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January 2014

Common Fisheries Policy


1. EU Council and Parliament on the European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF)
2. European Council adopts 2014 TACs and quotas for EU waters
3. European Council passes a regulation for Black Sea TACs and quotas
4. EU reduces adjustment of Portuguese quotas of overfished NAFO redfish
5. Stop fishing notices published for skates and rays and haddock
6. Intense but fruitless consultations on North-East Atlantic mackerel dispute
7. Parties sign Protocol to EU-Seychelles FPA; EUR30.7 million over 6 years
8. Morocco approves EU FPA protocol; start expected February 2014.
9. EU Parliament Development Committee supports EU Côte d'Ivoire FPA
10. EU Mauritania FPA Joint Committee sets out implementation rules
11. EU and Comoros Islands sign FPA Protocol; applies from 1 January 2014.
12. EU Greenland FPA finalised; backdated application from 1 January 2013.
13. DG MARE meets Senegalese fisheries administration: discussions on new FPA
14. DG MARE reminds stakeholders to comment on proposed new de minimis rules
15. UK to subsidise Shetland fishery sector
16. European Council amends Canary Islands autonomous tariff quotas for fish
17. Commission publishes Annual Economic Reports (AER) on fisheries
18. Commission discusses amendments to data collection regulation
19. European Fisheries Control Agency discusses enforcement of CFP landing obligation
20. Commissioner Damanaki speech on blue economy and offshore oil and gas sector
21. Commission to hold workshop on funding under Atlantic Maritime Strategy
22. Commission to hold stakeholder conference on Adriatic and Ionian Region
23. Commissioner Damanaki speaks on "Blue Growth in the Black Sea"
24. Commission supports high level conference Healthy Oceans - Productive Ecosystems
25. New EU fish awareness campaign; Southern Europeans to desist eating juveniles
26. Commission publishes Edition 63 of the Fisheries and Aquaculture in Europe

Fish hygiene

27. During January 2014, the EC notified 49 rapid alerts for fishery products.
28. Commission and Member states discuss cadmium in fish meal and mercury in shark cartilage
29. EU to push for Codex temperature limit on small pelagic fish for fish sauce production
30. EFSA publishes recommendations on adequate intake of iodine
31. Ruminant protein detected in aquaculture feeds; analytical methods questioned
32. Quebec salmonid disease status application delayed by UK questions
33. Finland and Sweden declare new areas free of important aquaculture diseases

Common Fisheries Policy

1. On 28 January 2014 the negotiators representing EU institutions, the EU Council and Parliament provisionally agreed on the financing of the fisheries reform. This paves the way for the finalisation of the regulation on the European maritime and fisheries fund (EMFF) replacing the existing European fisheries fund. The full text will now be prepared, submitted to the Permanent Representatives Committee and Council for approval. The draft text will then be presented to the European Parliament for vote in first reading, and then to Council for adoption. Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki welcomed the agreement.

2. The European Council adopted the regulation providing fishing opportunities in 2014 to EU vessels in Union and certain non-Union waters, based on the political agreement reached at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting on 17 December 2013. The Council and the Commission noted that the fishing opportunities regulations include a number of TACs for stocks for which there is limited information on stock status and which are of low economic importance, or are taken only as by-catches, or which show low levels of quota uptake. In these cases, it was agreed to constrain catches at or below the TAC levels fixed for 2014 for the following four years.

3. The European Council passed a regulation fixing for 2014 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks (turbot and sprat) in the Black Sea. The Regulation brings into legal effect the decision of the EU's fisheries ministers made in November 2013.

4. Due to data transmission error Portuguese catches of redfish in the NAFO region were incorrectly stated in returns to the Commission. On the basis of the corrected data the Portuguese quota for redfish in NAFO was overfished by an amount less than previously considered, requiring an adjustment of the deductions applied to the 2013 quotas for Portugal.

5. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission for Belgian vessels fishing for skates and rays and haddock, and UK vessels fishing for haddock.

6. Coastal State consultations on mackerel in the North-East Atlantic were held in London from 15 to 17 January 2014 and Bergen on 28 to 31 January 2014, in which the EU and Norway sought agreement on the catch shares following the establishment of unilateral quotas by Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The EU and Norway proposed to share the burden of increased catches for Iceland and the Faroe Islands in the ratio of EU 68.65% / Norway 31.35%. Despite relatively small differences in the catch shares proposed, the parties were still not able to reach agreement. The Commission stated that "it is regrettable that Parties were unable to show sufficient flexibility".

