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December 2010

Common Fisheries Policy


1. European Council agrees on 2010 TACs and quotas for most Community fisheries
2. European Council agrees on TACs and quotas for the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea for 2010.
3. European Council passes the long awaited fisheries control regulation; includes financial sanctions for non-compliance by Member States
4. EU - Norway bilateral fisheries arrangements for 2010 derailed by lack of agreement on mackerel shares and access
5. Council modifies recovery plan for Greenland halibut in Community waters, in line with NAFO commitments.
6. Fishing effort limits and reporting obligations modified for some areas subject to Baltic Sea cod recovery plan
7. Stop fishing notices were published for redfish in NAFO and bluefin tuna.
8. Commission announces new cooperation agreement on maritime surveillance between CFCA and other Community agencies
9. Commission passes decision on Community financial support for fisheries monitoring control and surveillance activities
10. Commission publishes new conversion factors and codes for Community fish species for electronic log book recording
11. The name "Cornish sardine" is granted a protected designation of origin.
12. European Council sets 2010 parameters for intervention price support for fishery products
13. European Commission signs IUU cooperation agreement with Faroe Islands
14. European Commission repeals EC-Guinea Fisheries Partnership Agreement

Fish hygiene

15. In December 2009, rapid alerts were notified for failure to comply with health conditions for 29 consignments of fishery products
16. Commission removes derogations from the list of countries authorised to supply fishery products; Cameroon and Fiji lose access to EC market
17. DG SANCO reports on a mission to Congo; most of findings from previous mission in 2003 were addressed
18. DG SANCO sets out inspection programme of the Food and Veterinary Office for 2010, includes pre-listing missions for fishery products form Sierra Leone, Georgia, and Brunei
19. France, UK and Ireland object to excessive controls by Italy regarding cadmium in crabmeat
20. Commission passes Regulation setting out the current definition of zones in Member States with regard to aquaculture disease status.

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Council agreed on the provisional TACs and quotas for fisheries in Community waters in 2010. Reductions in TACs for several important species were agreed including a 25% cut for haddock in West Scotland, 20% cut for sole in Eastern Channel and between 15% and 35% for all cod stocks depending on the areas. The TACs were set at zero for porbeagle and spurdog (except for 10% allowable by-catches for the latter species). TACs for some stock will be increased in line with scientific advice, including megrim, northern hake, plaice, anglerfish, and sole in the Bay of Biscay. The Commission also announced that the recent anchovy surveys will enable Council to approve a TAC of 7,000 tonnes, starting from January 2010, on the understanding that this figure will change to reflect the outcome of scientific advice in the spring. Despite the decision of Council, The TACs and quotas regulation could not be finalised since the draft does not include final figures for stocks jointly managed with Norway or the Faroe Islands, since agreements on quota exchange and mutual access with these third countries had not been reached (see item 4).

2. The European Council Regulation did however agree on the setting of the TACs and quotas for the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea for 2010. In the latter, a TAC of 96 tonnes for turbot (Psetta maxima) in the Black Sea is set (to be shared equally between Bulgaria and Romania), with fishing for turbot not authorised before 15 February 2010, a ban for turbot fishing from 15 April to 15 June, a minimum landing size of 45 cm and the use of a 400 mm minimum legal mesh size.

3. The European Council passed the long awaited fisheries control regulation. This sets out the revised arrangements and responsibilities for the system of controls by EC Member States, the Commission and the Community Fisheries Control Agency, to ensure that the fishery sector follows the fisheries conservation rules. The regulation replaces and updates a large number of overlapping and complex legal texts, and seeks to ensure a more uniform enforcement by EC Member States, whilst reducing the administrative burden on Governments. The regulation sets common criteria for the implementation of fisheries controls, in particular inspection procedures at sea, on land and throughout the whole market chain. Particular emphasis is placed on the need for traceability throughout production and marketing, with first sale of fisheries products to be registered at an auction centre to registered buyers or producer organisations. Sales notes must be used and organisations with turnover >EUR200,000 must transmit these electronically. The regulation requires control measures by Member States to be based on risk management and to use cross-checking procedures in a systematic and comprehensive way. It requires vessel monitoring system, automatic identification system and the vessel detection systems to be installed on vessels >12m, and provides for data standards to allow electronic communication to Community Agencies and Competent Authorities of Member States. Vessels over 10m are required to keep a log book and make landing declarations. Transhipment may only take place in designated ports. Powers are provided to control recreational fisheries should they have a negative impact on conservation. A list of Community inspectors will be established and their tasks and competences is to be clarified. Enforcement measures are to be harmonised with the introduction of a points system for serious infringements of fisheries rules, with standardised dissuasive sanctions, culminating in withdrawal of fishing licence. Allocation of financial assistance for fisheries controls and structural funding will be conditional upon compliance by Member States with their obligations in the fields of fisheries control. Suspension and cancellation of financial assistance is foreseen in cases of an inadequate implementation of the rules of the common fisheries policy by Member States. New powers are conferred on the Commission to close a fishery when the quota of a Member State or a TAC itself is exhausted, and to deduct quotas and effort allocations to ensure the limitation of fishing opportunities are fully complied with. The Regulation also requires that Member States operate with greater transparency by setting up fisheries control websites and allowing direct access to their databases by the Commission.

