FishFiles Lite Newsletter
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April 2007

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Commission finds Member States' fisheries controls to be unsatisfactory.
2. Informal Council of Fisheries discusses future measures to combat IUU fishing
3. TACs and quotas amended to coastal states agreement on Atlanto-Scandian herring.
4. Commission intervenes to organize experimental Biscay anchovy fishery
5. EC to introduce ICCAT recovery measures for bluefin tuna in 2007 fishing year.
6. Inter-ministerial meeting of EC Baltic states signs Declaration on unreported cod fishing
7. Commissioner Joe Borg gives speech to Danish fishermen
8. Commission adopts regulation to support the costs of fisheries monitoring and control
9. Commission and the Ivory Coast initial a new fisheries partnership agreement
10. Commission launches the Regional advisory council for South Western Waters
11. Stop fishing notice was issued for United Kingdom vessels targeting herring

Fish hygiene

12. Rapid alerts notified for 28 consignments of fishery products
13. Commission de-lists all 11 authorised establishments in Pakistan
14. DG SANCO reports on a mission to Peru; many deficiencies identified in control system
15. DG SANCO reports on a mission to Tunisia; several deficiencies, but not critical
16. Commission suspends import of smoked fishery products from Suriname.
17. Commission considers new certification procedure for US fishery products
18. DG SANCO undertakes follow-up inspection mission to Indonesia; significant improvements

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission adopted a report on the monitoring of the Member States' implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) over the period 2003-2005. The report covers both the conclusions of the Commission's inspection missions in the Member States to evaluate their control procedures, and an analysis of the implementation reports submitted by the Member States. It concludes that while significant progress was observed over the period, the control situation remained, in general, unsatisfactory. The Member States did not deploy sufficient human resources to ensure control of the CFP measures, they did not take adequate action to guarantee the quality of the inspections which they carried out, and only a few Member States had put in place strategies to optimise the use made of the means which were available to them. The report also points out that it is impossible to make accurate comparisons between the Member States' performance using the information provided in the national implementation reports, and proposes a stricter specification of the information to be provided in future.

2. An informal Council of Fisheries meeting was organised by the German Presidency in Luxembourg on 17 April 2007, with a view to discussing measures to combat IUU fishing. After the meeting Joe Borg, European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs issued a statement outlining the EU strategy. This will focus, inter alia, on preventing IUU fish from being traded on the EU market, assistance to developing coastal states which are one of the main victims of IUU fishing, stronger port state controls, new measures to deal with EU nationals involved with IUU vessels flagged by third countries, and improved international cooperation on fisheries monitoring control and surveillance.

3. The Commission passed a regulation amending the 2007 TAC and quota regulation to account for the conclusion of coastal states agreement on Atlanto-Scandian herring, between the EC, Norway, Faroe Islands and Iceland on 18 January 2007. Sets access quota of 74,995 tonnes for Norwegian vessels in EC waters and corresponding access quota for EC vessels in Norwegian waters North of 62ºN.

4. Although France had started exploiting the experimental Bay of Biscay anchovy fishery, France and Spain failed to agree on the organization of the fishery, in particular for the consort fishery for 10 vessels and a zoned fishing plan for the remainder. The Commission halted the fishery and set the details of the experimental scheme to gather data on spring abundance of Biscay anchovy stock. This allowed deployment of a maximum of 10% of the Spanish and French fishing effort - that is up to 28 fishing vessels, starting with 10 vessels in consort with a research vessel. The catches may be marketed. Following agreement of Spain and France to this approach the Commission announced that fishery would be opened on 23 April.

5. The European Commission adopted a proposal to transpose into Community law, on a permanent basis, the recovery measures for bluefin tuna recommended by ICCAT in November 2006. As a result the long term quotas will be modified to apply to the 2007 fishing year.

6. Following an initiative by the Baltic Regional Advisory Council, a Declaration was signed on combating unreported cod fishery in the Baltic Sea at an inter-ministerial meeting of EC Baltic states, in Copenhagen, on enforcement. The measure was welcomed by the Commission.

7. At the Annual General Meeting of the Danish Fishermen Association, Commission Joe Borg gave a wide ranging speech indicating that more interaction, more transparency and as much input as possible from fishermen are required to improve the quality of fisheries management decisions. He also confirmed the Commissions commitment to the introduction of an effort-based management regime in the Kattegat. Also gave views on status of cod recovery plans, role of RACS in setting management plans based on MSY, implementation of the new discards policy, Baltic cod management, eel management, and the European Fisheries Fund.