7. The EU Council decided to sign the Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Seychelles. The Protocol will apply on a provisional basis from 18 January 2014. EU operators will obtain fishing opportunities for 40 tuna purse seiners and 6 surface longliners. Over a six year period the EU's total financial contribution will be EUR30.7 million. The Council also set out the allocation of the fishing opportunities under the new protocol. Opportunities for tuna purse seiners will be provided to Spain (22 vessels) France (16 vessels) and Italy (2 vessels); and for surface longliners fishing opportunities will be provided to Spain (2 vessels), France (2 vessels) and Portugal (2 vessels).

8. Commissioner Maria Damanaki announced that the new Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) with Morocco was approved by the Moroccan Council of Ministers is being submitted for adoption by the Moroccan Parliament. Following the approval of the EU Council and Parliament at the end of 2013, the expected date for its entry in force is the first week of February 2014.

9. The EU Parliament's Development Committee supported ratification of the EU Côte d'Ivoire Fisheries Partnership Agreement, citing the main benefits derived for the county's development. It does however recommend that there should be more coordination between the development measures financed under the agreement and the country's development agenda (including actions funded under other EU development programmes such as the 11th EDF and the ACP Fish II project).

10. The Commission published the Decision of the Joint Committee under the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Mauritania, setting out the detailed implementation rules for the Protocol. This covers definition of fishing zones, authorised gears, mesh size limits, bycatches and other technical limitations for each of the seven categories of EU vessels provided with access to the Mauritanian EEZ under the Protocol.

11. The European Commission announced that both parties to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Comoros Islands have signed the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and the financial contribution. The Protocol accordingly applies provisionally from 1 January 2014.

12. The European Union finalised its negotiation a new Protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the Government of Denmark and the Government of Greenland, setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution under the Agreement. The protocol is to be provisionally backdated to apply from 1 January 2013, subject to its formal conclusion at a later date.

13. DG MARE of the European Commission announced that it has sent a delegation to Dakar to commence negotiations regarding reactivating the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Senegal. Formal fisheries relations ceased in 2006 with the expiry of the previous protocol. The next discussions will be held in Brussels in March 2014.

14. DG MARE of the European Commission reminded stakeholders that the online public consultation regarding the draft of the new de minimis Regulation on state aid in the fisheries sector will remain open until 21 February 2014.

15. The UK submitted information to the Commission regarding a new subsidy for its fishery sector. A grant of GBP200,000 will be made to Shetland Islands Council for support for the processing and preserving of fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

16. The European Council amended some of the autonomous tariff quotas for imports of certain fishery products into the Canary Islands from 2014 to 2020.

17. The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission published the Annual Economic Reports (AER) on the fishing fleet, aquaculture and fish processing sectors, providing an overview of the structure and economic performance of the EU fisheries sector and highlighting key trends, based on data obtained from the latest DCF data calls, Eurostat and the EU fishing fleet register.

18. The European Commission held a consultation meeting with stakeholders on the future needs for scientific data on fisheries under the new CFP implemented on the 1st January 2014. Proposals were made to improve the data collection and discussions focused on the new needs for data, improving data quality, the simplification of the legislative and administrative framework, improving availability of data for stakeholders, and strengthening regional cooperation between Member States. It is expected that amendments to the data collection regulation will be proposed by the Commission. 19. The European Fisheries Control Agency organised a seminar hosted by Croatia in Dubrovnik on January 15th and 16th 2014, addressing control aspects of the implementation of the discard ban introduced as part of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) package. Representatives from Member States and the European Commission and sector stakeholders from the Advisory Councils and scientific organisations discussed cost effective methods for monitoring and ensuring compliance with the landing obligation, and made technical recommendations regarding compliance tools to be used.

20. Maria Damanaki European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries gave a speech entitled "Blue economy for safe, secure and clear oceans" at the Health Safety and Environment Mediterranean Sea Summit held in Florence, 21 January 2014. In the speech she described the importance of the blue economy for Europe, and discussed the need to work on sustainable solutions for management of the offshore oil and gas industry. She indicated that EU Member States have started the implementation of the EU Offshore Directive, and outlined the potential contribution of the Commission's recent proposal for Maritime Spatial Planning to rationalize space use at sea and along the coasts, which is now being examined by the EU legislators.

21. The European Commission announced that it will host a workshop on how to access and mobilise EU funds to pursue implementation of the Action Plan for a Maritime Strategy in the Atlantic area. The workshop will be held in Brussels on 17 February 2014. Interested participants can register via the DG MARE website.

