FishFiles Lite Newsletter
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March 2007

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Commission proposes progressive introduction of EU discard ban.
2. Commission welcomes FAO plans to tackle IUU fishing and deep-sea ecosystems.
3. Baltic Regional Advisory Council declares action against unreported cod catches
4. EU/Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement ratified and operational.
5. Detailed rules published for subsidies under the European Fisheries Fund (EFF).
6. Commission publishes EU-wide list of fisheries inspectors and inspection assets.
7. Commission extends import tariff relief for processed fish from St.Pierre and Miquelon
8. Stop fishing notices published for French, Polish and Irish vessels.
9. Regional Advisory Council for the High Seas operational from end of March.
10. Commissioner for Fisheries promotes Future Maritime Policy for the EU
11. Revisions published to 2007 beam trawl effort in EC waters.

Fish hygiene

12. Thirty seven rapid alerts notified in fishery products in March 2007
13. DG SANCO reports on dioxin in Baltic fish; four EU states have no controls
14. "Better Training for Safer Food"; programme plans five 3-day workshops for fish in 2007
15. FVO reported on mission to Suriname; risk of contaminated products entering the EU market
16. FVO reported on mission to Tanzania; some serious deficiencies
17. FVO reported on mission to Philippines; significant improvements
18. Norwegian Food Safety Authority reports on ISA disease status and controls
19. Commission harmonises transitional measures for certification of aquaculture products
20. Commission bans imports from some Brazilian establishments
21. Commission established new lists of disease free approved zones and farms
22. Commission explains decision to ban imports of fish from Guinea
23. Commission retains permanent authorisation for feed additive

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The Commission has adopted a long-awaited Communication on reducing unwanted catches and eliminating discards in European fisheries, proposing the adoption of a progressive fishery-by-fishery discard ban and the setting of standards for maximum acceptable by-catch (rather than measures to regulate landings). The Commission foresees a period of debate during 2007, and has suggested that the first measures could be introduced in 2008.

2. The European Commission welcomed the outcome of the Committee on Fisheries of the FAO on 9th.March, which defined priorities for FAO's work over the next two years, which will focus on IUU fishing and the impact of deep-sea fishing on marine ecosystems.

3. The Baltic Regional Advisory Council signed a declaration, welcomed by the Commission, regarding the need to combat unreported cod catches in the Baltic Sea. Member States have declared their intent to strengthen control and enforcement mechanisms.

4. The Commission welcomed the ratification of the EU/Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement, which will enter into force immediately and will run for a period of 4 years and covers six categories of fisheries, providing fishing opportunities on pelagic species and small pelagic and demersal species, for vessels ranging in scale from artisanal to industrial. In return, the annual EU financial contribution will be € 36,100,000, of which over a third (€ 13,500,000) is earmarked for support to the Moroccan national fisheries policy. In addition to the financial contribution from the EU, a payment of approximately € 3,400,000 is expected from European ship owners in the form of licence fees. The last fisheries Agreement with Morocco expired in 1999.

5. The Commission adopted the detailed rules on the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), defining the procedures and conditions by which the Member States may disburse structural funds to the fishery sector over the period 2007-2013, in line with the EFF regulation adopted by the Council of Ministers in June 2006.

6. The Commission set out the list of Member States' inspectors, inspection vessels, inspection aircraft and other means of inspection, authorised to carry out inspections in accordance with EC fishery regulations.

7. The Commission passed a Decision renewing a tariff quota for 1,290 tonnes of non-originating fishery products (i.e. originating in another third country but which are processed in St.Pierre and Miquelon) consisting of frozen fish fillets, frozen gutted fish without head, fillets of salt cod, whole salt cod and frozen fish meat or minced blocks. The concession is allocated on the basis of the economic and social impact and the particular situation of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

8. Stop fishing notices were published for French vessels fishing for anglerfish, Polish vessels fishing for northern prawns, and Irish vessels fishing for blue whiting in EC and international waters.

9. The Commission declared as operational the Regional Advisory Council for the high seas. Its secretariat will be based in Madrid.

10. Dr Joe Borg, Commissioner for Fisheries gave three speeches emphasising the need for a Future Maritime Policy for the Union.

11. The Commission corrected errors in the 2007 TACs and quota regulation, setting limits to beam trawl effort in the EC waters.