4. The Commission announced that after several weeks of negotiations, the EU and Norway have not been able to agree on the bilateral fisheries arrangements for 2010, due to failure to agree on the exchange of quotas and mutual access arrangements for mackerel. As a result, the mutual fisheries access for other species will be suspended from the 1st January 2010. Negotiations are expected to resume in the New Year.

5. The Council approved a Regulation modifying the recovery plan for Greenland halibut in Community waters, to bring reporting and enhanced control requirements into line with agreements made at the 29th Annual Meeting of NAFO (September 2007).

6. The European Commission passed a Regulation excluding certain sea areas from the scope of fishing effort limitations and reporting obligations under the Baltic Sea cod recovery plan, since the catches of cod were below a certain threshold in the last reporting period.

7. Stop fishing notices were published for all member states vessels establishing a prohibition of fishing or redfish in NAFO area, Division 3M, effective from 9th December 2009. French vessels were also prohibited from fishing for bluefin tuna in Atlantic Ocean, east of longitude 45º W, and Mediterranean effective 24th December 2009.

8. The Commission announced the signing of a cooperation agreement on maritime surveillance between the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) based in Lisbon, the European Agency for the Management of Operational Co-operation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) based in Warsaw and the Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA), based in Vigo. The Agreement will provide for, inter alia, exchange of information and data on matters of common interest.

9. The Commission passed a Decision on the allocation of Community funds to support fisheries monitoring control and surveillance activities by Member States in 2010. Overall, the Community will contribute EUR12.6 million to eligible expenditure of EUR17.1 million, from a total MCS expenditure of EUR34.5 million. The Commission passed a Regulation setting out modified rules for the management and monitoring of Community funds allocated to support expenditure by EC Member States on fisheries monitoring control and surveillance activities. In future, there will be time limit of 12 months after the end of the year, for submission of claims for reimbursement.

10. The Commission published revised and updated conversion factors and codes for Community fish species, to include factors for all processing states including 'fresh', 'fresh salted' and 'frozen' to allow for conversion to live weight equivalent for the purposes of electronic log book recording.

11. The Commission passed a Regulation allowing the name "Cornish sardine" to be considered as a protected designation of origin.

12. The Council passed Regulations setting out the 2010 guide prices, storage and carry over aid, reference prices, minimum selling prices, conversion factors and standard values to be used in calculations forming part of the community price support mechanism for fishery products withdrawn from the market.

13. The European Commission signed an administrative cooperation agreement with Faroe Islands, with the intention of extending information exchange to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, in line with the Community's IUU Regulation adopted in September 2008 and which comes into force from 1st January 2010.

14. The Commission passed a Decision repealing the legal basis for the provisional implementation of the EC-Guinea Fisheries Partnership Agreement, which was renounced by the EU following genocidal acts by the illegal military junta which took power earlier in 2009.

Fish hygiene

15. In December 2009, Rapid Alerts were notified for failure to comply with health conditions for two consignments of bivalve molluscs, five consignments of cephalopods, three consignments of crustaceans and 19 consignments of other fishery products, including from Poland (smoked salmon, cod liver). Spain (smoked swordfish, fresh slices of swordfish, chilled swordfish, frozen blue shark), Gambia (smoked bonga shad, smoked catfish)l, Thailand (canned tuna flakes ) and Russian Federation (canned salmon).

16. The Commission passed a Decision amending the list of countries from which the EC permits imports of fishery products. The list includes some previous "List II" countries whose derogation to trade under bilateral arrangements under Commission Regulation (EC) No 2076/2005 of 5 December 2005 expired at the end of 2009. Thus Angola, Azerbaijan (for caviar only), Benin, Congo (for fishery products caught, frozen and packed at sea only), Eritrea, Israel, Myanmar (for wild caught frozen fishery products only), the Solomon Islands, Saint Helena (excluding Tristan da Cunha) and Togo (for live lobsters only), obtain direct access to the Community market for the first time. By default, since they have not satisfied the Commission that their conditions are at least equivalent to those set out in Community law, Cameroon and Fiji lose access to the EC market for their fishery products.

17. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to Congo in September 2009 with regard to meeting the conditions for supply of fishery products to the EU market. The mission found that most of the recommendations made in a previous mission in 2003 had been implemented. However, the accreditation of the official laboratory had not been completed, there were deficiencies in the monitoring of environmental contaminants, and non-compliant conditions on board vessels producing frozen shrimp. The Commission has asked for guarantees that these issues will be addressed.

18. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO set out its inspection programme for 2010, indicating the intended missions in Member States, applicant countries, and third countries. Missions regarding fishery products are foreseen to Japan, Albania, Chile (for live bivalve molluscs), and to Nigeria, Malaysia, El Salvador, Cape Verde, Algeria, Ecuador, Argentina, Greenland, Canada, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Republic of Korea (for other fishery products). In addition pre-listing missions for fishery products will take place in Sierra Leone, Georgia, and Brunei Darussalam. Missions regarding animal health in aquaculture will be undertaken in United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, Canada, Morocco.

19. The Commission reported that France, supported by UK and Ireland has requested Italy to cease rejection of mixed white and brown crab meat on the basis of Cadmium levels in excess of the limits set for white crab meat. Italy claims the rejections and rapid alert notifications are based on public health grounds. The Commission indicated that it was investigating the possibility of establishing a maximum limit for Cadmium in mixed white/brown crab meat.

20. The Commission passed a Regulation setting out the current zones for which Member States have submitted satisfactory eradication plans for various diseases of aquaculture animals, along with modified zones in Member States which have been declared to be free of specific diseases.


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