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July 2011

Common Fisheries Policy


1. Commission publishes the Communication on CFP Reform
2. Commission submits report to EU Parliament on conservation strand of CFP implementation
3. Commission submits formal report to EU Parliament on external strand of CFP
4. Commission publishes proposed new basic EU Fisheries regulation
5. Commission publishes impact assessment of CFP reform
6. Commission publishes draft regulation on market organisation reform
7. Commission publishes impact assessment of market organisation reform
8. EU Council discusses CFP reform; some Member States prefer slower approach
9. Commission announces renewal of EU-Morocco FPA
10. EU and Cape Verde renew Protocol to FPA
11. EU and São Tomé and Príncipe renew FPA Protocol
12. Commission proposes increased anchovy fishing in the Bay of Biscay
13. EU adjusts 2011 quotas to account for failure of EU- Faroe Islands Agreement
14. Commission adjusts 2011 quotas, to account for quota withheld in 2010
15. Stop fishing notice published for Spanish vessels
16. EU extends system of financial support to Member States and fishery organisations
17. Commission grants EUR35.2 million towards the cost of fisheries controls
18. Commission grants EUR 22.6 million towards cost of fisheries data collection
19. Commission updates list of known IUU vessels
20. EU ratifies International Agreement on Port State Measures
21. Evaluation seminar of Community Fisheries Control Agency
22. New Director appointed to Community Fisheries Control Agency

Fish hygiene

23. Rapid alerts notified for 96 consignments of fishery products in July 2011
24. EU Border controls lifted on fishery products from Greenland.
25. DG SANCO reports on The Gambia; smoked fish controls still unsatisfactory
26. EU adopts new food labelling regulation; Commission regrets its limitations
27. EFSA publishes review of food-borne viruses; prevention better than cure
28. EFSA raises concerns regarding "Zesti Smoke Code 10" flavouring
29. Commission lifts BKD movement controls on UK salmonids
30. Commission published Animal Welfare Newsletter No.3

Common Fisheries Policy

1. On 13th July the Commission published its Communication on the Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. The Communication follows on from the 2009 Green Paper, which concluded that the CFP is not fulfilling its objectives. The reform package comprises a new Basic Fisheries regulation, and new market policy regulation, a Communication on the External Dimension (covering FPAs etc) and a report on Council regulation 2371/2002 regarding fleet capacity adjustment and fisheries within territorial waters of Member States. It proposes the target of exploitation of all commercial fish stocks in the EU at the level of maximum sustainable yield by 2015 (which would increase fish catches by 17%). The policy commits to an obligation to land all catches of regulated species, introduction of multi-annual management plans, stronger application of the eco-system approach and the precautionary principle, more clearly defined obligations of Member States with regard to data. A major new approach is the phased introduction of transferable fishing concessions (but only for trawl vessels and vessels >12m and for transfers within Member States). Member States will have to prepare national aquaculture strategic plans. The role of the Regional Advisory Councils will be strengthened in order to devolve fisheries management decisions closer to the actual users of the resources. A new marketing regulation will strengthen the labelling of origin requirement for fish. EU financial support will be reformed to be strictly geared towards CFP objectives and the intervention regime will be revised so that public funds can no longer be used to destroy fish.

2. The Commission also submitted a report to the EU Parliament regarding the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy during the period 2002 to 2010 with regard to conservation, sustainability and adjustment of fishing capacity and in relation to fisheries management in territorial waters of Member States. The Commission clearly blames the Council for lack of sustainability "The very significant gap between the levels of TACs agreed in Council and sustainable catches confirms the prevalence of short-term concerns over long-term sustainability". It also indicates that there are serious concerns about the reported power of fishing vessels, as the data suggest under-declaration, making it extremely difficult to estimate fleet capacity accurately. With regard to inshore fisheries the report declares that the objectives of the current regime appear to remain as valid as they were in 2002 and recommends the retention of the exclusive fishing rights of Member States within the 12 mile limit.

3. The Commission also submitted a formal report to the EU Parliament regarding the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy with regard to the External Dimension. The report states that Fisheries Partnership Agreements should remain the framework for fishing activities of the EU fleet in third-country waters, but they should be based on analysis of cumulative fishing activities in the waters concerned, have a condition the respect for human rights, move towards increased contributions from vessel owners, support better fisheries governance in partner countries and require sound financial management of support funds.

4. In line with its CFP reform recommendations the Commission published proposals for a revision of the current Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 of 20 December 2002 on the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources under the Common Fisheries Policy, to replacing it on 1 January 2013 by a new CFP regulation. The proposal seeks to provide for multi-annual plans for fisheries management, prohibition of discarding of species under management, integrate the ecosystem approach and environmental policies under the CFP, provide for regionalisation of management measures on a sea-basin approach, strengthen data collection and scientific advice, further promote the development of aquaculture, and establish a new financial instrument by 2014 and incorporate the recently adopted new control regime in the CFP.

