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November 2008

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Draft fisheries control regulation published; requires vessel level traceability
2. Commission reports on infringements to fisheries rules; condemns “arbitrary” sanctions.
3. Draft regulation published strengthening controls on EU fishing outside the Community
4. Commission recommends 2009 TACS; proposes cod moratorium in W. of Scotland
5. Council approved the 2009 TACs and quotas for the Black Sea
6. Commission sets new rules for the recording of fisheries data, buyer registration scheme
7. IATTC fails to strengthen tuna and swordfish conservation measures
8. CCAMLR Plenary Session fails to strengthen IUU trade measures
9. ICCAT strengthens recovery plan for bluefin; new measures for porbeagle shark and swordfish.
10. NEAFC and NAFO publish updated list of IUU vessels
11. EC grants Kenya a tariff quota of 2,000 tonnes of tuna loins
12. Commission approves EUR € 26.3 million subsidy for Belgian fish sector
13. Commission re-sets fleet reference capacity levels
14. New financial procedures for collection and management of fisheries data
15. EC announces grant of EUR4.7 million for upgrading of fisheries control facilities and equipment
16. 2008 TACS for Norway pout, whiting and haddock amended following scientific advice.
17. Stop fishing notice were published for Polish, French, Spanish, Swedish and Portuguese vessels
18. Commission publishes 2009 guide prices for withdrawal subsidies

Fish hygiene

19. Rapid alerts were notified for 26 consignments of imported fishery products
20. The Commission decided that only Helix snails may be imported from Madagascar
21. Commission bans import of bivalve molluscs from Peru due to Hepatitis A outbreak
22. EFSA Panel on Animal Health reports on notifiable diseases of fish and molluscs
23. EFSA considers impacts of antimicrobial resistance and the food chain
24. EFSA Panel on Animal Health reports on welfare conditions for farmed seabass and seabream.
25. Commission announces proposed changes to maximum levels of arsenic in fishmeal
26. EFSA announces no conclusions yet, in replacing bioassays using live mice

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The Commission has published far reaching proposals for a new fisheries control regulation, aimed at strengthening Community fisheries controls "from net to plate". The proposed new regulation establishes a completely revised framework for fisheries monitoring control and surveillance throughout the EU marketing chain, including a requirement for full traceability to the supplying vessel. In future the application of controls should also take into account risk management principles. Sanctions and penalties are to be harmonised between Member States, with the introduction of a system of penalty points. Inadequate implementation of CFP rules by Member States may result in loss of financial support from the European Fisheries Fund, loss of quotas or take over of functions by an emergency unit of the Community Fisheries Control Agency, whose mandate to inspect and control Member State activities will be extended.

2. The European Commission published its seventh annual report on serious infringements to the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2006. The number of infringements detected that year was 10,362, while the average fine imposed by Member states was €1,548. The most common types of infringements were those concerning marketing standards and unauthorised fishing. The Commission remains concerned both at the detection rate and the level of sanctions applied, as well as the insufficient supply of data by the Member States and the "arbitrary nature of the present system" of sanctions.

3. The European Council passed a regulation introducing a general Community system for the authorisation of all fishing activities of Community fishing vessels outside Community waters, including activities under management by RFMOs, Fisheries Agreements and Fisheries Partnership Agreements. In future, applications for fishing licences must be submitted via Member States and the Commission, to the authorising authority. Weekly effort and catch data shall be reported to the Member State, and be accessible by the Commission. A new procedure is defined for the re-allocation of unused fishing opportunities obtained by the Community under Fisheries Partnership Agreements. The regulation also aligns and harmonises the rules of access of non-EU fishing vessels operating in Community waters.

4. The European Commission made recommendations on fishing possibilities and fishing effort for 2009 for the main stocks in the North-East Atlantic, including the North Sea. These are based on ICES scientific advice on the state of fish stocks and from the Commission's Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries (STECF). Modification of the cod recovery plan is proposed, with a 25% reduction in quota and a change in the basis for effort calculation (replacing days at sea with kilowatt-day ceilings. A moratorium is proposed for cod, haddock and whiting stocks in the West of Scotland, and with bycatch reduction measures in Nephrops and anglerfish fisheries. Other proposals are 7% increase in North Sea sole TACs, 25% cut in herring TAC and the introduction of marine protection zones for blue ling. The Commission's proposal will be debated by the Council of Fisheries Ministers when they meet on 17-19 December 2008. The proposals for 2009 also include a ban all fishing on porbeagle shark in EU waters.

5. The European Council approved the 2009 TACs and quotas, and technical regulations, for turbot and sprat in the Black Sea. A 100 tonne precautionary TAC for turbot is divided equally between Romania and Bulgaria. A closed season for turbot is also to be implemented from 15 April to 15 June. A 12,750 tonne TAC is also set for sprat.

6. The Commission passed a regulation setting out detailed rules for the recording of fisheries data. All buyers at first sale with turnover more than EUR400,000 will have to be registered by Member States. From 2009, they will be required to transmit electronic sales notes to the Competent Authorities of Member States. From 2011, fishing vessels exceeding 15 metres (24 metres from 2010) will be required to transmit daily electronic effort and catch data to their Member State. The regulation specifies data formats and structures and access requirements to ensure compatibility.

