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August 2013

Common Fisheries Policy

1. EU bans import of herring and mackerel from Faroe Islands
2. Commission reduces fish quotas for Member States guilty of overfishing in 2012
3. Commission proposes 2014 fishing opportunities for Baltic Sea; overall 10% increase
4. Commission amends bluefin tuna controls and benchmarking standards
5. Commission grants EUR16.2 million for fisheries data programmes
6. Commission approves fish landing control plans for Sweden, Belgium, France, and Ireland.
7. EU and Gabon sign new Fisheries Protocol
8. Commission approves transparent goby fishery in Murcia, Spain.
9. Stop fishing notices published for Portuguese and UK vessels
10. Information published on fisheries subsidies by Netherlands and Italy
11. European Market Observatory studies cod market in Lithuania.
12. Commission publishes a multi-lingual glossary of the fish names
13. DG MARE publishes edition No.62 of "Fisheries and Aquaculture in Europe".

Fish hygiene

14. Forty Three Rapid Alerts notified to the Commission for non-compliant fishery products
15. DG SANCO finds major shortcomings in fish disease controls in South Korea
16. Commission continues discussions on date labelling of frozen fishery products
17. Maximum permitted limit of yessotoxins in bivalve molluscs increased
18. Error corrected in health certificates for fishery products from Thailand
19. Sweden detects previously unknown parasite in rainbow trout
20. Spain, France and Germany declare regions free of fish diseases

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Following a unanimous vote of the Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture of the European Parliament, the European Commission adopted a Regulation applying trade measures with regard to the Faroe Islands in response to the unilateral setting of catch quotas in Atlanto-Scandian herring fishery. The measures include the banning of EU imports of herring and mackerel (and their products) caught by Faroe Islands operators in this fishery, and restrictions on the use of EU ports by such vessels. The measures entered into force on Wednesday 28th August 2013.

2. The European Commission passed a regulation applying deductions from 2013 fishing quotas for those Member States whose fish catches exceeded their quotas in 2012. The UK exceeded herring quotas by 199 tonnes, and Spain exceeded hake quotas by 476 tonnes, Ireland exceeded haddock quotas by 457 tonnes, Lithuania exceeded horse mackerel quotas by 606 tonnes, Poland exceed herring quotas by 1907 tonnes and Portugal exceeded redfish quotas by 311 tonnes.

3. The European Commission tabled its proposals for 2014 fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea. The proposals follow scientific advice provided to the Commission. Five stocks will be fished at the level of Maximum sustainable yield. The Commission proposes to decrease by 15% (to 17,037 tonnes) the TAC for western Baltic cod and to increase by 7% (to 65,934 tonnes) the TAC for eastern Baltic cod. The Commission also proposes to increase TACs for stocks of herring in the Central Baltic and Gulf of Bothnia. The proposals are expected to result in an overall increase by 10%, up to 644,000 tonnes in fishing opportunities for EU vessels in the Baltic Sea. The Commission estimates that this would increase the value of fishing opportunities for 2014 by EUR12 million, to a total value of approximately EUR412 million.

4. The Commission amended its bluefin tuna control and inspection programme in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, in order to implement decisions made by the contracting parties to ICCAT in 2011 regarding the multi-annual recovery plan for this species. Amendments were made to the rules regarding catch estimations using stereoscopical camera systems and observer programmes. New benchmarking standards and procedural requirements for Member State officials are also stipulated.

5. The Commission approved financial support for 11 EU Member States for their 2013 programmes of collection, management and use of fisheries data. Programmes were approved for Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Slovenia, Finland and Sweden. In total, these Member States will receive EUR16.2 million of EU funding as a contribution towards expenditure on fisheries data collection of EUR32.4 million. Italy will receive the largest contribution, of EUR4.6 million

6. The European Commission approved fisheries landing control plans submitted by Sweden, and common control programmes submitted by Belgium and France, and Belgium and Ireland. The Decision permits these Member States to estimate weights of fishery products landed from specific fisheries, subject to appropriate sampling and risk-based control regimes and methodologies.

7. On 24 July 2013 the European Union and the Gabonese Republic signed a Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution provided for by the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the parties.