8. The Commission has adopted a regulation setting out the detailed rules under which the EC will support the costs of fisheries monitoring control and surveillance activities undertaken by Member States, as set out in their annual fisheries control programme. Eligible expenditure includes new controls technologies, vessels and aircraft and training and exchange programmes.

9. The European Commission and the Ivory Coast initialled a new fisheries partnership agreement covering a renewable 6-year period. This will start from 1 July, 2007 and will exclusively concern fishing possibilities on tuna, reduced from 9,000 to 7,000 tonnes per year. Demersal fisheries have been excluded from the agreement. Tuna licences have been agreed for 25 seiners and 15 surface long liners and the annual financial contribution will amount to EUR 595,000.

10. The Commission passed a decision declaring operational the Regional advisory council for South.Western Waters, covering (ICES) areas VIII, IX and X (waters around Azores) and CECAF divisions 34.1.1, 34.1.2. and 34.2.0 (waters around Madeira and the Canary Islands). The RAC will be made up of representatives of the fisheries sector and interested parties from Belgium, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Portugal.

11. Stop fishing notice was issued for United Kingdom vessels establishing a prohibition of fishing for herring in EC and international waters of ICES zones I and II effective 15 April 2007.

Fish hygiene

12. Rapid alerts were notified for failure to comply with health conditions in respect of 28 consignments of fishery products, including from India (black tiger shrimps), Thailand (catfish), Sri Lanka (swordfish and fresh tuna slices), Bangladesh (brown head on shrimp, frozen fresh water shrimp) and Vietnam (frozen mussels).

13. Following an inspection mission to Pakistan by the FVO of DG SANCO in January 2007, the Commission announced the delisting (from 16th January until further notice) of all 11 authorised processing fish establishments from Pakistan. The mission found that the guarantees given by the Competent Authority following a previous mission in 2005, had only been partially fulfilled. The mission found serious structural deficiencies at all stages of production and distribution in several establishments, including the use of fish which was unfit for human consumption. The mission concluded that that health risks for the EU consumers are considered likely to occur.

14. The Food and Veterinary office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to Peru to assess the public health control and conditions of production of fishery products exported to the EU, conducted during June 2006. Peruvian legislation did not set adequate MRLs for heavy metals, and did not set standards for some important toxins in bivalve molluscs. The classification of bivalve harvest areas was inadequate. The team found a lack of knowledge and training in the Competent Authority with regard to EU regulations. Hygiene and structural deficiencies in establishments were not identified, and many fishing vessels were not inspected. Hyperchlorination of washing water was common and there were no official controls on water safety. Conflicts of interest were identified in the private testing laboratories, which were not adequately designated by the Competent Authority. Export certificates were issued based on laboratory test results with no control over consignment integrity. The Competent Authority was required to submit guarantees and an action plan to address the deficiencies.

15. The Food and Veterinary office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to Tunisia to assess the public health control and conditions of production of fishery products exported to the EU, conducted during November 2006, following up from a previous mission in 2002. The mission found that guarantees given regarding analysis of marine biotoxins had not been complied with, and that minimum checks on products and water had not been implemented. Although the Competent Authority could not guarantee the specific conditions for export of fishery products to the EU, the own checks and activities of trade bodies mean that actual risk to health is minimal. However, with respect to bivalve molluscs, a number of outstanding shortcomings in the control system give rise to concerns. The Competent Authority was required to improve monitoring of harvesting areas, verify the proper functioning of depuration facilities, ensure testing laboratories are accredited, and use proper testing methods. Guarantees were sought by the Commission that these requirements will be addressed.

16. Following the findings on an inspection mission to Suriname by the FVO of DG SANCO in September 2006, the Commission requested the Competent Authority to suspend the issue of certificates in respect of smoked fish. Since the Competent Authority did not asked for the removal from the list of any establishments, the Commission has decided to suspend the import of smoked fishery products from Suriname. Imports of fresh and frozen fish remain authorized.

17. The Commission discussed a draft decision with EU Member States regarding the specific conditions for imports of fishery products from the United States of America. In line with the EU-US Agreement on Veterinary Equivalence, the Commission has decided to allow a single certificate to be issued by US authorities covering both food safety and animal health requirements (in relation to aquaculture products), providing that the certificate is signed by a single person.

18. The Commission informed the Member States that the FVO had undertaken a follow-up inspection mission to Indonesia in January/February 2007, and found significant improvements in knowledge, surveillance, programmes, traceability and food safety conditions for the export control of fishery products. The current safeguard measures will however be kept in place, pending consideration of the full report from the FVO.

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