FishFiles Lite Newsletter
FISHERIES POLICY AND FISH HYGIENE
TECHNICAL INFORMATION IN FOOD & FISHERIES POLICY & DEVELOPMENT
. - . - . - . : . - . - . - . : . - . - . - . : . - . - . - . : . - . - . - . : . - . - . - . : . by MEGAPESCA

FishFiles Lite is a free monthly newsletter summarising key developments in EU fisheries and fish trade policy and legislation.
To upgrade to FishFiles Professional and receive full access to the information summarised in this newsletter and also to be able to search for, and download, files from the Megapesca website, which now contains over 5,000 files, go to: http://www.megapesca.com/aboutfishfiles.asp

 

December 2007

Common Fisheries Policy


1. Council of Fisheries Ministers agrees 2008 TACs and quotas
2. EC introduces stricter measures for management of bluefin tuna
3. European Court of Auditors' blames Member States for ineffective fisheries controls
4. Commission publishes detailed rules on electronic logbooks; in force from 2010
5. New requirement for harmonised landing and weighing procedures for herring, mackerel and horse mackerel.
6. EC consolidates all NAFO requirements in a single EC law
7. EC passes regulation implementing Agreements with Norway, Iceland and Faroe Islands.
8. Additional days at sea granted to Netherlands and Spanish trawl fleets.
9. Stop fishing notices published for several EC fleet segments
10. The EC and Faroe Islands agree on the 2008 exchange of fishing possibilities
11. EC - Madagascar Fisheries Partnership Agreement ratified for 2007 to 2011
12. EC - Mozambique Fisheries Partnership Agreement ratified for 2007 to 2011
13. EC - Guinea Bissau Fisheries Partnership Agreement ratified for 2007 to 2011
14. Price subsidy levels for European fish landings set for 2008
15. Additional price subsidies granted to tuna fishers for 2007
16. Commission reports; structural adjustment of the EC fishing fleet is too little and too late to save fish stocks
17. Operational Programmes approved for several EC countries, allowing them to benefit from EC subsidies for the period 2007-2013.

Fish hygiene

18. Twenty six rapid alerts notified by Member States in December 2007
19. EC criticises Codex proposals on fisheries products and bivalve molluscs
20. DG SANCO announces 25 fishery inspections in third countries in 2008
21. Commission announces it will reduce MRL for dioxin in fish liver
22. Commission admits that Italian testing of cadmium in imported crab did not follow correct procedures
23. European Food Safety Agency says no evidence of disease risk from non-fish vectors
24. DG SANCO celebrates 50 years of food safety regulation in the European Union


Common Fisheries Policy

1. The Council of Fisheries Ministers of Member States agreed on the 2008 TACs and quotas for Community fisheries. Although scientific advice for North Sea cod allowed for an increase of 11% in the TAC, to ensure that this recovery is sustained, Council agreed on a 10% cut in days at sea. Cod avoidance measures have been agreed to reduce the incidence of by-catches and discards. With regard to other cod stocks which have not yet shown signs of improvement, there were cuts of up to 18% in both TACs and fishing effort agreed. Sole, Nephrops and southern hake TACs were also reduced. The EC and Norway agreed on a 41% cut in herring TAC, and a 24% increase for horse mackerel in western waters. The Commission announced that in 2008 it would come up with an action plan for the conservation of sharks, but in the meanwhile spurdog TAC was cut by 25%.

2. The Council passed a Regulation implementing in Community Law the management measures agreed within the frame of ICCAT for the conservation of bluefin tuna. It requires EC Member States to draw up annual fishing plans to be submitted to the Commission for approval, new reporting obligations, new technical measures (closed seasons, minimum sizes), sampling programmes, controls of recreational fishing, special registration of authorised vessels, registration of traps, landings in designated ports, observer programmes, controls for transshipment, and restrictions on marketing of bluefin tuna from countries which do not comply with quota limits.

3. The European Court of Auditors' has published a report on the control, inspection and sanction systems of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The Court argues that there are three main types of failure in the CFP catch limitation system; i) there is widespread under-reporting of fish captured, and the control systems in place in the Member States fail to detect and correct these false declarations or fraud; ii) sanction regimes in Member States are of variable effectiveness and levels of sanctions are generally not dissuasive; and iii) regulations at EU level and the inspections and other actions carried out by the Commission under the mandate it has received do not amount to the decisive action required to remedy these weaknesses. The Court puts most of the blame for the flaws on unsatisfactory implementation by the Member States. The Court also makes it clear that many of the weaknesses it attributes to the Commission are due to the fact that the current state of EU law does not grant the Commission sufficient authority for it to be able to perform its 'watchdog' function in an effective and timely manner.

