FishFiles Lite Newsletter
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January 2008

Common Fisheries Policy

1. European Commission approves EUR5.3 billion in public subsidies for the EC fishery sector.
2. Council of Ministers approves the 2008 TACS and quota regulation
3. Council of Ministers approves fisheries management regulation for the Black Sea for 2008
4. Commission grants additional days at sea to Belgium fishing fleet
5. EU ratifies the EC-Madagascar Fisheries Partnership Agreement
6. EU reduces/eliminates import tariffs on fishery products for processing

Fish hygiene

7. During January 2007, thirty two rapid alerts notified regarding fishery products
8. EFSA Scientific Panel issues an opinion on Listeria in ready to eat foods

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The Commission approved the public subsidies for the EU fishery sector via the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) for the period 2007-2013. The total subsidy approved so far (covering 21 countries, excluding UK, Ireland and Poland which are still to be announced) amounts to EUR5.3 billion (with the EC contributing EUR3.1 billion). The subsidies are intended to support structural adjustment of the fishery sector, and have been approved despite the Commission reporting, only in December 2007, that the reduction of fishing capacity by Member States is proceeding too slowly to have a major impact on the sustainability of EC fisheries. The approval also follows the special report of the European Court of Auditors (also published in December 2007) blaming Member States for unsatisfactory implementation of inspection and control measures under the Common Fisheries Policy.

2. The EC published the 2008 TACS and quota regulation, setting the fishing opportunities for all EC and third country fish stocks subject to management, and allocating them to Member States, along with the associated conditions for Community vessels. Sets catch limits and conditions for third-country fishing vessels, describes licensing arrangements, and sets out the special provisions for community vessels fishing in the Mediterranean Sea and fishing in the areas of NAFO, CCAMLR, SEAFO, IOTC, SPFO, WCPFC and ICCAT. Also contains Community measures against illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries, and special provisions for the landing or transhipping of frozen fish caught by third country fishing vessels in the NEAFC convention area.

3. The Council of Ministers passed a Regulation setting out the fisheries management measures for the Black Sea for 2008. It sets TACs and quotas for turbot (100 tonnes) and sprat (15,000 tonnes), allocated to Bulgaria and Romania and establishes interim technical measures including mesh size limit, a closed season for turbot fishing, and minimum fish size.

4. The Commission passed a Decision allocating additional days at sea to fishing fleet segments from Belgium, as a result of evidence submitted that vessel withdrawals have resulted in a reduction of capacity. The adjustments amount to 3 additional days at sea in 2008 for gillnet vessels, plus additional days at sea for trawl vessels (except beam trawls) and Danish seines, corresponding to 40,86 or 88 days depending on mesh size.

5. The Council passed a Regulation ratifying the EC-Madagascar Fisheries Partnership Agreement which allocates fishing opportunities in the Madagascar EEZ to EC tuna purse seiners, surface long line vessels, and exploratory line and long line fishing for demersal fish species.

6. The Council passed a Regulation reducing or eliminating EC import tariffs on a range of fishery products imported for further processing, including sturgeons, lump fish, red snapper (Lutjanus purpureus), hard fish roes, Pacific salmon for manufacture into pastes or spreads, dogfish (Squalus acanthias), and krill for processing.

Fish hygiene

7. During January 2007, thirty two rapid alerts were notified by Member States for failure to comply with health conditions in relation to consignment of fishery products, including those from Ireland (live crabs), Denmark (smoked salmon, fishmeal, shrimp salad), Spain (frozen mackerel), France (live crabs, monkfish liver), Norway (smoked cods liver), Netherlands (swordfish treated with carbon monoxide) and USA (frozen smoked salmon, frozen mackerel).

8. The EFSA Scientific Panel on Biological Hazards issued an opinion that most listeriosis cases are due to the consumption of ready-to-eat foods which develop a high concentration of Listeria along the food chain. It therefore recommends that efforts to reduce risks to human health should focus on food packaging and preparation practices in the food chain (such as the slicing of ready to eat meat products), storage temperatures, general industrial good hygiene practices and the education and training of food handlers. Consumers should also be informed regarding the need for temperature controlled storage.

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