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August 2011

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Commission invites public to discuss CFP and conservation in open meeting
2. EU deposits signed IUU Port State Agreement with FAO
3. Commission upgrades website on implementation of IUU Regulation 1005/2008
4. Commission proposes multi-annual plan for management of Baltic salmon
5. Commission amends rules for closure of North Sea and Skaggerak demersal fisheries
6. Stop fishing notices published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota
7. EU & Morocco sign new Protocol to Fisheries Partnership Agreement;
8. Greenland offers 56,364 tonnes of capelin quota to EU
9. DG MARE publishes new edition of "Fisheries and Aquaculture in Europe"

Fish hygiene

10. Rapid alerts notified for 45 consignments of fishery products in August 2011
11. On EFSA advice, Commission reduces limits for PAH in smoked fish
12. Commission amends sampling and analysis criteria for PAH and heavy metals
13. Commission amends hygiene certification for fishery products from freezer vessels
14. Commission publishes list of approved Turkish Cypriot fishing vessels
15. Commission considers new approach to E. coli enumeration in bivalve molluscs

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission has invited the fishery sector, NGOs, national administrations, EU institutions and interested members of the public to participate in a discussion on the status of European fish stocks and on management measures to be undertaken under the reformed CFP. The meeting will take place in Brussels, Belgium, on 8 September 2011 and will be chaired by Lowri Evans, Director General of DG MARE. Registration is online via DG MARE website.

2. The EU confirmed that on 7 July 2011 it deposited with the General-Director of the FAO, its instrument of approval of the "Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing". The Agreement obliges signatory states to apply controls regarding activities of vessels not entitled to fly its flag and share information with relevant States, FAO, other international organizations and regional fisheries management organizations.

3. The European Commission upgraded its website information on the implementation of the EU's IUU Regulation 1005/2008, to include updated handbook, information and technical notes, list of flag state notifications, lists of competent authorities, templates of catch certificates and much more.

4. Following scientific advice indicating that Baltic salmon stocks are outside safe biological limits and at risk of genetic depletion, the European Commission has proposed a multi-annual plan for the sustainable management of this species. This will replace the non-binding management plan established by the International Baltic Sea Fisheries Commission in 1997 which expired in 2010. The plan will phase out the release of salmon in rivers that do not have potential for the re-establishment of self sustaining wild salmon populations, in order to protect the genetic diversity of the wild stocks.

5. The Commission passed a Regulation amending the sampling rules and criteria for the closure of demersal trawl fisheries in the North Sea and Skaggerak, to minimise the catch and discard of juvenile fish.

6. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission in respect of all Member States pelagic freezer trawlers fishing in the Mauritanian Economic Zone, for French vessels fishing for tusk, Spanish vessels fishing for haddock, and saithe, Dutch vessels fishing for hake, cod, skates and rays, French vessels fishing for cod, Portuguese vessels fishing for blue whiting, and anglerfish, and Irish vessels fishing for blue whiting.

7. The EU and Morocco announced that they have successfully concluded negotiation of a new Protocol to their Fisheries Partnership Agreement, following the expiry of the previous Protocol on 27 February 2011. The new Protocol will provide EU vessels with fishing opportunities in Moroccan waters for 119 vessels (longliners, pole and line, small scale vessels and trawl vessels) plus 60,000 tonnes of small pelagic fish to be caught by industrial vessels. The fishing opportunities were allocated to fleet segments from Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Netherlands, UK, Latvia and Ireland. The parties agreed to apply the new Protocol provisionally until it can be formally ratified.

8. Following the decision by Iceland and Greenland to establish a TAC for the shared stock of capelin of 732,000 tonnes in 2011/12, Greenland has indicated that it will allocate 56,364 tonnes of this to the EU in accordance with the share fixed under the Protocol to the EU-Greenland Fisheries Partnership Agreement. The quota can be fished from 20 June 2011 until 30 April 2012. Of this quota, 7,965 tonnes will be transferred to Norway by the EU, under the terms of the bilateral Fisheries Agreement between these parties.

9. The Commission's DG MARE has published the 52nd Edition of "Fisheries and Aquaculture in Europe". It includes items on CFP Reform, sustainable fisheries, the Seafood 2011 marketplace, and the celebration of European Maritime Day in Gdansk, Poland.

Fish hygiene

10. Rapid alerts were notified by the Commission in respect of failure to comply with health conditions for 6 consignments of bivalve molluscs, 6 consignments of cephalopods, 3 consignments of crustaceans, and 30 consignments of fish and fish products, including 4 consignments of mussels and clams from Italy, 3 consignments of frozen squid from New Zealand, 4 consignments of smoked salmon, halibut and mackerel from Poland and 3 consignments of mackerel, anchovy and squid from Morocco.

11. Following an investigation by the EFSA the European Commission has amended the maximum levels for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in foodstuffs as set out in Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006. EFSA concluded that benzo(a)pyrene alone is not a suitable marker for the occurrence of PAH in food and that a combination of four specific polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons would provide the most suitable indicators of carcinogenic PAH. The four selected compounds are benzo(a)pyrene, benz(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene and chrysene. However a separate maximum level for benzo(a)pyrene is maintained to permit continuity of data (although it may be phased out in future). The limits have been reduced to reflect achievable levels in smoked fish (except for smoked sprats which are allowed a higher limit) and in fresh and smoked bivalve molluscs. There is a transitional period of two years to allow adaptation of processing technologies. For smoked fish, the new limit will be 2.0 µg/kg benzo(a)pyrene after September 2014 (down from 5.0 µg/kg at present).

12. Following the amendment of the parameters to be used assessing the level of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in foodstuffs as set out in Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006, the Commission has passed a regulation amending the methods of sampling and analysis to be used for the official control of the new parameters, as set out in Regulation (EC) No 333/2007. The amendment sets the analytical performance criteria for benz(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene and chrysene. New sampling protocols are also specified, and performance criteria are also modified for analysis of lead, cadmium, mercury and inorganic tin.

13. The Commission passed a Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 2074/2005 and revising the procedures for certification of hygiene conditions by the captain of a freezer vessel flagged by a third country, when fishery products are imported directly into the EU. The amendment follows requests from Member States to establish a model form and standard procedure to be followed. The main effect is that the attestation of the captain is brought into line with the attestation made by the Competent Authority of the third country flag state.

14. The Commission published a list of fishing vessels approved for supply to the EU market, which operate from the parts of Cyprus over which the Government does not exercise full control. Fresh fish must be directly landed from fishing vessels on which catches are kept for less than 24 hours, and which have been inspected by independent experts appointed by the Commission to verify that they operate in compliance with the requirements of EU hygiene regulations.

15. Professor Lees, Director of the EU Reference Laboratory for viral and microbiological contamination of live bivalve molluscs in Weymouth, UK gave a short presentation to a meeting of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health held in Brussels on 21 June 2011 (Section: Biological Safety of the Food Chain) on the validation of alternative methods for E. coli enumeration in bivalve molluscs, with a view to modifying the methods of analysis for official control.

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