FishFiles Lite Newsletter
FISHERIES POLICY AND FISH HYGIENE
TECHNICAL INFORMATION IN FOOD & FISHERIES POLICY & DEVELOPMENT
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March 2008

Common Fisheries Policy


1. Commission publishes guidelines for fisheries subsidies by Member States
2. EU Fisheries Control Agency to prevent overfishing of bluefin tuna in 2008
3. Commission proposes claw-back of 8,000 tonnes of cod quota from Poland
4. General Fisheries Commission of the Mediterranean declines to act strongly against IUU fishing
5. Stop fishing notices issued for French and Spanish vessels
6. Commission delegates reporting responsibilities to the EU Fisheries Control Agency
7. EU updates regulation on fisheries data collection by Member States
8. DG FISH re-organises; now known as DG MARE.
9. EU and Mauritania agree a new protocol to their Fisheries Partnership Agreement
10. EU ratifies new Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Guinea-Bissau
11. EU ratifies new Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Cote d'Ivoire

Fish hygiene

12. Twenty eight rapid alerts notified regarding consignments of fishery products,
13. FVO adjusts 2008 inspection programme; 24 fisheries missions to third countries
14. FVO reported on mission to Angola in November 2007; some shortcomings
15. FVO reported on mission to Uruguay in November 2007; serious shortcomings
16. New Regulation setting pesticide MRLS; not applicable to fishery products yet


Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission has adopted new guidelines on "State Aid" to the fisheries sector, applicable from 1 April 2008, which set the rules on the amount and type of subsidies which EU Member States can grant to their own fishery sectors. The new rules will allow Member States to provide subsidies for most of the measures included in the European Fisheries Fund (i.e. Community Subsidies) except for the replacement of engines and fishing gear. They will allow compensation for damages caused by natural disasters, exceptional occurrences or even bad weather events. They may take the form of tax relief and labour related costs for EU vessels fishing for tuna and tuna-like species outside EU waters and beyond 200 nautical miles (as an incentive to EU vessel owners not to re-flag their fishing vessels in third countries). The new rules also cover the transport and development subsidies for the fisheries sector in the EU's outermost regions.

2. The European Commission announced a new "Joint Deployment Plan" coordinated by the Community Fisheries Control Agency to prevent a repeat of last year's overfishing of Mediterranean bluefin tuna by EU Member States. The aim is to ensure that fishing is stopped as soon as quotas are consumed, thus ensuring proper implementation of the fifteen-year recovery plan for the fishery, agreed within the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) in November 2006. However, the Commission also notes that the measure does not address the gross over-capacity of the international fleet which targets bluefin tuna, which is the root of the problem.

3. The European Commission proposed terms for a claw-back of 8,000 tonnes of cod quota, representing the catch by the Polish fleet in excess of quotas allocated in the eastern Baltic in 2007. The recovery of the excess quota will be staggered over the period 2008-2011. The main reasons for the overshoot were a deficient control and enforcement scheme and a fleet whose capacity to catch cod is disproportionate with the available fishing opportunities. Polish fishers have not yet registered a response.

4. The European Commission failed to persuade the annual meeting of the General Fisheries Commission of the Mediterranean (GFCM) to implement a full port state control scheme (it will be applicable only to foreign flagged vessels), nor to submit itself to a performance review.

5. Stop fishing notices were issued for French vessels fishing for anglerfish in ICES zones VIIIc, IX and X; EC waters of CECAF 34.1.1 and Spanish vessels fishing for blue ling in ICES zones VI and VII.

6. The Commission delegated some of its responsibilities in relation to fisheries controls and information notices (as set out in the EC's conservation regulation Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 of 20 December 2002) to the Community Fisheries Control Agency.

7. The EU Council approved the new regulation on data collection with regard to the Community fisheries sector. It sets out new and consolidated requirements which Member States must follow in providing timely data regarding fisheries activities, and repeals and replaces Council Regulation (EC) No 1543/2000 and its amendments.

8. DG FISH has announced an internal re-organisation, claimed to be better adapted to the needs of the future Community Maritime and Fisheries Policy. The new structure seeks to reflect the different regional areas in which the EU's fisheries and maritime affairs are conducted. DG FISH will in future be known as DG MARE.

9. The European Commission and Mauritania agreed a new protocol under their Fisheries Partnership Agreement for the period 1 August 2008 to 31 July 2012. The Parties agreed to decrease the current fishing possibilities, thus reflecting the reduced needs of the European fleet and recent scientific advice. These possibilities have been decreased by 25% for cephalopods (octopus), from 10 to 50% for demersal species (living close to the sea floor) and by 43% for small pelagic (mid-water) bringing the overall annual tonnage from the current 440,000 tonnes to 250,000 tonnes. Further reductions in overall fishing effort are foreseen. The new EU financial contribution will amount to EUR75.25 million per year (down from EUR86 million now), with an additional € EUR15 million per year from licences.

10. The European Council has passed the regulation ratifying the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Guinea-Bissau, agreed in May 2007. The Agreement provides opportunities for shrimp fishing to be allocated to Spain Italy Greece and Portugal, for fin-fish/cephalopods fishing to be allocated to Spain, Italy and Greece, and for tuna seine, pole and line and surface longliner fishing, to be allocated to Spain, France and Portugal.

11. The European Council has passed the regulation ratifying the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Cote d'Ivoire, agreed in April 2007. The Agreement provides opportunities for 25 purse seiners (allocated to France and Spain) and 15 surface longliners (allocated to Spain and Portugal).


Fish hygiene

12. Rapid alerts were notified to the Commission for failure to comply with health conditions in twenty eight consignment of fishery products, including from Denmark (sliced smoked salmon), India (black tiger prawns), Croatia (chilled Atlantic horse mackerel), Vietnam (frozen swordfish loins, canned tuna), Lithuania (crab sticks) and New Zealand (pink cusk-eel).

13. The FVO has updated its 2008 inspection programme of missions to third countries. It will conduct missions for fish and fishery products, live bivalve molluscs (and aquaculture products where appropriate) in 24 countries, including: Bangladesh, Benin, Cameroon, China, Eritrea, Faroe Islands, Ghana, Greenland, India, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Rep. Congo, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, USA, Iceland and Turkey.

14. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to Angola in November 2007 with regard to meeting the conditions for supply of fishery products to the EU market. The mission found a number of serious shortcomings; the Competent Authority (INIP) was unable to provide legislation; non-compliances were not always followed up, HACCP plans were deficient; health certification was carried out on the basis of analyses. However, the action plan from the 2003 mission was found to have generally been satisfactorily implemented. Undertakings, in the form of an action plan, were sought that the remaining deficiencies would be addressed.

15. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to Uruguay in November 2007 with regard to meeting the conditions for supply of fishery products, bivalve molluscs and aquaculture products to the EU market. The mission found that non-compliant vessels and establishments were still listed, there was poor follow up of non-compliances, documented procedures were not followed, laboratory staff were conducting inspections, only one veterinary inspector had been trained in EU requirements, there were no written sampling procedures or plans, fishing vessels were not inspected, there was insufficient testing of contaminants, the CA was unaware of EC requirements regarding toxic fish, and there was no testing of water samples. The DINARA testing laboratory was not accredited and numerous methodological deficiencies were identified; only one of six establishments was compliant with EC requirements. Undertakings, in the form of an action plan, were sought that the observed deficiencies would be addressed.

16. The European Commission passed a Regulation setting maximum levels of pesticide residues in a wide range of vegetable and animal products. However fish and other aquatic organisms are not included at this stage.

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