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February 2015

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Sri Lanka named as a non-cooperating third country for IUU fishing
2. “Yellow cards” extended for Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Ghana
3. Progress on "omnibus regulation" on implementation of landing obligation
4. New rules passed governing Regional Advisory Councils
5. Commission launches public consultation on North Sea demersal fisheries
6. Commission limits fishing effort restrictions in Baltic Sea
7. Commission publishes summary of EU fisheries management
8. STEFC publishes annual report on EU Fish Processing Industry
9. Dutch vessels to stop fishing for skates and rays
10. South Pacific RFMO adopts measures for jack mackerel
11. Commission publishes study on jack mackerel stock
12. Commission extends agreements with Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé and Príncipe
13. Commission publishes evaluation of EU Kiribati Fisheries Partnership
14. Commission publishes study on potential Fisheries Agreement with Kenya
15. EU extends access to Seychelles vessels to EU waters around Mayotte
16. European Market Observatory reports on tuna imports
17. Latvian lamprey gets protected designation of origin
18. Commission confirms finding of illegal subsidies on imports of Turkish trout
19. Commission publishes ports authorised for the landings third country vessels
20. Commission supports conference “Sailing towards 2020"
21. EU AQUAEXCEL project integrates aquaculture research infrastructures
22. Commissioner Vella visits Morocco; discusses EU fisheries access

Fish hygiene

23. During February 2015: 28 rapid alert notifications for fishery products
24. DG SANTÉ finds deficiencies in Nambian bivalve molluscs controls
25. DG SANTÉ finds deficiencies in Vietnamese bivalve molluscs controls
26. Commission publishes list areas free from aquatic animals diseases
27. DG SANTÉ celebrates 10 years of TRACES certificate tracking system

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The Commission passed an implementing regulation amending the list of non-cooperating third countries concerning the implementation of the EUs controls over illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The regulation names Sri Lanka as a non-cooperating third country since it has failed to discharge its duties under international law as flag State to take action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing. Fishery products from marine capture fisheries from Sri Lanka are therefore excluded from the EU market as from 26th January 2015.

2. The European Commission announced that it has granted six month extensions to the so called “yellow cards”, naming Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Ghana as potentially non-cooperating third countries. The extension provides these countries with an opportunity to complete the action plans agreed with the Commission which should lead to the eradication of illegal fishing in their countries. European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: "I am pleased that the Philippines and Papua New Guinea have taken their warnings seriously, and that Ghana continues to cooperate closely with the Commission".

3. The Permanent Representatives Committee of the European Union - Coreper - approved the final compromise text on the implementation of the landing obligation for fisheries or "omnibus regulation", paving the way for approval at the next meeting of the European Council of Fisheries Ministers and the European Parliament. The regulation will set out the detailed package of amendments to existing control and technical measures to ensure the implementation of the landing obligation agreed under the reformed CFP. Some of the issues clarified in the approval include the prohibition of development of parallel markets for undersized fish, and provision for the safe storage of retained catches on board of fishing vessels. The Commission will also prepare an annual report on the implementation of the landing obligation.

4. The Commission passed a regulation setting out the role and requirements for the establishment and operation of Regional Advisory Councils. The Advisory Councils aim to promote a representation of all stakeholders in the field of fisheries and aquaculture in the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy. They may submit recommendations and suggestions to the Commission and Member States, particularly relating to the management and socioeconomic and conservation aspects of fisheries and aquaculture. To ensure that their structure guarantees a balanced representation of all legitimate stakeholders, the Regulation specifies that they should take steps to ensure inclusion of small scale fishery operators, including equitable membership fee. They must also offer compensation to small scale operators for loss of income (as well as reimbursement of expenses). They may also contribute towards the cost of participation of observers from third countries.

5. The European Commission DG MARE launched a public consultation exercise on the development of a regulation establishing a multi-annual plan for the management of North Sea demersal fisheries. The proposed multi-annual plan will aim to deliver MSY on all stocks by 2020 at the latest, and minimise unwanted catches in the context of the landing obligation under the reformed CFP. All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute comments on a consultation document available at: Submissions should be made to the Commission before 5th May 2015.

6. The Commission has passed a regulation excluding certain areas of the Baltic Sea (ICES Subdivisions 27 and 28.2) from fishing effort restrictions in 2015, due to the recent low level of cod catches in these zones.

7. The European Commission published a summary of the way in which the EU manages its fish stocks, and describing the policy framework and the roles of the different institutions involved.