4. The Commission has re-published the Commission regulation on the detailed rules for the implementation of the electronic logbook system in Community fishing vessels. This requires Member States to introduce systems for electronic recording of catches and real time data transmission for EC fishing vessels exceeding 24 metres length as from 1 January, 2010 and for those exceeding 15 metres length as from 1 July, 2011. Registered buyers and auctions responsible for the first sale of fisheries products with an annual turnover > EUR 400 000 will also be required to implement electronic systems from 1 January, 2009. Flag States will be required to ensure data is accessible by coastal states in which vessels are fishing.

5. The EC passed a Regulation setting out new requirements for landing and weighing procedures for herring, mackerel and horse mackerel caught by EC vessels. Applies to quantities landed greater than 10 tonnes. Requires Member States to designate landing ports; prior notice must be given of entry into port for landing and discharge can only commence after authorisation; weighing systems should be approved by the Competent Authorities; the maximum deduction allowable for water is 2%. Proper records must be kept of each weighing event, and fish landed in frozen form must be labelled with information regarding the origin and date of production. Competent Authorities must make adequate cross checks between the landing quantities declared and sales notes.

6. The EC passed a Regulation consolidating a number of EC regulations implementing the decisions in respect of EC vessels of the 25th Annual Meeting of NAFO held in Halifax on 15-19 September 2003, and various NAFO measures expressed previously in the annual TACs and quota regulation.

7. The EC passed a Regulation implementing in EC law a number of agreements on TACS and quotas as part of the Fisheries Agreements between the EC and Norway, EC and Iceland and EC and Faroe Islands. The Regulation also sets conditions for the exploitation of certain deep seas stocks within the frame of the NEAFC (orange roughy and roundnose grenadier).

8. The European Commission passed a Decision allocating additional fishing effort, in the form of 3 additional days at sea each for the Netherlands and Spanish trawl fleets, due to the introduction of enhanced observer schemes in both countries.

9. Stop fishing notices were published for German vessels targeting cod, Belgian vessels targeting cod and ling, Estonian vessels fishing for redfish, Lithuanian vessels fishing for Greenland halibut, Portuguese fishing for hake and alfonsinos, and German fishing for herring.

10. The EC and Faroe Islands agreed on the 2008 exchange of fishing possibilities under the terms of their bilateral fishing agreement. A number of quotas, such as for redfish, saithe and blue whiting have been reduced. The Parties also agreed on extended and reciprocal access to each other's waters especially on blue whiting and Atlanto-Scandian herring.

11. The EC ratified and published the text of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the Republic of Madagascar and the European Community, along with the first protocol which covers the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2012. It sets out the opportunities for 43 freezer tuna seiners, 50 surface longliners over 100 GT and 26 of 100 GT and five vessels for exploratory line or bottom longline fishing. In return the EC will provide a financial contribution of EUR864,500 compensation plus a specific amount of EUR332,500 per year for the support and implementation of Madagascar's sectoral fisheries policy.

12. The EC ratified and published the text of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the Republic of Mozambique and the European Community, along with the first protocol which covers the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2011. It sets out the opportunities for 44 freezer tuna seiners and 45 surface longline vessels. In return the EC will provide a financial contribution of EUR650,000 and a specific amount of EUR250,000 per year for the support and implementation of Mozambique's sectoral fisheries policy. Fishing opportunities under the Agreement were allocated to Spain, France, Italy, UK and Portugal.

13. The EC has published the text of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the Republic of Guinea Bissau and the European Community, along with the first protocol which covers the period from 16 June 2007 to 15 June 2011. It sets out the opportunities for crustaceans and demersal species: 4,400 GRT per year of freezer shrimp trawlers; 4 400 GRT per year freezer, fin-fish and cephalopod trawlers; 23 freezer tuna seiners and longline vessels and 14 pole-and-line tuna vessels. In return the EC will provide a financial contribution of EUR7 million per year plus EUR500,000 per year for the introduction of a health control system for fishery products. Shrimp fishing opportunities are allocated to Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal. Fin-fish/cephalopods opportunities are allocated to Spain, Italy, and Greece. Tuna fishing opportunities are allocated to Spain, France and Portugal.

14. The European Council passed the Regulations setting the guide prices, minimum withdrawal and selling prices, reference prices, and rates of intervention support for withdrawn fishery products for 2008.

