of contaminated products
17. EU and China agree to fight the trade of "illegal food products".
18. FVO reported on a 2005 mission to Bangladesh; many defects identified
19. FVO reported on a 2006 mission to Colombia; many defects identified
20. FVO reported on a 2006 mission to Gambia; many serious defects identified
21. FVO reported on a 2006 follow up mission to Seychelles; deficiencies corrected
22. FVO reported on a 2006 mission to Sri Lanka; satisfactory
23. FVO reported on a 2006 mission to Venezuela; many defects identified
24. The Commission considered replacing live mouse bio-assay with the "Lawrence method" for testing of PSP toxins
25. Fishery product controls in Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay considered equivalent
26. Checks on fishery products from Indonesia to continue, pending residue monitoring plan
27. New animal health controls and certificates for imports of ornamental fish

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission adopted a proposal to establish Total Allowable Catches (TACs) for deep-sea fish stocks in Community water such as sharks, black scabbardfish, tusk and forkbeards for 2007-2008. The Commission also announce that it will maintain the existing protection areas, off the west coast of Ireland, for orange roughy.

2. The Commission set out its position for the forthcoming debate of the United Nations General Assembly on 4 and 5 October, regarding destructive fishing practices on the high seas, proposing an immediate freeze on any expansion of deep sea fishing with bottom gears.

3. The European Commission tabled a proposal on fishing possibilities for Baltic Sea fish stocks in 2007. While the state of most Baltic fish stocks, including herring, remains fairly good, there is concern about the condition of the cod stocks.

4. The European Commission outlined the principles which it intends to follow when setting annual fishing opportunities for 2007. As usual, these proposals will be based on the most recent scientific advice, when it becomes available in October.

5. The EU Council amended the catch documentation scheme for toothfish, to bring it into line with the CCAMLR recommendations, aimed at improving the control of landings, imports, exports, re-exports and transshipment.

6. The European Commission announced that the 2006 Annual Meeting of the North-West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) had agreed to strengthen sanctions, and to require NAFO Parties to pursue those vessels not respecting the key conservation and enforcement measures. Tougher controls will also be placed on by-catch and vessels' stowage plan requirements.

7. The European Commission introduced a new definition of drift nets (banned since 2002) to "any gillnet held on the sea surface or at a certain distance below it by floating devices, drifting with the current either independently or with the boat to which it may be attached"

8. The EU and the Government of Mauritania published amendments to the protocol of their Fisheries Agreement, allocating fishing opportunities for pole-and-line tuna vessels and surface longliners and pelagic fishing vessels to Spain, Portugal and France. They also agreed to suspend fishing opportunities for five cephalopod vessels.

9. The European Commission presented an evaluation report to the Council and the European Parliament on the implementation of the Common Organisation of the Markets in fisheries and aquaculture products. The report found that the levels of intervention have been reduced, in favour of carry-over operations; producers' organisations play a key role, but inter-branch organisations have not developed strongly and market prices have not reflected changes in production costs. The report confirms the growing dependence on imports from third countries to meet the needs of EU consumers and the fish processing industry.

10. The Council passed a Directive (replacing a measure from 1978) requiring Member States to specify and monitor water quality standards for fresh water resources to preserve fish life, including powers to designate salmonid and cyprinid waters.

11. Stop fishing notices were published for French vessels fishing for anchovy, mackerel, orange roughy and cod, Dutch vessels fishing for red seabream, anglerfish and plaice, for Portuguese vessels fishing for greater forkbeard, Latvian vessels fishing for redfish, British vessels fishing for tusk, Belgian vessels fishing for common sole and Polish vessels fishing for cod.

Fish hygiene

12. Forty three rapid alerts were notified by Member States for failure to comply with health conditions for fishery products. Consignments included undeclared sulphites and too high content of sulphites in shrimps from the United Kingdom, cadmium in frozen tiger shrimps from Australia, fraudulent health certificate(s) for frozen whole baby clam from the Republic of Korea and unauthorised establishment for tuna chunk in vegetable oil from Thailand

13. The Commission extended the transitional arrangements, until 31 October 2007, for the List II of third countries which have not yet been subject to specific decisions, allowing them to export to the EU, live bivalve molluscs and fishery products. List II countries will be able to continue supplying the EU market until that date.

14. The Commission has proposed amendments to model health certificates for imports of products of animal origin intended for human consumption, including the import of fishery products and live bivalve molluscs.

15. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG Sanco reported on a mission to Germany to assess compliance with Community provisions regarding dioxins and dioxin like PCBs in fishery products. The mission found incomplete monitoring of fatty fish species, and a lack of measures to prevent fish with excessive concentrations from being placed on the market.

16. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG Sanco reported on a mission to Latvia to assess compliance with Community provisions regarding dioxins and dioxin like PCBs in fishery products. The mission found that the legislation and monitoring system were satisfactory, but that there were no measures to prevent fish with excessive concentrations from being placed on the Community market.

17. The EU and the Government of China (in the form of the Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine) signed an agreement to fight the trade in "illegal food products". The agreement will support the mutual development of electronic certification to prevent false certification, speed up the approval process for food exports; and ensure rejected consignments are returned or destroyed.

18. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG Sanco reported on a mission (in 2005) to Bangladesh to assess compliance with Community provisions regarding fishery products imported by the EU, following some 34 rapid alert notifications in 2004 and 2005. The mission found defects in the legislation concerning contaminants, and that controls were largely only focused on establishments, not on vessels, landing sites or fish farms. Banned substances were used in aquaculture. None of the laboratories used by the Competent Authority were accredited, and laboratory staff were not trained to use the equipment they had. The Commission required the Competent Authority to submit an action plan for approval and to provide guarantees.

19. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG Sanco reported on a mission in March 2006 to Colombia to assess compliance with Community provisions regarding fishery products imported by the EU. The mission found defects in the legislation concerning additives, contaminants and histamine; lack of controls between the central competent authority and the regional bodies responsible for implementing checks in establishments: lack of follow up on noted deficiencies; inadequate water quality testing; lack of monitoring of prohibited substances in aquaculture products. The Competent Authority was required to submit an action plan to correct the observed deficiencies.

20. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG Sanco reported on a mission to Gambia to assess compliance with Community provisions regarding fishery products imported by the EU. The mission found the legislation does not have any specific requirements regarding additives and contaminants, hygiene on fishing vessels, hot water in establishments and monitoring of residues. Non-compliant establishments had not been de-listed, and one establishment was approved without any recorded inspection by the CA. There was no routine water quality testing of ground water used by one establishment. Inspections were of insufficient frequency, and noted defects were not followed up. Laboratories were poorly maintained and dirty, there was no histamine testing of clupeids consigned for export, and the health attestations on the export certificates could not be substantiated. The Competent Authority also allowed exports to the EU by an unauthorized aquaculture enterprise. The mission concluded that overall situation was unsatisfactory and did not provide adequate guarantees of conformity with EU food safety requirements. The Competent Authority was required to submit an action plan to address the noted deficiencies.

21. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG Sanco reported on a follow up mission to Seychelles to assess compliance with guarantees and actions proposed regarding fishery products imported by the EU, following the discovery of serious deficiencies on a previous visit in 2005. The CA was found to have listed longliners, improved monitoring of histamine, and heavy metals, introduce new laboratory systems, required upgrades to processing and export establishments (whilst suspending exports from the tuna cannery). Most of the recommendations were found to have been addressed satisfactorily.

22. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG Sanco reported on a mission to Sri Lanka to assess compliance with Community provisions regarding fishery products imported by the EU. The mission found that there were no maximum residue limits established for lead and cadmium in fishery products, and some establishments had deficiencies in relation to inadequate process flows, lack of fly screening, lack of facilities for disinfection of boxes. In general however, the control system was found to be satisfactory.

23. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG Sanco reported on a mission to Venezuela to assess compliance with Community provisions regarding fishery products imported by the EU. The mission found that the legislation was not adequate in terms of histamine and heavy metal contamination; establishments were allowed to export products processed during suspension of an approval; HACCP plans were submitted but there was no feedback given; non-compliant HACCP plans were approved; there was no evidence of corrective actions being followed up after inspections; there was no official testing of water and ice safety. Four approved export establishments were found to have serious deficiencies, including poor hygiene and use of decontamination products on fish. The mission concluded that the Competent Authority was not in compliance, and required the provision of guarantees and an action plan of corrective measures.

24. The Commission considered allowing the use of the "Lawrence method" for testing of PSP toxins in bivalve molluscs, in place of the current bio-assay using live mice. However, not all member States think it is accurate enough.

25. The Commission announced that the competent authorities of Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay have now provided appropriate guarantees on equivalent sanitary conditions for fishery product controls, and should be named on List 1 of third countries from which imports of bivalve molluscs and fishery products may be authorized.

26. The Commission indicated that it proposes to maintain the requirement for checking of all consignments of fishery products imported from Indonesia, pending evaluation of a national residue monitoring plan submitted by the Competent Authority.

27. The Commission has set the detailed requirements for animal health controls and certificates in relation to imports of ornamental fish. Only fish from authorized countries may be imported into the Community (eight are named, plus OIE members)



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