8. The Commission’s Standing Technical and Economic Committee on Fisheries published its Annual Report for on the Economic Performance of the EU Fish Processing Industry, with a more detailed focus on its evolution during the period between 2008 and 2012. The study found that in 2012 the fish processing sector in the EU comprised approximately 3,500 firms, 5% less than in 2008; employment has decreased by 5% from 2008 to 2012, when the total number of people employed were around 120 thousand (55% of which were women), and 86% of which were employed in firms with less than 50 employees. Despite the increase in production costs, the industry was still profitable, accounting for about €27.9 billion of income and more than €6.4 billion of Gross Added Value (GVA). Overall however the sector Overall the sector suffers from very low margins, which continue to decrease owing high energy costs and limited availability of raw materials.

9. A stop fishing notice was published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by Dutch vessels fishing for skates and rays in Union waters of ICES areas IIa and IV.

10. At its annual meeting, held from 2-6 February in Auckland, New Zealand, the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) adopted new conservation and enforcement measures for Jack Mackerel. The parties, which include the EU and other fishing nations, agreed on a quota within the recommended limit of the Scientific Committee of 360.000 tonnes. The EU's share of 28,100 tonnes is a slight increase from last year and was welcomed by Poland, the Netherlands, Germany and Lithuania which have fishing interests in the region.

11. The European Commission DG for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has published the results of a study on hydrography and the jack mackerel stock in the South Pacific. The study considers the evidence regarding the population structure and proposes management objectives for Jack mackerel, as well as evaluating options for sustainable management strategies to achieve these objectives. It presents a literature review, and statistical and population dynamics modelling. The study concludes that Jack mackerel in the South Pacific cannot be considered as a single discrete population, but that management should be based on a two stock assumption. It recommends that any Harvest Control Rule that ensures setting TACs in the short to medium term close to an FMSY of 0.14 can be considered sustainable. The study also recommends further work in the form of tagging studies and assessing the impacts of climate change.

12. The European Commission announced the signature of the Protocols to the Fisheries Partnerships with Guinea-Bissau (applicable from 24 November 2014) and São Tomé and Príncipe (applicable from 10 February 2015).

13. The European Commission published the results of the ex-post and ex-ante evaluation of the EU’s Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Kiribati. The study found that the purse seine opportunities in the Kiribati EEZ were fully utilised by 4 EU tuna purse seiners but not the surface longline opportunities. Purse seine catches in 2013 of 20 881 tonnes exceeded by 40% the reference tonnage. In return the 2013 payments to Kiribati were EUR 4.7 million, with EUR 3 million paid by EU shipowners and EUR 1.7 million paid from the EU budget. The agreement was found to be partially effective, and efficient, and coherent with the reformed CFP. The report concludes that the continuation of the Agreement is a win-win scenario for both parties.

14. The European Commission also published the results of an ex-ante evaluation of a potential future Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Kenya. The study found that EU vessels operate in the Kenyan EEZ under private arrangements, indicating the demand for an Agreement. This could include fishing opportunities for up to 40 purse seine vessels, and around five longline fishing opportunities to be provided on a trial basis. However, the low levels of funds and human capacity in Kenya limits its ability to effectively manage its fisheries sector, presents a risk to the sustainability of any Agreement and should be the focus of support measures utilising the EU’s financial contribution. A maritime boundary dispute with Somalia, and the on-going risks of piracy within the region also need to be taken into account.

15. The EU Council approved the Fisheries Agreement with the Government of Seychelles which grants access to Seychelles flagged vessels to EU waters around the French Island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean. France will collect the licence fees and use them to manage the fishery, and will report their use to the Commission.

16. The Commission published the latest edition of the European Market Observatory for Fisheries and aquaculture products, which this month includes a case study on tuna imports by the EU, an analysis of salmon and trout consumption and market profiles for squid and monk in France and octopus and swordfish in Portugal .

17. The Commission has approved the name ‘Carnikavas negi’ as a protected designation of origin in respect of lampreys produced in the Carnikava region of Latvia.

18. The European Commission has confirmed measures against illegal subsidies on imports into the Union rainbow trout products from Turkey, following complaints received from the Danish Aquaculture Association. The Commission found that subsidy margins were significant and caused injury to the EU aquaculture industry. Provisional countervailing duties imposed in 2014 on imports of portion sized rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) from producers in Turkey were therefore confirmed. The rates of duty are in the range of 6.6% to 9.5% depending on the producer. At the same time the Commission dropped an concurrent antidumping investigation following withdrawal of the complaint by Danish fishfarmers.

