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October 2011

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Commission threatens Italy over flouting of 2009 driftnet ban
2. EU Member States agree on 2012 Baltic TACs and quotas
3. 2011 fishing quotas adjusted for EU countries over-fishing in 2010
4. Commission proposes 2012 TACs and quotas Atlantic and the North Sea
5. Community Fisheries Control Agency plans published for 2012
6. Italian goby vessels allowed to fish within 3 miles of the coast
7. EU joins South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation
8. SE Atlantic Fisheries Organisation fails to set precautionary TAC for armourhead
9. EU approves Protocol to Fisheries Partnership Agreement São Tomé and Príncipe
10. EU approves revised Protocol to Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Cape Verde
11. EU renews Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Guinea Bissau; includes human rights
12. EU prepares for annual fisheries negotiations with Norway
13. EU funds fisheries data collection plans with EUR15.9 million
14. Commissioner Damanaki visits Norway
15. Commissioner Damanaki gives speech on EU Arctic policy
16. Commissioner Damanaki launches Black Sea Brainstorming
17. Commissioner Damanaki speaks on environmental & fisheries management in the Artic
18. Commission publishes consumer advise on choosing sustainable fish
19. Commission publishes Edition 53 of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Europe
20. Stop fishing notices published for Belgian, Portuguese, French and Spanish vessels.

Fish hygiene

21. Rapid alerts were notified for failure to comply with health conditions for 85 consignments of fishery products
22. RASFF Annual Report published; 8,582 RASFF notifications in 2010
23. EU approves Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers
24. Draft regulation sets out new measures to control dioxin levels in food and feed
25. DG SANCO reports on bivalve mollusc controls in Peru; "well implemented"
26. DG SANCO reports on fishery product controls in Philippines; histamine tests not compliant
27. Belize aquaculture products banned from EU due to lack of residue plan
28. Safeguard measures on fishery products from Gabon to be lifted
29. DG Trade publishes Russian food safety legislation, including fishery products
30. Commission critical of OIE manual on diagnostic tests for aquatic animals
31. Ireland and UK notify outbreaks of parasitic diseases of bivalves
32. Commission updates Member State lists of aquaculture establishments
33. Estonia and Germany declare VHS and IHN free zones

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission called on Italy to take measures and comply with an October 2009 Court of Justice ruling on Italy's continued illegal use of drift-nets, in which it was found that Italy had failed to adequately control and enforce the EU drift-net ban. The Commission threatened Italy with further action in the Court of Justice again, this time asking the imposition of significant financial penalties.

2. The European Commission issued a press release on the agreement by EU member states on the maximum quantities of fish (Total Allowable Catches) and allocations to member states (quotas) from Baltic fish stocks in 2012. Total allowable catches (TACs) for eastern and western Baltic cod will be increased by 15% and 13% respectively. Fishing effort limits for Baltic cod stocks were also defined.

3. The Commission published two regulations adjusting 2011 fishing quotas for EU countries based on levels of over-fishing of certain stocks in 2010.

4. The European Commission has published its specific regulatory proposals for the 2012 TACs and quotas for EU fish stocks in the Atlantic and the North Sea (except those under joint management, or subject to RFMO management).

5. The Community Fisheries Control Agency has adopted its work programme for 2012. This will include joint deployment and control activities regarding cod in the Baltic Sea and in the North Sea and Western Waters; bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean and Eastern Atlantic, pelagic fish in Western Waters and NAFO and NEAFC Regulatory Area. CFCA also elected a new Chairman (Jörgen Holmquist, an economist from Sweden) and adopted its budget for 2012 (EUR9.3 million).

6. The Commission granted a derogation for Italian vessels fishing for goby in the region of Genoa and Livorno, from the requirement not to use towed gears within 3 miles of the coast. The measure is required by the EU Regulation 1967/2006 concerning management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea.

7. The European Union ratified a Convention setting up the new South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO), which, once it enters into force, will govern the fishing activities in the high seas of the South Pacific. The SPRFMO will manage non-highly migratory fish species in the region, including both pelagic and deep sea stocks such as jack mackerel and orange roughy. The EU is the 6th Party to ratify the Convention after Belize, Cook Islands, Republic of Cuba, Kingdom of Denmark in respect of Faroe Islands and New Zealand.

8. The EU participated in the 8th Annual session of the South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO) which adopted a number of conservation measures. No consensus could be reached to set a precautionary TAC for armourhead, but SEAFO adopted a new Port State Measure fully in line with the FAO Port State Control Agreement.

