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May 2010

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Commissioner's speech to European Parliament indicates direction of CFP Reform
2. European Parliament raises doubts on legal aspects of EU-Norway fisheries agreement
3. European Council considers adoption of international standards for fish workers
4. Joint control plan for bluefin tuna for 2010 launched by EU's Fisheries Control Agency.
5. EU allocates entire 2010 quota of Greenland capelin to Iceland
6. Commission announces timetable for quota discussions; expects tough negotiations
7. Reference levels for fleet capacity in Guyana and Martinique revised
8. Council recognises Icelandic catch certificates as meeting IUU Regulation requirements
9. Commission establishes an EU list of vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
10. Commission launches European Atlas of the Seas; asks for feedback

Fish hygiene

11. Fifty seven rapid alerts notified in May 2010 for non-compliant fishery products.
12. Commission comments on OIE draft Aquatic Animal Health Standards
13. Commission publishes explanation on new controls for oyster viral disease
14. FVO report on mission to Serbia; only minor shortcomings in fishery product controls
15. FVO report on mission to Thailand; shortcomings in animal health controls for live fish

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, gave a keynote speech on the "Priorities for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries" to the European Parliament Fisheries Committee. She provided some early indications of the likely reforms to the CFP, arsing from discussions with EU fisheries ministers and stakeholders held in La Coruña, Spain on 2nd and 3rd May, and the content of the subsequent Informal Council of Fisheries Ministers organised by the Spanish Presidency in Vigo. There is general agreement that fisheries management decision-making needs to be revised, bringing decisions closer to those affected, with strong support for regionalisation on the basis of ocean basins. Options for regionalisation will therefore be developed by the Commission. The Commissioner also discussed the possible adoption of individual transferable rights in the EU fishing sector. Although Iceland is regarded as a negative example, several EC Member States have successfully applied the concept at the national level and support its extension. However others have voiced doubts about an EU-wide transferability, and wish to avoid an EU-wide system and maintain relative stability. The Commissioner appears to support this position, and argues for the introduction of tradeable fishing rights on a national level, with opt-outs for small scale fisheries. On Fisheries Partnership Agreements, Council agrees that there is a need to find a new balance for funding, with a stronger EU budget component for development, to contribute to partner country's fisheries governance and support for local fisheries economy. There is support for new political clauses covering notably democracy, human rights and social aspects.

2. In the same speech, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries indicated that the European Parliament legal service has raised doubts regarding the EU-Norway fisheries agreement and Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and quotas regulations. The Commission proposed that legal experts from the three Institutions seek to clarify the position.

3. The European Council considered the International Labour Organisation (ILO) "Work in Fishing Convention 2007 ("convention 188"), which aims to improve the working conditions of fishers on board fishing vessels. The Council proposed to authorise EU member states to ratify the convention, which establishes minimum international standards for the fishing sector, such as the conditions of service, the right of repatriation, rules on accommodation and food, occupational health and safety, medical care and social security.

4. The Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA) announced the commencement of the Joint Deployment Plan (JDP) for the control of the bluefin tuna fishery in the Mediterranean Sea and the Eastern Atlantic waters for 2010. Under the plan Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain pool their control means under the coordination of the CFCA.

5. The Commission passed a regulation allocating the entire 2010 capelin EU allocation in Greenland waters to Iceland (11,550 tonnes).

6. The European Commission has announced the timetable for decisions on fishing opportunities in EU waters in 2011. An early start is proposed, for what are anticipated to be tougher negotiations than usual.

7. The Council passed a Regulation amending the reference levels for the fleet capacity (for vessels<12m) in the French Outermost regions of Guyana and Martinique, following a previous underestimation of the number and capacity of vessels.

8. The Council amended the catch certification requirements applicable to Iceland in compliance with Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. In future, Icelandic catch certificates issued to Icelandic vessels (in respect of catches recorded electronically) will be considered to meet the requirements.

9. The Commission passed a Regulation establishing an EU list of vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The list names 85 vessels, whose activities in relation to EU ports and supplies to the EU market are now restricted. The list is based on IUU vessels identified by regional fisheries organisation, but until now does not include any vessels identified by the Commission.

10. The Commission launched the pilot version of the European Atlas of the Seas (an interactive web-based database on European fisheries available at . The Atlas presents an array of information on EU maritime subjects and areas, such as: the volume of passengers and cargo carried to and from various destinations, the areas most affected by coastal erosion, or which Member States fish for a certain species in which sea basin. Information on sea depths and undersea relief names, rivers and their drainage basins, tide amplitude, sea level rise, and marine protected areas are also be found. The atlas is available in English, French and German. The Commission published a FAQ sheet on the Atlas of the Seas, and is soliciting feedback from stakeholders.

Fish hygiene

11. Rapid alerts were notified for failure to comply with health conditions in respect of 4 consignments of bivalve molluscs; 1 consignment of cephalopods; 8 consignments of crustaceans; and 44 consignments fish and products, this latter group including; two consignments of Pangasius from Vietnam, chilled skin-on tuna loins from Ecuador, frozen mackerel from Mauritius, and frozen monkfish wings from South Africa.

12. The Commission published its comments on the OIE draft "Aquatic Animal Health Code" published by OIE (the UN's World Organisation for Animal Health) in February 2010. This Code proposes substantive technical standards regarding fish health and welfare. When adopted the measures will provide a basis for regulation of international trade in aquatic species on grounds of animal health criteria.

13. The European Commission published an explanatory note regarding the extension of controls for the containment of the oyster viral disease Ostreid herpesvirus (OsHV-1 µvar), outbreaks of which appear to have been the cause of mortalities in Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas) in European waters in recent years. Given great uncertainties as regards the emerging disease, the Commission has adopted a precautionary approach and is monitoring the situation closely.

14. The Food and Veterinary Office reported on a mission in Serbia carried out in February 2010, following Serbia's request in October 2009 to be EU listed for export of fishery products. The report concludes that the Serbian competent authority is in a position to guarantee the public health requirements as laid down in EC food safety regulations. However some minor shortcomings were identified, including legal limits for heavy metals which did not match Community requirements and lack of assessment of freshness indicators. The Competent Authority was recommended to address these in an action plan to be submitted to the Commission.

15. The Food and Veterinary Office reported on a mission to Thailand to evaluate the implementation of the animal health requirements laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1251/2008. Currently Thailand exports ornamental aquaculture animals, but does not export live fish intended for human consumption. The mission found that the Thai Competent Authority have a control and certification system in place that can in general be regarded as equivalent to the EU standards. However the mission doubted the efficacy of the system of declaring certain areas as free from a disease due to the limited monitoring. The mission also raised concerns regarding the movement controls, record keeping at farm and disease surveillance. However overall it concluded that the export of live aquaculture animals from Thailand to the EU does not constitute a major animal health threat to the EU, due to the general favourable animal health situation and the kind of animals exported to the EU. The report addresses a number of recommendations to the competent authority aimed at rectifying the identified shortcomings.

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