7. The Commission criticised the failure of the IATCC (Inter American Tropical Tuna Commission) to implement new tuna and swordfish conservation measures for 2009. IATTC also failed to agree on a performance review for the organisation, making it the only major regional tuna resource management organisation that has not yet done so.

8. The Commission also expressed disappointment that the CCAMLR Plenary Session did not support further trade measures to limit entry of products of illegal fishing to the world market. The Commission announced that it may now consider unilateral action on these measures.

9. ICCAT decided to strengthen the recovery plan for bluefin tuna, to protect the porbeagle shark in the Atlantic and to reduce the fishing season on Mediterranean swordfish. The total allowable catch (TAC) for 2009 for bluefin tuna has been reduced to 22,000 tonnes from 28,500 tonnes in 2008. A four-month reduction in the fishing season for the purse seine fleet was also approved. ICCAT established a peer-review system, to assess the compliance of all its members with ICCAT decisions. Measures which would ban directed fisheries on thresher and hammerhead sharks and freeze effort on the vulnerable blue and shortfin mako sharks were proposed by the EC, but they were not supported.

10. The Commission updated the list of vessels confirmed by NEAFC and NAFO as having engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries. Twenty two vessels are listed.

11. Due to reported low levels of catches of tuna in the Indian Ocean, the EC has granted Kenya a derogation to the rules of origin, in the form of a tariff quota of 2,000 tonnes of non-originating tuna loins for canning, which may be admitted with the ACP tariff preferences in 2008.

12. The Commission announced that it had approved the Operational Programme for the Belgian Fisheries Sector for the period 2007-2013. The measure will provide subsidies for the Belgian fisheries sector from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) amounting to EUR 26.3 million. Priority axes include adaptation of the EU fishing fleet, aquaculture, inland fishing, processing and marketing of fishery and aquaculture products and sustainable development of fisheries areas.

13. The Commission passed a regulation re-setting fleet reference levels (as of 1 January 2003) for EU Member States as a result of information received regarding some vessels used in aquaculture or exclusively for capture of non-quota species. The decision impacts on the monitoring of capacity reduction targets.

14. The Commission has passed a Regulation setting out the procedural conditions for the submission of the annual requests for Community support for expenditure incurred by Member States for the collection and management of the basic fisheries data, and defining eligible expenditure.

15. The EC has announced the 2008 financial contribution to Member States for the upgrading of Fisheries MCS facilities and equipment, and IT networks. A total grant of EUR4.7 million will be made, on planned expenditure EUR14.1 million.

16. The Council passed a Regulation amending the 2008 TACS for Norway pout, whiting and haddock, and the allocation of quotas to Member States, in the light on new scientific information.

17. Stop fishing notice were published for Polish vessels fishing for saithe, haddock and cod, French vessels fishing for mackerel, Spanish vessels fishing for cod and common sole, Swedish vessels fishing for common sole, Portuguese vessels fishing for alfonsinos and all vessels fishing for Greenland halibut in NAFO. Swedish vessels were re-admitted to fish for industrial fish in Norwegian waters as from 3 September 2008.

18. The Commission passed a regulation establishing guide prices for 2009, for fishery products subject to the EC withdrawal subsidies. Guide prices for white fish have been reduced, and for most small pelagic fish species they have been increased. The prices determine the level of withdrawal subsidy that can be paid.

Fish hygiene

19. Rapid alerts were notified to the Commission for failure to comply with health conditions in 26 consignments of fishery products, including those from India (frozen shrimps, peeled and de-veined black tiger prawns), Philippines (canned tuna chunks), Vietnam (frozen bonito, frozen marlin, frozen skinless Pangasius fillets), Bangladesh (frozen freshwater IQF shrimps) and China (frozen monkfish).

20. The Commission passed a decision defining the genus of snails which are permitted to be imported from Madagascar (only Helix spp are allowed).

21. Following an outbreak in the EU of Hepatitis A from Donax clams imported from Peru, the Commission has banned the import of bivalve molluscs from Peru, including molluscs which may have originated in another third country. However, Pectinidae from aquaculture, and molluscs which have undergone heat treatment, are excluded from the ban. The measure is applicable until the end of March 2009.

22. Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Animal Health and has delivered a scientific opinion on the list of aquatic animal species susceptible to the different notifiable diseases of fish and molluscs. EFSA concluded that some species should be added to the list, but for there was otherwise a lack of data.

23. EFSA has published a press release on antimicrobial resistance, its impacts, and the associated sources, including antimicrobial residues in the food chain. The information note sets out EC policy and legislation, and outlines EFSA's role and activities.

24. Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Animal Health delivered a scientific opinion on animal welfare conditions for farmed seabass and seabream. The main risk of welfare hazards occurred through handling (e.g. physical disturbance, poor tank hygiene), poorly formulated feed, and the lack of availability of authorised anaesthetics for use with broodstock. There were no significant differences in welfare conditions for larvae, juveniles and ongrowers in flow through tanks, compared with recirculation systems.

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