5. The Commission published an impact assessment of the proposed regulation revising the Common Fisheries Policy., which assesses the impacts of four scenarios: Status Quo (the continuation of the current CFP (but including the new control and IUU regulations); Option 1 (environmental sustainability within a flexible time horizon, balancing environmental, economic and social sustainability factors, principally by capping the yearly reduction of TACs at 25%), Option 2 (a radical option, achieving environmental sustainability by 2015), Option 3 (achieving environmental sustainability within a time framework consistent with the minimisation of negative social impacts, by capping the yearly reduction of TACs at 15%). Options 1 to 3 adopt the individually transferable fishing rights as the tools against overcapacity. Option 4 considers achieving environmental sustainability within a flexible time horizon in order to strike the best feasible balance between environmental, economic and social sustainability but without EU-led individually transferable fishing rights. In the analysis of impacts it was found that, regarding environmental sustainability, no option results in 100% of stocks at maximum sustainable yield level by 2020, but all are significantly better than the status quo. Option 1 is considered to provide the optimal economic impacts, and better incomes (although lower employment), and is therefore the recommended option (along with a sub-option to focus scientific research on the most sensitive species).

6. The Commission also published proposals for a revision of the market organisation of the Common Fisheries Policy. The draft regulation seeks to ensure that market premiums are obtained for sustainable practices and to reduce volatility in prices due to fragmented and weak supply side management. The new approach therefore further empowers Producer Organisations for the co-management of access rights, and support partnerships of fishers for sustainable production, sourcing, and consumption, including support for promotion, certification (ie.eco-labels), as well as improved information to consumers.

7. The Commission published an impact assessment of the proposed regulation revising the market organisation of the Common Fisheries Policy. This assesses the impacts of four scenarios: Status quo (current framework of withdrawals and other interventions), adjusted policy (a single storage aid), enhanced policy (single storage aid, plus increased support for Producer Organisations), and deregulation (no market interventions or support). The study assesses the economic, environmental, social and governance impacts of each scenario, and concludes that only the enhanced policy option reinforces market incentives to support sustainable production practices.

8. Mrs.Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, gave a presentation to the European Council of Fisheries Ministers on the rationale for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, and the Commission's proposals, made to the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee. The Council held a public exchange of views on Commission proposals for the reform of the common fisheries policy (CFP). The Member States welcome the general approach proposed by the Commission and praise the proposed objective of maximum sustainable yield (MSY). However several member states think that reaching the objective by 2015 will result in excessively negative socio-economic impacts and would prefer a more gradual approach.

9. The Commission announced that a new protocol to their Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) will be signed by the EU and Morocco, setting out the fishing opportunities and financial compensation to be provided. This follows from the submission by Moroccan authorities of "relevant information" in December 2010 to show that the population of the West Sahara region has benefited from the FPA under the past Protocols. The new Protocol will require that Morocco submits a report on the planning of the sectoral support provided, in particular including its anticipated economic and social impact and its geographical extent.

10. The EU and Cape Verde have signed a new protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the parties, to be applied on a provisional basis as from 1 September 2011. The EU will provide compensation of EUR 325,000/year in respect of reference tonnage of 5,000 tonnes, plus an annual allocation of EUR 110,000/year in support of the implementation of the sectoral fisheries policy of Cape Verde. A Council Regulation allocated the fishing opportunities under the new Protocol to tuna seiners (Spain 16 vessels and France 12 vessels), surface longliners (Spain 26 vessels and Portugal 9 vessels) and pole-and-line tuna vessels (Spain 7 vessels and France 4 vessels).

11. The EU and São Tomé and Príncipe signed a new Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the parties, which has been applied on a provisional basis since it was initialled on 15 July 2010.

12. The European Commission proposed increased fishing opportunities for anchovy fishing in the Bay of Biscay for the season July 2011 - June 2012, following scientific advice confirming that the stock is in a good state and above safe biological limits. The proposed total allowable catch (TAC) is 29 700 tonnes to be caught by Spain and France.

13. The EU Council passed Regulation adjusting certain 2011 quotas to account for i) failure of the EU and Faroe Islands to reach agreement on an exchange of quotas for 2011 (thus releasing EU quota for Member States); ii) the conclusion of the Agreement on Redfish in the Irminger Sea and adjacent areas and iii) changes to management regimes for swordfish in the Pacific, and Norway lobster from the Porcupine Bank.

14. The Commission has adjusted a number of 2011 quotas, to account for requests in 2010 by certain EU member States to withhold the allocation of 10% of that year's quotas.

15. Stop fishing notice were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by Spanish vessels fishing for tusk and black scabbardfish.

16. The EU has amended the system of financial support to Member States for the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy to allow financial support for Regional Advisory Councils, European Trade Associations, and to cover the costs of extended socioeconomic and scientific data collection responsibilities of Member States.