9. Following the ratification by both parties of the new Protocol to the EU- São Tomé and Príncipe Fisheries Partnership Agreement, the Commission announced that the protocol came into force on 29, August 2011.

10. The European Council formally approved a revised Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Cape Verde.

11. The Commission has issued a press release on the renewal of the EU-Guinea Bissau Fisheries Partnership Agreement with a new protocol lasting one year from 16 June 2011. The protocol maintains the conditions of the current one (fishing possibilities for 4,400 gross registered tonnage (GRT) for shrimp trawlers, 4,400 GRT for fin-fish and cephalopod trawlers, 23 tuna seiners and longliners, and 14 pole-and-line vessels). The EU financial compensation amounts to EUR 4,550,000 for the right to fish and EUR 2,950,000 for the support of the fisheries sector in Guinea Bissau. A new clause, in line with CFP reform proposals, was added to allow for the suspension of the protocol if there is a breach of human rights and democratic principles.

12. The Council of Ministers considered the annual fisheries consultations with Norway, which this year will take place from 14 to 18 November 2011 in Brussels with a second round in Bergen, Norway from 28 November to 2 December 2011. The main issues for the consultations this year are management arrangements for seven jointly managed fish stocks, in the North Seas, Skagerrak and Kattegat, review of long-term management plans for cod and herring, exchanges of reciprocal fishing possibilities, including EU fishing opportunities for Arctic cod in Norwegian waters.

13. The Commission has approved the plans of six Member States regarding the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector in 2011. Accordingly it has granted financial support of EUR15.9 million to the Governments of Belgium, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom as a contribution to the eligible expenditures incurred.

14. Commissioner Maria Damanaki, in charge of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, met Norwegian ministers and stakeholders during a two day visit to Norway in mid- October. Discussions were held on integrated maritime management plans, Arctic issues, sustainable fisheries management, discards policy, control issues, and best practices in sustainable aquaculture and coastal planning.

15. Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki also gave a speech on the EU Arctic policy at a conference held by the Arctic Future Symposium in Brussels. She emphasised how the accelerating pace of change in the Arctic region (in terms of climate change impacts, rapid advance of exploitation of resources) demands a timely and appropriate policy response. The Arctic has been on the agenda of EU meetings in USA, Canada, Russia and Norway. She answered criticism that the EU wants more influence on the Arctic by indicating that the EU already influences the Artic in many significant ways, and seeks to ensure that what is done is in line with Arctic needs and objectives, and undertaken on the basis of partnership with other stakeholders.

16. Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki gave a speech at the Black Sea Brainstorming Event, on the need for achieving a real cooperation between the EU and other Black Sea Countries. She emphasised that fisheries and marine environmental planning both need a regional partnership approach. She challenged participants to come up with new ideas to ensure a better dialogue, removal of political barriers to change, and streamlining of funding mechanisms.

17. At the Seminar High North in Oslo, 17 October 2011, Mrs.Damanaki, also gave a speech setting out the urgent environmental and fisheries management issues to be addressed in the Artic region. She emphasised the important partnership of the EU and Norway in addressing them, and called for further efforts for enhanced governance through existing structures.

18. The Commission published an information leaflet for consumers on how to choose more sustainable fish. The message is don't eat less fish, but make sure you choose fish from sustainable fisheries, including which have certification.

19. The Commission has published Edition 53 of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Europe (October 2011). Articles include: Raising consumer awareness; 2012 TACs & quotas; Tightening controls on bluefin tuna and Slow Fish - the sustainable fish fair.

20. Stop fishing were published due to exhaustion of quota by Belgian vessels fishing for common sole, hake, anglerfish, skates and rays, plaice, whiting, megrims and Norway lobster, Portuguese vessels fishing for bigeye tuna, alfonsinos, blue marlin and white marlin, French vessels fishing for blue whiting, Spanish vessels fishing for forkbeards, scabbardfish and blue whiting, roundnose grenadier, and horse mackerel and associated by-catches.

Fish hygiene

21. Rapid alerts were notified for failure to comply with health conditions for 85 consignments of fishery products, including 2 consignments each of mussels from France and Italy, 7 consignments of frozen squid from New Zealand, 7 consignments of smoked salmon from Denmark and 8 consignments of smoked salmon and smoked halibut from Poland.

