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November 2014

Common Fisheries Policy

1. EU Ministers agree TACs and quotas for deepsea stocks in 2015 and 2016
2. Commissioner Vella, for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries takes office
3. Director General of DG MARE indicates priorities for Mediterranean fisheries
4. New import duties on Turkish rainbow trout due to unlawful subsidies
5. Stop fishing notices published by the Commission for numerous fleet segments
6. ICCAT increases TACs for Eastern and Mediterranean Bluefin tuna by 20%
7. EU, Faroe Islands and Norway agree on sharing NE Atlantic mackerel fisheries in 2015
8. Parties to North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) agree on 2015 TACs
9. Commission disappointed that CCAMLR does not adopt proposed Marine Protected Areas
10. Migratory Species Convention lists European Eel and shark, ray and sawfish species
11. EU and Senegal sign new five-year Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement
12. EU and Guinea-Bissau signed a new three-year fisheries Protocol
13. Commission announces improved fisheries controls by Government of Latvia
14. Guidelines published for submission of comments on fishery and aquaculture state aids
15. Commission publishes European Maritime and Fisheries Fund legal texts
16. EU adopts new regulation on invasive alien species
17. Joint Research Centre launches pilot test of new anti-piracy risk management system
18. NAFO invites applications for a three month internship
19. DG MARE calls for proposals for grant financing for “Guardians of the Sea”
20. Commission publishes official names of EU fishing areas to meet new labelling rules

Fish hygiene

21. Commission keeps residue safeguard measures on shrimps imported from Myanmar
22. Moldova authorised to supply caviar to the EU
23. EU to maintain import restrictions on bivalve molluscs from Turkey
24. European Commission authorises Inositol as a nutritional additive in fish feeds
25. Commission reminds Member States to follow rules on salmon disease certification
26. Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain declare disease free compartments
27. Slovenia starts monitoring for a disease free zone
28. European Reference Laboratory for Feed Additives celebrates 10 years of work for the EU

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Agriculture and Fisheries Minister from EU Member States held a Council meeting in Brussels, at which they reached political agreement on fishing opportunities for 2015 and 2016 for deepsea stocks, taking into account available scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and maximum sustainable yield (MSY). The decision concerns 22 stocks including deep sea sharks, black scabbardfish, roundnose grenadier, roughhead grenadier, alfonsinos, red seabream and greater forkbeard. Following the political agreement last month, the EU published Council Regulation setting the 2015 TACs and quotas for the Baltic Sea.

2. Mr. Karmenu Vella was confirmed as the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and took his office, following the nomination to the portfolio by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. His mission will focus on sustainable jobs, growth (both green and blue), investment and competitiveness. The fisheries package will address implementing the Common Fisheries Policy reforms and shaping international ocean governance.

3. Lowri Evans Director General of DG MARE gave a speech at the “Blue Day” opening session on engendering economic growth in the maritime economy, with a focus on the Mediterranean region. She emphasised the need for establishing the right balance between the economic imperative and the environment, which underpins the logic of combining DG MARE and DG Environment in the new Commission. She emphasised the important roles of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive as essential tools in the process. She also set out a priority for strengthened fisheries management in the Mediterranean, where the EU shares a large number of stocks and fishing areas with third countries. She called for strengthening the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, to allow it to set up proper management plans for the stocks, and coordinate action against illegal and unregulated fishing.

4. Following the investigation of a complaint by the Danish Aquaculture Association the Commission found that the Turkish rainbow trout are being subject to unlawful subsidies, causing financial injury to the EU producers. It has passed a regulation provisionally imposing a countervailing duty (of between 7 and 10% depending on the supplier) on the import into the EU from Turkey of fresh, chilled, frozen and/or smoked rainbow trout of less than 1.2kg live weight.

5. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by UK vessels fishing for skates and rays, by Irish vessels fishing for common cod and sole, Swedish vessels fishing for cod and saithe, Belgian vessels fishing for skates and rays and common sole, Dutch vessels fishing for skates and rays and haddock, herring, Spanish vessels fishing for black scabbardfish, UK vessels fishing for skates and rays, all EU vessels fishing for cod in NAFO area 3M and Danish vessels fishing for Northern prawn in Greenland waters.

6. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) decided to increase the quota for Eastern and Mediterranean Bluefin tuna by just under 20% a year over the next three years (subject to annual review), in line with scientific advice. Western Bluefin tuna quota will be increased by 14%for the next two years. The measures were welcomed by the Commission.

7. The EU, the Faroe Islands and Norway reached agreement on 21 November on sharing NE Atlantic mackerel fisheries for 2015, this implementing the five-year arrangement between the Parties for mackerel for the period 2014 to 2018 reached in London on 12 March. Although ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) was unable to deliver scientific advice, the Parties agreed to base the 2015 TAC of 1,054,000 tonnes on the precautionary reference points.

8. The European Commission attended the 33rd Annual Meeting of the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) held in London. The parties agreed on management measures for redfish in the Irminger Sea; Rockall haddock; deep-sea species; blue ling South of Iceland; roundnose grenadier; roughead grenadier; various shark species and a number of deep sea species. Management measures for pelagic fish stocks (blue whiting, herring and mackerel) will be set by a postal procedure following further consultations.

9. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) held its 33rd Annual Meeting in Hobart, Australia. Proposals advance by the EU, Australia and France, New Zealand and the United States to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were not adopted. Total Allowable Catches were set for toothfish and krill in line with scientific advice and the CCAMLR strengthened its compliance review procedure. A pilot project on satellite surveillance for IUU fishing was launched and new multinational research fisheries plans were approved.

10. The European Commission attended the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) held in Quito, Ecuador. The Parties agreed to list the European Eel in Appendix (obligation for strict protection) and a range of shark, ray and sawfish species (including three thresher shark species) in Appendix II (requirements to coordinate internationally to improving the species' conservation status.)

11. Following a final round of negotiations and after eight year hiatus, the EU and Senegal signed a new five-year Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement. The agreement will allow up to 38 EU boats to fish in Senegalese waters in return for a EUR8.69m over the course of the Agreement. The EU will include provision for EUR750,000 a year to support the implementation of the Senegalese fisheries policy, in particular for improving surveillance, combatting illegal fishing, and promoting scientific cooperation. Conservation and rehabilitation of spawning areas and vulnerable ecosystems will also be supported.

12. Following the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau, the EU and Guinea-Bissau subsequently signed a new three-year fisheries Protocol under the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement. Up to 40 EU vessels from Spain, Portugal, France, Greece and Italy, will now be able to resume fishing in Guinea Bissau waters following a two year interruption. The EU will provide a financial contribution of EUR9.2 million a year, including EUR3 million a year to support the development of the national fisheries sector by strengthening Guinea-Bissau's monitoring, control and surveillance capacity, encouraging scientific cooperation, improving sanitary controls and offering support to artisanal fisheries. The EU Council subsequently approved the allocation of fishing opportunities under the EU-Guinea Bissau Fisheries Partnership Agreement. Access with be provided for freezer, fin-fish and cephalopod trawlers from Spain, Greece and Italy, 30 freezer tuna seiners and longliners from Spain, Portugal and France and 12 pole-and-line tuna vessels from Spain and France.

13. The Commission announced that, following assessments by the European Fisheries Control Agency, and subsequent agreement on an action plan to improve fisheries controls in line with the EUs Common Fisheries Policy, the Government of Latvia has significantly improved performance in this area. Measures taken include appointment of 12 new inspectors, regular training for inspectors, new vehicles and a new vessel for marine inspectors, introduction of a new IT system (Latvian Fisheries Integrated Control and Information System) and adoption of a risk assessment framework.