22. The Commission announced that a stakeholder conference on the EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, will be held in Athens on the 6-7 February 2014. The conference aims to foster exchanges on the solutions which a macro-regional perspective can offer to the challenges of the Adriatic-Ionian Region. It also aims to raise public on the preparations for the new Strategy.

23. Maria Damanaki European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries gave a speech on "Opportunities for Blue Growth in the Black Sea" at the Black Sea Stakeholders' conference - Sustainable Development of the blue economy in the Black Sea held in Brussels, on 30 January 2014. She outlined the huge potential for economic development of the Black Sea, but stressed that this is linked to effective management of the environment and development of improved transport infrastructure. These issues must be tackled collectively and at all levels of governance. She announced the opening of a call for proposals (valued at EUR1.5 million) for research projects and encouraged all the Black Sea countries to apply.

24. The European Commission will supporting the conference Healthy Oceans - Productive Ecosystems (HOPE) dealing with marine environmental issues. It will be held on 3-4 March 2014 in Brussels and will feature presentations by a global range of senior policy makers including EU, UN, etc. The agenda includes an opportunity for conference participants such as NGOs, industry, scientists, local/regional authorities who register in advance to make a pitch to policy makers, presenting concrete examples and proposals of how to make marine activities more sustainable.

25. Commissioner Damanaki launched an EU-wide campaign, "INSEPARABLE", to raise awareness on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, emphasizing the link between Europeans, the sea and its fish, with a focus on the role of fish in diet, and economic activity. The campaign urges Europeans to eat, buy and sell sustainable fish, to diversify their fish choices, and in the case of southern Europeans, to stop eating juvenile fish. The campaign website is at: http://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/inseparable/en

26. The Commission published Edition No.63 of the Fisheries and aquaculture in Europe, with features on the implementation of the EU's IUU fishing regulation 1005/2008, the fishery sector in the EU's newest member, Croatia and the management of Antarctic fisheries through the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

Fish hygiene

27. During January 2014, there were 49 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 14 alerts for bivalve molluscs, 2 alerts for cephalopods, 7 alerts for crustaceans and 26 alerts for other fish and fish products. These included 6 consignments of chilled clams from Tunisia, 4 consignments of clams from Vietnam, and 4 consignments of mako shark, 8 consignments of swordfish and 5 consignments of tuna from Spain.

28. The Commission informed Members States regarding recent RASFF notifications related to the presence of high levels of cadmium in fishmeal from Argentina and mercury in shark cartilage powder from New Zealand.

29. DG SANCO of the European Commission provided its comments on the Proposed Draft Code of Practice for Processing of Fish Sauce, to be discussed at the forthcoming CODEX Committee on Fish and Fishery Products in Bergen in February 2014. The Commission considers that fish intended for fish sauce fermentation should be kept until processing at 4°C or below. The Commission cites scientific evidence that if there are any biogenic amines in fish sauce, they arise from bad manufacturing practice before the fermentation process. The Commission also seeks to maintain the appendices to the Final Product Requirements for Commodities in the Code of Practice for Fish and Fishery Products, to ensure clarity in trade measures applied by different countries. The Commission also made specific comments in relation to proposals for standards for several products such as frozen surimi, frozen minced fish, salted fish, and canned fish.

30. Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies of the European Food Safety Authority published a Draft Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for iodine. The Panel advises that for pregnant women, an intake (AI) of 200µg/day is considered adequate. The study notes that the richest sources of iodine are marine products (such as fish, shellfish and molluscs), eggs and milk.

31. Following the detection of ruminant material in aqua feed in some (un-named) EU Member States (in contravention of a ban on the use of processed animal products in fish feeds), the Commission and the Member States discussed the analytical procedures in place for the detection of the presence of ruminant material in feed for aquaculture animals. The EU Reference Laboratory has launched a survey of the current analytical procedures and is working on the development of new analytical methods, in view of a further relaxation of the feed ban provisions for pig and poultry.

32. The Commission and Member States discussed a draft Commission Implementing Regulation to allow the entry of the Canadian province of Quebec to the list of third countries, territories, zones or compartments from which imports into the Union of fish species susceptible to viral haemorrhagic septicaemia are permitted. However the United Kingdom asked for further information and voting was postponed.

33. The European Commission amended its decision regarding national measures and import restrictions on trade in live aquaculture animals to protect against the transmission of aquatic animal diseases. The changes concern the eradication of two diseases of salmonids (bacterial kidney disease and infectious pancreas necrosis virus) in areas of Finland and Sweden. These countries are now allowed to place restrictions on the supply of aquaculture animals in order to maintain their disease free status.


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