17. Following the submission of Fisheries Control Programmes by the EU Member States to the Commission, the EU has granted a total of EUR35.2 million towards the cost (total EUR 136.2 million) of their implementation. This year, higher rates of co-financing have been granted for investments in control systems for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, expenditure related to electronic recording and reporting systems, vessel monitoring systems (VMS), and traceability.

18. Following the submission of programmes for the collection and management of fisheries sector data by the certain EU Member States to the Commission, the EU has granted a total of EUR 22.6 million towards their cost (total EUR 45.2 million) of EU Member State programmes.

19. The Commission has amended and updated its list of vessels known to be engaged in IUU fishing, and which are denied rights to land or market products in the EU. Mongolia is a new entrant on the list of flags of convenience.

20. The European Council passed a Decision, ratifying, on behalf of the EU, the International Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.

21. The Community Fisheries Control Agency in Vigo organised its third annual seminar to evaluate its operational activities, attended by c.40 representatives of EU Member States. The event assessed the impact of he joint deployment plans and identified ways to improve effectives in future.

22. At the same time, the Administrative Board of the Agency announced the appointment of Mr Pascal Savouret as the new Executive Director, replacing Mr.Harm Koster.

Fish hygiene

23. Rapid alerts were notified by the Commission in respect of failure to comply with health conditions for 11 consignments of bivalve molluscs, 11 consignments of cephalopods, 9 consignments of crustaceans, and 65 consignments of fish and fish products, including 7 consignments of scallops or scallop meat from the USA, 7 consignments of squid from New Zealand, 3 consignments of shrimp from Tunisia, 10 consignments of hake and swordfish from Spain and 6 consignments from Morocco including sardine and chilled fish.

24. The European Council passed a Decision setting out the new rules and procedures for sanitary controls on fishery products entering the EU from Greenland. Denmark and Greenland have guaranteed that sanitary and veterinary checks on fishery products transferred between the EU and Greenland are conducted in accordance with the rules on such controls applicable to trade within the Union. As a result Greenland is considered to apply all of the relevant legal acts and Member States may no longer to apply border controls on fishery products from Greenland.

25. Report on a mission by the Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO to The Gambia in March 2011, with regard to sanitary conditions for fishery products exported to the EU and to follow up on a previous mission in 2010. The mission found that the competent authority had undertaken improvements in the control system. Inspection reports are now comprehensive and based on checklists, and legislation has been updated and is in line with EU requirements. Two establishments previously with severe non-compliances have corrected them. However, controls on the exports of smoked fish were still found to be unsatisfactory, and there was insufficient capacity of laboratory testing did not cover all of the relevant food safety parameters required.

26. The EU adopted a new regulation on information to be provided regarding food sold to consumers. The Regulation combines Directive 2000/13/EC on the labelling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs and Directive 90/496/EEC on nutrition labelling for foodstuffs into one instrument. The main changes in relation to the previous labelling regulation cover requirements in relation to substances that cause allergies or intolerances, such as peanuts or milk, (including those sold in restaurants and cafés), provision of nutrition information in processed foods (except alcoholic beverages). Pre-packed meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry will need to shown the origin, and consumers wishing to buy their foods via the Internet, or other means of distance selling, must be provided with food information before making their purchase. The Commission issued a press release, which whilst welcoming the passage of the new food information regulation, regretted that it did not require nutrition labelling on the front of packages, and excluded alcoholic beverages from the ingredient and nutrition labelling requirements

27. EFSA published a review by the Scientific Panel on Biological Hazards of the latest scientific knowledge on food-borne viruses, providing advice on possible measures to control and prevent their spread in the EU. EFSA reports that in 2009, viral infections were responsible for over 1000 outbreaks of food poisoning in the EU (19% of the total) affecting more than 8700 citizens. The assessment recommends among others that mitigating measures should focus on the prevention of contamination rather than removing the virus from contaminated food.

28. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) updated its opinion on the safety of two smoke flavourings following the evaluation of new toxicity data. At the proposed use and usage levels, the smoke flavouring "Fumokomp" is not of safety concern. However, new data on "Zesti Smoke Code 10" suggests an insufficient margin of safety and its continued use therefore raises concerns regarding safety.

29. The Commission has amended the controls to be applied by Member States for the control of the bacterial kidney disease of salmonids and ostreid herpesvirus, respectively in the UK and Guernsey. Movement controls on transfer of salmonids in the UK have been lifted, and new controls are imposed on movement of oysters in Guernsey.

30. The Commission published Animal Welfare Newsletter No.3, containing articles on the Declaration to end the surgical castration of pigs, the 5th Pan Commonwealth Veterinary Conference "The Role of Veterinarians and Livestock Farmers in Food Security and Poverty Alleviation", 21-25 March, Accra, Ghana, and the Welfare of Working Animals


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