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FISHERIES POLICY AND FISH HYGIENE
TECHNICAL INFORMATION IN FOOD & FISHERIES POLICY & DEVELOPMENT
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Common Fisheries Policy
1. EU re-launches Fisheries Partnership Agreement negotiations with Morocco
2. European Commission threatens Iceland and Faroes with sanctions over mackerel
3. EU Council debates transferable fishing quotas and management regionalisation
4. New bycatch and FAD measures introduced by IOTC
5. EU critical of Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission
6. STECF considers ICES multispecies management model for Baltic fish stocks
7. European Commission stops fishing by EU pelagic vessels in Mauritania
8. Commission extends tariff quotas for tuna from Indian Ocean countries
9. Commission amends EU sandeel quotas for 2012
10. Commissioner Damanaki speaks on innovation in the Mediterranean economy
11. Mrs. Damanaki also expounds on seabed mapping at Hydrographic Conference
12. Commission updates statistical publication "Facts and Figures on the CFP"
13. Commissioner Damanaki visits the European Seafood Exposition
14. Rapid Alerts notified for 41 consignments of fishery products
15. DG SANCO publishes preliminary RASFF report for 2012; fish not in top 10
16. DG SANCO reports on Tunisia; lack of reliable laboratory testing methods
17. DG SANCO reports on Albania; significant improvements but HACCP weak
18. DG SANCO reports on India; no official controls on fishing vessels
19. Following SANCO mission, Chile permitted to supply bivalves etc to EU
20. EFSA deems safe to use preservative potassium diformate in fish fed to animals
21. Commission updates register of EU aquaculture facilities
Common Fisheries Policy
1. The European Commission launched new negotiations with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco with a view to agreeing a revised protocol to the EU Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. In December 2011 the European Parliament did not approve the protocol previously negotiated by the parties due to concerns over sustainability and human rights. Reflecting the importance of the Agreement to the EU, the negotiations were attended by the Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki.
2. European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, met the Norwegian Minister for Fisheries, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen to discuss the sharing of the mackerel stock. They issued a statement indicating that they expect "Iceland and the Faroe Islands to come back to the negotiating table in a responsible manner and to fully respect the sustainability of the mackerel stock". The meeting coincided with the debate in the European Parliament on trade sanctions as an instrument against countries engaged in unsustainable fishing. The Commission threatened that unless there agreement on the mackerel is reached soon, trade sanctions will launched against Iceland and Faroe Islands.
3. The EU's Agricultural and Fisheries Ministers held a public debate on the reform of the common fisheries policy (CFP). The discussion focused on regionalisation and transferable fishing concessions (TFCs) being two specific issues raised by the European Commission in its proposal for a regulation on the CFP. A large majority of member states welcomed regionalisation of fisheries management decision making. Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom set out a joint proposal for the process of management decision making within the framework of regionalisation. However views differed concerning the opportunity to introduce mandatory TFCs in the EU. Most delegations considered that such a scheme should only be established on a voluntary basis to allow an adaptation to the situation of each country. A further orientation debate during the May Council is planned to consider MSY targets and integration of environmental requirements, as well as the issue of the EMFF.
4. The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) held its annual plenary session in Fremantle, Australia. IOTC adopted a number of new measures, including for the protection of by-catch of marine turtles and seabirds, strengthening of its scientific committee and requiring members to prepare management plans for Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). The European Commission participated in the meeting and welcomed the decisions.
5. On behalf of the EU, the European Commission attended the 8th plenary session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) in Guam. The European Commission expressed disappointment that no progress was made in strengthening fisheries management measures for tropical tunas. However the parties did agree on the re-opening of Western High Sees tuna pocket, and a strengthened monitoring system, with observers on all purse seiners, including those fishing only in EEZs.
6. The Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), which delivers fisheries management advice to the European Commission met with ICES in Rostock, Germany to discuss various management issues regarding the Baltic and the North Sea. ICES presented a "multispecies" model for determining catch quotas which accounts for the ecological interactions between the main Baltic fish species (cod, herring and sprat). However it was decided that the model held too many uncertainties to be applied to fisheries management advice at this stage, and regarding the western cod stock, it was advised that no changes be made to the current management plan.
7. The European Commission decided to close the pelagic fishery by EU vessels in the waters of Mauritania, since the annual EU quota set at 252,654 tonnes (set under the terms of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Mauritania) is nearly exhausted. The decision concerns vessels from Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, United Kingdom and Germany. The decision became effective on 24 April 2012.
8. The European Commission decided to extend the derogations on the rules of origin applied to canned tuna and loins imported from Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Kenya. The decision was justified due to the low catches of tuna in the Indian Ocean, due in part to the risk of piracy. The Commission set quotas on non-originating products up the end of 2012, at 3,000 tonnes of preserved tuna and 600 tonnes of tuna loins for Mauritius, 3,000 tonnes of preserved tuna and 600 tonnes of tuna loins for Seychelles and 2,000 tonnes of preserved tuna and 500 tonnes of tuna loins for Madagascar. For Kenya a tariff quota of 2,000 tonnes/year of non-originating tuna loins is established up to the end of 2013. The only non-originating materials to be used for the manufacture of preserved tuna and tuna loins should be tuna of HS Headings 0302 or 0303.