8. The European Commission approved a request by the Government of Spain to allow the fishery of Aphia minuta (transparent goby) with boat seines in the territorial waters of the Autonomous Community of Murcia (Spain). The derogation was granted, subject to technical conditions, for three years in line after advice received from the technical committee (STECF) and Member States.

9. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by Portuguese vessels fishing for megrim, and bluefin tuna, and UK vessels fishing for sandeel.

10. The European Commission published information regarding State Aids provided to its fishery sector by the Government of Netherlands, for operators in the Wadden Sea area who will receive EUR5 million in support of investments in processing and preserving and retail sale of fish, crustaceans and molluscs. It also published information regarding State Aids for fishery operators in the Friuli-Venezia-Giulia area of Italy, who will receive EUR100,000/year in support of investments in equipment.

11. The European Market Observatory for Fishery and Aquaculture products published its June 2013 edition. Apart from the monthly analysis of first sale price trends in different EU Member States, a special feature includes the price structure of the cod market in Lithuania.

12. The European Commission published a multi-lingual glossary of the fish names of species found in the Black sea and Mediterranean. It includes fish names in 23 European languages.

13. DG MARE of the European Commission has the 62nd edition of its magazine "Fisheries and Aquaculture in Europe". This edition features articles on the agreements of Council and parliament on the CFP reform, the Atlantic Strategy Action Plan, Ocean Energy and European Maritime Day.

Fish hygiene

14. Rapid Alerts were notified for failure to comply with health conditions for three consignment of bivalve molluscs, two consignment of cephalopods, seven consignments of crustaceans and 31 consignments of fish and fish products. The alerts included 2 consignments of frozen whiteleg shrimp from Nicaragua, 4 consignments of tuna and 2 consignments of shortfin mako shark from Spain, 2 consignments of spiny dogfish from the USA and 2 consignments of swordfish filets from Vietnam.

15. The Food and Veterinary Office, an agency of DG SANCO of the European Commission published a report of an audit carried out in South Korea in April 2013 concerning the animal health controls for live aquaculture animals and products exported to the European Union (in particular ornamental fish). The mission found that official controls exhibited major shortcomings. In particular, aquaculture diseases were only notified in practice when there were significant mortalities, and measures taken in response to some diseases were not effective in containing or eliminating the outbreak. There was an absence of official controls on movement, no means of isolating affected farms and in some regions, untreated seawater was used for culture of disease susceptible species. Disease surveillance systems were also undermined by deficiencies in the sampling regime. The mission concluded that the animal health controls could not offer guarantees that they were at least equivalent to EU requirements. The Competent Authorities concerned, were requested to submit a plan of corrective actions.

16. The Commission continued its discussions with Member States regarding the proposed changes to the date labelling of frozen fishery products. The proposed amendment changes the meaning of "date of production", from the date of harvesting of the fish or unprocessed fishery products to the date of cutting (filleting). It also clarifies that, in case of double freezing, the first freezing date must be mentioned to provide information on the total age of the frozen product.

17. Following a risk assessment exercise undertaken by the European Food Safety Authority, which showed a limited toxicity, and subsequent decisions by Codex Alimentarius Commission, the European Commission has passed a decision increasing the maximum limit of marine biotoxins of the yessotoxin group in bivalve molluscs to 3.75 milligrams of yessotoxin equivalent per kilogram of edible product.

18. The European Commission passed a regulation correcting a typographical error in the authorised wording of health certificates to be used in the import of fishery products from Thailand.

19. The Commission was notified by Sweden that it has detected a previously unknown parasite in rainbow trout (termed "sarcocystis parasite"). The Commission is setting up a working group to consider whether the disease should be listed as notifiable. Existing general advice to consumers on fish preparation and consumption (cooking and/or freezing) was considered to be adequate to protect public health, but the Swedish Government was requested to remain vigilant.

20. The Commission was notified of declarations by Member States of several regions free of fish diseases. Spain announced a viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) free compartment in Valenciana community. France announced a haemopoietic necrosis (IHN) and viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) free compartment, at pond Moulin de Pierre in Mont-sur-Monnet. Germany announced a haemopoietic necrosis (IHN) and viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) free compartment in der Schweinfe, Gemünden (Wohra).

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