14. The Commission published guidelines for the submission of contributions to the examination of state aid to the fishery and aquaculture sector, for which stakeholder views may be submitted until the 20th January 2015. Public authorities, citizens, companies, and organisations concerned with state aid are welcome to submit contributions.

15. The Commission published Volume 1 of a compilation of legal texts related to the implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

16. The EU adopted a new regulation concerning preventing the entry and spread of invasive alien species. The regulation provides for an EU list of species of concern, subject to risk assessment. Permits may be issued by the Commission for introduction of species on the list for the purposes of research on, or ex-situ conservation.

17. The Commission’s Joint Research Centre launched a pilot test of the Piracy, Maritime Awareness and Risks (PMAR) system, software which provides a live picture of ship traffic activity, indicating current ship positions on a digital map. The system is being tested in two maritime operational centres in Kenya and the Seychelles to help fight piracy and improve maritime security. The system can also be used also to combat illegal fishing or immigration.

18. The NAFO Secretariat is inviting applications for a three month internship during 2015. The program is available to students, post graduates or early career individuals from NAFO member countries and provides an opportunity to improve their skills, enhance their experience and learn about NAFO and its activities. Interns will work at the NAFO Secretariat in Dartmouth, Canada.

19. The Commission’s DG MARE issued a call for proposals for grant financing under the theme “Guardians of the Sea”. Projects should address alternative uses of fishing vessels, sea cleaning, and alternative livelihoods for fishermen. The deadline for submissions is 9th January 2015.

20. In view of the imminent application of the new rules on consumer information for fisheries and aquaculture products, the Commission published the names of sub-areas and divisions for FAO fishing areas 27 (North-East Atlantic) and 37 (Mediterranean and Black Sea) in all EU official languages. This new reference document was compiled in consultation with Member States.

Fish hygiene

21. The Commission informed Member States that is has suspended the lifting of safeguard measures with regard to nitrofuran and chloramphenicol residues in shrimps imported from Myanmar, due to the detection of a consignment entering the UK contaminated with these banned substances. The requirements for additional testing on entry will remain in place.

22. The Commission informed the Member States that following an FVO mission to the country, it recommends that Moldova be added to the list of third countries and territories from which imports of certain fishery products for human consumption are permitted. The authorisation will apply to caviar only.

23. The Commission and Member States discussed the safeguard measures on imports of bivalve molluscs from Turkey intended for human consumption. Due to the elevated risk of microbiological hazards these are currently subject to an import ban on live and chilled products, and reinforced checks at EU borders on frozen and processed bivalve molluscs. Although Germany proposed a complete ban, it was decided to retain the current measures for a further year.

24. The European Commission authorised the use of Inositol as a nutritional additive in feeds for fish and crustaceans. The authorisation follows a recent study by the European Food Safety Authority which concluded that the of inositol in animal fees does not have an adverse effect on animal health, human health or the environment and that it is an effective source of essential micronutrients for fish and crustaceans.

25. The Commission informed Member States that even though, except for Croatia, all EU Member States are free of infectious salmon anaemia (ISA), they are still required to follow the requirements concerning animal health certification for freedom of ISA as regards consignments of aquatic animals intended for movements within the European Union. The informal procedures introduced following the discussions between the Commission and the Member States should be terminated.

26. Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain declared a number of compartments free of Infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN), Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) and Koi herpesvirus disease (KHV).

27. Slovenia submitted a declaration to the Commission that it was initiating a two-year surveillance programme for Infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) and Viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) in one compartment, with a view to declaring a disease free zone in future.

28. The European Reference Laboratory for Feed Additives (EURL-FA) managed by the Commission’s Joint Research Centre, celebrated 10 years of scientific and technical support to the EU legislation on feed additives. The main tasks performed are to support the authorisation procedure of feed additives that are used in the European Union and provide quality assurance for the analysis of feed additives through the organisation of proficiency tests (PTs).

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