22. The Commission published the Annual Report 2010 of the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed. This indicates that there were 8,582 RASFF notifications in 2010, an increase of 8% compared to 2009, largely due to rejections of consignments at EU borders in the light of the strengthening of border controls as regards food of non-animal origin, through Regulation (EC) No 669/2009. Amongst fishery products there were 77 alerts for bivalves (15 border rejections), 45 for cephalopods (34 border rejections), 79 for crustacean (31 border rejections), 451 for other fishery products (183 border rejections) and 10 alerts for gastropods (7 border rejections). The Commission indicated that the increase in the number of notifications does not reflect less safe food, but a more effective control system (for example in following up notifications).

23. Following a second-reading and agreement by the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers approved a compromise text of the Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers. The Regulation new provisions will enter into force 20 days after being published in the EU Official Journal, probably by the end of November. Directives 90/496/EEC and 2000/13/EC on the labeling, presentation and advertising of foodstuffs of foodstuffs are repealed. The regulation sets the general principles of food labeling, requires that food (with some exceptions) sold to consumers should be labeled, and that labels and information supplied regarding food should not be misleading. The regulation provides a list of mandatory details to be supplied.

24. The Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health approved the Commission's draft regulation setting out new measures to control dioxin levels in food and feed. This will require that feed businesses processing crude vegetable oils be approved, fats intended for feed and food will need to be strictly segregated from non-food fats during production and transport, an EU harmonised plan for mandatory minimum testing for dioxin will be introduced and testing laboratories will be obliged to notify the competent authorities of dioxin levels in foods in excess of limits. The new Regulation will now be sent to the Parliament for discussion.

25. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to Peru carried out in June 2011, regarding the official control of bivalve molluscs exported to the EU. The mission found that a well implemented control system and monitoring plan are in place. Improvements were noted since the 2009 inspection visit as regards classification of production areas, monitoring of biotoxins, accreditation of laboratories, and analytical methods used. However some shortcomings were noted in relation to classification and the monitoring of live bivalve mollusc production areas. The mission recommended that, providing these omissions are corrected, the control system offers sufficient guarantees that the controls are equivalent to those set out in EU regulations.

26. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to the Philippines carried out in June 2011, regarding the official food safety control of fishery products exported to the EU, and following up from a previous mission in 2006. The mission found that primary production was under control and generally in line with EU requirements. However HACCP plans were found to have deficiencies and there were concerns regarding the reliability of the control of heavy metals and on ready-to-eat foods. No analyses are carried out for Listeria monocytogenes in smoked fish and the analysis of histamine in tuna products used a non-approved and non-validated method and the test methods were not accredited. The Competent Authority, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource, was requested to submit a plan of corrective actions for the consideration of the Commission.

27. The Commission discussed the approval of plans submitted by third countries for the monitoring of residues in accordance with Council Directive 96/23/EC. Belize is currently included in the list for aquaculture and honey but has not provided an updated plan. The Commission therefore decided to remove it from the list of countries allowed to supply these products.

28. The Commission discussed the repeal of safeguard measures imposed on the import of fishery products from Gabon, under Commission Regulation (EC) No 601/2008, which requires compulsory testing of all consignments from this origin imported into the EU. The competent authority of Gabon is now considered to be in a position to conduct appropriate controls and provide sufficient guarantees. A final decision will be made after consultation with Member States.

29. The European Commission DG Trade has published a list (with copies for download in Russian and English) of all the current Russian legislation applicable to food, including Federal laws, sanitary and epidemiologic rules and regulations on food raw material, hygienic requirements for safety and nutritional value of foods. Includes Annex 1.3 on fish and fishery products.

30. The European Commission has published its detailed and extensive comments on the draft OIE manual for standards for diagnostic tests for aquatic animals. The EU has questioned the addition of several diseases previously removed by OIE from the list of diseases of concern. It also criticised the manual for not including some important diseases such as Bacterial Kidney Disease of salmonids. The EU has recommended a second round of consultations between OIE Member States.

31. The Government of Ireland notified the Commission that it has detected Oyster herpes virus -1 µvar (OsHV-1 µvar) detection in one Pacific oyster. The United Kingdom informed the Commission that it has identified a Marteilia refringens outbreak in mussels in Cornwall. The UK Government considers the risk of spread of the parasite to be low but since the UK is declared free of MR and this is the first detection control measures and further surveillance have been introduced.

32. The Commission has published updated links to Member State websites listing all approved aquaculture establishments. Covers Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Finland, United Kingdom and Estonia. Other Member States have not yet complied with the requirement to publish their lists.

33. Estonia and Germany have declared VHS and IHN free compartments in their territory.

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