19. The European Commission published an updated list of ports notified by EU Member States which are authorised for the landings and transhipments from fish by vessels flagged to third countries.

20. The European Commission, DG for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries will support the conference “Sailing towards 2020", a high-level conference, showcasing successful community-led development in coastal communities and looking ahead to future developments. The event will take place in Brussels on 2-3 March 2015 and will be opened by Commissioner Karmenu Vella.

21. The EU funded AQUAEXCEL (Aquaculture infrastructures for excellence in European fish research) project announced the steps it has taken towards integrating aquaculture Research Infrastructures across Europe. Some of the activities launched were set out in a workshop hosted by Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spain). Key activities focused on experimental trials on a selection of commercially important fish aquaculture species and system types. More information is available at

22. European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella undertook a visit to Morocco to attend the Salon Halieutis exhibition and meet with the Moroccan Minister of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries to discuss the EU-Morocco Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement.

Fish hygiene

23. During February 2015 there were 28 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 2 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 7 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 19 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod or cephalopod products or gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of frozen deepwater rose shrimps from Tunisia, 3 consignments of frozen shrimps and 2 consignments of frozen tilapia from Vietnam, 4 consignments of smoked salmon from Poland, and 2 consignments of frozen black marlin steak from Spain

24. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANTÉ published a report of a recent audit mission to assess the control systems for bivalve molluscs exported by Namibia to the EU. The mission, which took place in March 2014, found that the standards, procedures and official controls in place do not offer sufficient guarantees that the conditions are in line with the requirements set out in EU legislation. The mission found that the legislation was not in line with EU requirements with regard to heavy metals and biotoxins. Criteria for the classification of production areas were not in line with EU legislation, and structural and hygiene requirements for dispatch centres were not included in the monitoring programme. Accredited inspection systems developed for general fishery product certification were not accepted by the FVO as applicable to the control of bivalve molluscs. Boundaries to production areas were not clearly defined with coordinates. Selection of sampling points did not follow EU rules and not all samples were taken by official staff. No registration document is issued when bivalves are harvested. Packing establishments visited had deficiencies in relation to structural, hygiene, records, HACCP, and packaging conditions. The testing laboratory run by the Competent Authority was not accredited to EN/ISO/IEC 17025, nor did it have a quality management system in place (e.g. no Standard Operating Procedures), there was no intra-laboratory validation, no internal controls, and no participation in proficiency tests. The report recommends that an action plan of corrective measures should be implemented by the Competent Authority, the Namibian Standards Institution, before Namibia can be placed on the list of countries permitted to export bivalve molluscs, gastropods and tunicates to the EU.

25. The Food and Veterinary office of DG SANTÉ published a report on a mission to Vietnam to assess the official controls on the production of bivalve molluscs and fishery products exported to the EU. The mission, which took place in September 2014, found that overall there were substantive deficiencies which meant that the Competent Authority, the National Agro-Forestry-Fishery Quality Assurance Department of Vietnam, cannot provide adequate guarantees with regard to the sanitary conditions of bivalve molluscs exported to the EU. The mission found that Vietnamese legislation was not equivalent in terms of heavy metal limits and microbiological classification of bivalve production areas. Not all production areas were included in the monitoring programme. The outputs of sanitary survey reports were not used to select sampling points or to define sampling plans. No decisions were taken following a result of E. coli, heavy metals and marine biotoxins in excess of the specified limits. The CA was not in a position to ensure that establishments comply with EU requirements, particularly regarding heat treatment of bivalve molluscs to eliminate pathogenic microorganisms. The Competent Authority was requested to submit a plan of corrective actions, subsequently agreed with the Commission.

26. The Commission published a regulation listing the Member States and areas regarded as being free of certain diseases of aquatic animals. These Member States are therefore allowed to take national measures to prevent the introduction of those diseases by restricting trade in live aquatic animals to protect their disease free status.

27. The European Commission’s DG SANTÉ celebrated the 10th anniversary of the EU’s TRACES system used for tracking the movements of animals, products of animal origin, food and feed, live plants and plant products imported from outside the EU. The online system issued 1.5 million official documents in 2014, about half of which were in respect of consignments of food and feed imported from third countries. About 60% of the documents were issued to EU competent authorities, but just 5% to authorities from 43 third country suppliers.

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