Fish hygiene

12. During March 2007, 37 Rapid Alerts were notified by DG SANCO for failure to comply with health conditions for fishery products, including for migration of BFDGE in canned mackerel and sardines in oil from Morocco, carbon monoxide in tuna from Panama, frozen crab and prawn tails from Angola and smoked dried striped catfish from Thailand.

13. DG SANCO published a report consolidating the results of a series of inspection missions carried out by the FVO to 8 EU Member States surrounding the Baltic Sea, regarding the implementation of monitoring and controls on dioxin in fishery products. Two of the countries (Sweden and Finland) which had derogations allowing the sale on the domestic market of fish which exceed the MRLs, were unable to guarantee that such product would not be circulated on the EU market. Two other Member States (Denmark and Latvia) had implemented national measures to prevent marketing of fishery products (salmon and herring) which did not comply, and in the remaining countries (Poland, Lithuania, Germany and Estonia) fish from the Baltic Sea was placed on the market without any restrictions.

14. The Commission reported on its training programme "Better Training for Safer Food" for 2006, delivered to Competent Authority staff and industry representatives from EU and third countries which supply the EC with food products. Thirty four training events were conducted, 7 training missions were completed, and 1,400 persons received training at a cost of EUR 3.5 million. Three 3-day workshops were held regarding fishery products in Senegal, Indonesia and Columbia. The exercise will be repeated in 2007, with five 3 -day workshops planned covering trade in fish. The Commission is calling for expressions of interest from interested service providers. More details are available at

15. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to Suriname in September 2006, with regard to meeting the conditions for supply of fishery products to the EU market. The mission found that there were inadequate requirements for safety of potable water. The list of establishments was not updated, and two establishments were operating under the same approval number. Vessel and establishment inspections did not identify important deficiencies, and there was no evidence of checks at landing stages. Histamine testing was not sufficiently frequent, and there were no tests for heavy metals other than mercury. Testing laboratories were not accredited, and were deficient in terms of good laboratory practices (including expired reagents); export certificates were signed, even when there was evidence of non-compliance in export consignments. The mission concluded that the current system cannot exclude the risk of contaminated products entering the EU market and recommended the submission of a guarantee and a corrective action plan, subsequently accepted by the Commission.

16. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to Tanzania in October 2006, with regard to meeting the conditions for supply of fishery products to the EU market. The mission found that the Competent Authority could not guarantee that fishery products were only landed at landing sites which met hygiene requirements, inspection checklists were not always used or available at landing sites, and no specific approval had been granted for landing sites handling fishery products for export. There was no official control of storage conditions at landing sites; there was no evidence of any hygiene checks conducted on small vessels; three of the shore establishments had serious deficiencies, not identified by the Competent Authority; testing laboratories never found unfavourable microbiological results. The mission recommended the submission of a corrective action plan, subsequently accepted by the Commission.

17. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to the Philippines in October 2006, with regard to following up a 2004 inspection regarding the conditions for supply of fishery products to the EU market. The mission found that the Competent Authority had been restructured and competencies of staff upgraded; new inspection procedures were introduced, although there were some deficiencies such as no official checks on untreated water supplies used in canning. The testing laboratory was undergoing accreditation. Rw materials were supplied from non-approved and deficient vessels and cold stores, and a significant number of establishments had deficiencies including one with serious deficiency, which was removed from the list during the mission. The mission concluded that there had been significant improvements and requested the submission of a corrective action plan to cover the remaining deficiencies, subsequently accepted by the Commission.

18. The Commission published a report submitted by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority regarding the current situation in relation to ISA status and controls in Norway.

19. The Commission passed a Decision ensuring harmonisation during a transitional period up to the end of 2009, of different lists of countries and establishments authorized to supply fishery products to the EU market, on the basis of animal health and public health measures.

20. The Commission's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health decided to delete from the approved list, those establishments from Brazil found not to comply with hygiene conditions following the FVO inspection mission in June 2006.

21. The Commission established new lists of approved zones and approved farms with regard to one or more of the fish diseases viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) and infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN)

22. The Commission explained its Decision last month to apply emergency measures to fishery products imported from Guinea, resulting in loss of access to the EC market. There are endemic difficulties in ensuring safety of fishery products from Guinea (due to lack of electricity and unsafe water supplies).

23. The Commission reviewed, and decided to retain the permanent authorisation for the Astaxantin-rich active substance: Phaffia rhodozyma as a colourant for trout and salmon

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