15. The EC also decided to provide additional market support to producers of tuna delivered to processing in 2007, as a result of low prices. A compensatory allowance was granted at the rate of EUR5/tonne for 34,320 tonnes of Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga).

16. The European Commission published a report on structural adjustment of the EC fishing fleet. The report concludes that the reduction of fishing capacity at 2-3% annually by Member States is proceeding too slowly to have a major impact on the sustainability of EC fisheries. The reduction is more than compensated by improvements in efficiency, and much greater cuts are required to bring about the reductions in fishing effort required. The Commission is still highly critical of Member States who persist in failing to describe fleet capacity in relation to fisheries in which vessels operate.

17. The Commission announced that it had approved the Operational Programmes for the period 2007-2013 for the Fisheries and Aquaculture sectors in Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Spain. The Operational Programmes will guide the application of the European Fisheries Fund in supporting structural adjustment in the fisheries sector.


Fish hygiene

18. Twenty six rapid alerts were notified by Member States for failure to comply with health conditions in relation to consignment of fishery products, including from Spain (mackerel canned octopus, frozen cooked shelled mussels, swordfish), Germany (cod liver oil capsules), Latvia (smoked sprats), Denmark (smoked cods liver), France (live crabs) and Italy (live clams).

19. The EC and Member States published extensive comments on i) the Draft Codex Code of practice for fish and fishery products (in relation to processing of smoked fish and definitions of different smoking processes and live and raw bivalve molluscs) and ii) in relation to the Draft Standard for live and raw bivalve molluscs, particularly in relation to proposed microbiological standards.

20. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO has published its programme of audits and inspection missions planned for 2008. The FVO has scheduled 256 audits and inspections for 2008. Of these 139 are in relation to food safety. Seventy six missions will be carried out in third countries, of which 25 will be in respect of fishery products. Third countries which will receive FVO inspection missions for fishery products, live bivalve molluscs and aquaculture products include Iceland, Turkey, Israel, and Japan, and a number of ACP suppliers to the EC.

21. The Scientific Committee on the Food Chain and Animal health discussed the outcome of recent meetings of the Expert Committee "Agricultural Contaminants" and "POPs in Food" with regard to dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs in fish liver. The Committee discussed and agreed on a common point of action for dioxins and PCBs in fish liver and derived products thereof of 25 pg /g wet weight for the sum of dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs. The Committee was informed that this common point of action could be envisaged as maximum level, and that the Annex to Regulation (EC) 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 (which sets maximum levels for certain contaminants in food) would be amended accordingly.

22. The Commission and Member States discussed recent findings of an investigation in relation to cadmium levels in crab exported from Ireland to Italy, and associated RASFF alerts. The Community Reference Laboratory found that the Italian laboratory was likely to have prepared samples including body meat, which is specifically excluded from the Maximum Residue Limit, due to its high and variable levels of cadmium. The Commission clarified that according to Regulation (EC) No.1881/2006 the maximum level for cadmium in crustacean is 0.5 mg/kg, and that this excludes the brown meat of crabs.

23. The European Food Safety Agency announced that it has completed a review of the risks of vectors associated with transmission of finfish diseases in species used in aquaculture. EFSA found no published scientific evidence of the role of non-susceptible aquatic animals as vectors in the transmission of listed aquaculture diseases. It also concluded that any life stage, with the possible exception of eggs, of the listed susceptible species is susceptible to infection.

24. DG SANCO has published a document celebrating 50 years of food safety in the European Union. The first EC directive on food safety was introduced in 1964, regarding health conditions for intra community trade in fresh meat.


ABOUT FISHFILES LITE AND YOUR SUBSCRIPTION
  • FishFiles Lite is a free service provided by MegaPesca.
  • To upgrade to FishFiles Professional and receive full access to the information summarised in this newsletter and also to be able to search and download files from the Megapesca website which now contains over 5,000 files, go to:http://www.megapesca.com/aboutfishfiles.asp online
  • Whilst we use our best efforts to provide accurate information in this newsletter, MegaPesca is not responsible for the results of any inaccuracies or omissions which may be found to exist in the information provided, or any loss of profits or other consequential damages that may result from actions or omissions based on the information supplied. Readers are advised that only the European Union legislation published in the paper editions of the Official Journal of the European Communities is deemed authentic.
  • To Contact MegaPesca:
    Tel: +351 262 990372, Fax: +351 262 990496
    Rua Gago Coutinho 11, Valado de Santa Quitéria, Alfeizerão 2460-207 PORTUGAL
    megapesca@mail.telepac.pt
    www.megapesca.com