9. Following the receipt of advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) on sandeel in March 2012, the European Commission has amended the annual quota for this species in Management Area 1 during 2012, from 200,000 tonnes to 23,000 tonnes.
10. Mrs.Maria Damanaki European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries gave a speech at the EuroMediterranean Conference on Research and Innovation, held in Barcelona, regarding the role of innovation in bringing sustainable growth to the marine economy of the Mediterranean. Amongst other initiatives she described a tool being developed with EU support to provide a mapping of the Mediterranean sea with topographical, sediments and habitats.
11. Mrs. Damanaki also gave a speech on seabed mapping at the International Hydrographic Conference. The speech explored the need to make it easier for companies to invest in the sea by lowering costs, reducing risks and stimulating innovation. She announced that the Commission will support the extension of the Seabed Mapping Initiative which has already prepared a low resolution map of water depth in most European waters which is available to private companies, public authorities and researchers. Funds will be available for higher resolution mapping and development of new sensors with automatic observations.
12. The European Commission has updated its statistical publication "Facts and Figures on the Common Fisheries Policy - Basic Statistical Data". The publication includes findings of current research efforts in Europe, and covers data provided by Member States during the drafting of mandatory reports, extracts from the EU Fleet Register, and official statistics provided by Eurostat and FAO.
13. Commissioner Damanaki visited the European Seafood Exposition at the Brussels Exhibition Centre on 25 April. During her visit, the Commissioner participated in a public debate "Net gains: How can EU funds support a sustainable seafood supply" with the Alliance for CFP reform held on the European Commission stand.
14. Rapid alerts were notified for failure to comply with health conditions for 41 consignments of fishery products, including two consignments of frozen octopus, from Indonesia, four consignments of carbon monoxide treatment of fish, tuna loins/fillets from Spain, two consignments of undeclared egg in frozen breaded and pre-fried plaice fillet stuffed with spinach and feta, and two consignments of sardines from Morocco.
15. DG SANCO of the European Commission has published its preliminary annual report for 2011 on the RASFF notices issued, which reflect the level of consignments of non-compliant food identified by food safety and border control authorities of EU Member States. There was a record of almost 9,000 alerts published, of which 86 were in relation to bivalve molluscs, 81 in relation to cephalopods, 78 in relation to crustaceans and 491 in relation to fishery products on general. However fishery products did not feature in the top 10 of the number of notifications counted for each combination of hazard/product category/country (the most frequent hazard encountered was aflatoxin in nuts, fruits and vegetable products).
16. The Food and Veterinary Office of the European Commission's DG SANCO reported on an inspection mission to Tunisia in November 2011 to evaluate the controls systems for food safety of bivalves and fishery products. The mission found that there were deficiencies in the controls applied to fishery product processing establishments. Furthermore, lack of reliable test methods, proficiency testing and accreditation means that test results from laboratories undertaking analysis of food safety conditions of bivalves (contaminants and biotoxin monitoring) could not be considered reliable and thus undermined the system of controls. The Competent Authority was recommended to provide Commission services with a plan of corrective actions.
17. The Food and Veterinary Office also reported on an inspection mission to Albania in November 2011 to evaluate the controls systems for food safety of bivalves and fishery products. The mission found that there were significant improvements in the controls since a previous mission in 2007. However, a number of important deficiencies remained, including weak HACCP systems and a lack of traceability in processing establishments. There were also deficiencies in the monitoring of bivalve production areas and shortcomings in the laboratory methods used to assess microbiological and biotoxin contamination of bivalves. The Competent Authority was recommended to provide Commission services with a plan of corrective actions.
18. The Food and Veterinary Office also reported on an inspection mission to India in November 2011 to evaluate the controls systems for food safety of fishery and aquaculture products, following up from a previous mission in 2008 which found numerous shortcomings. The mission found that official controls were still not applied effectively to fishing vessels, landing sites and auction markets, and that there was no testing for PCB and dioxin contents in wild caught fishery products. Testing methods for histamine and heavy metal analyses were found in some cases not to meet EU requirements. The Competent Authority was recommended to provide Commission services with a plan of corrective actions.
19. Further to the FVO inspection mission to Chile in 2010, and subsequent guarantees provided by the Competent Authority, the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health of DG SANCO voted in favour of admitting Chile to the list of third countries from which imports are permitted of live, chilled, frozen or processed bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates and marine gastropods for human consumption. The Commission therefore passed a Decision amending Annex I to Commission Decision 2006/766/EC to authorise imports of these products.
20. The European Food Safety Authority published a risk assessment opinion regarding potassium diformate as a preservative for fish to be used as an animal feed. This indicated that the substance, when used in line with good practices, does not have an adverse effect on animal health, consumer health or the environment, and that it is effective in increasing the storage time of raw fish and fish by-products. Given that there are no safety concerns regarding its appropriate usage the Commission has confirmed the validity if the current regulation authorising its usage in animal feeds. In the case of raw fish to be fed to animals it is subject to a maximum content of 9,000 mg potassium diformate per kg of raw fish.
21. The European Commission announced that it has updated its central register of EU aquaculture production and processing establishments.
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