FishFiles Lite Newsletter
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January 2016

Common Fisheries Policy

1. EU publishes regulation fixing Black Sea turbot and sprat quotas for 2016
2. Commission and (MEDAC) to host open seminar on Mediterranean fish stocks
3. EU-funded Myfish project and ICES hold symposium on MSY fisheries management
4. DG MARE publishes on Comoros Fisheries Partnership Agreement
5. Commission attends "Bluefin Futures Symposium" in California
6. EUMOFA publishes articles on sardine and octopus and smoked salmon
7. An EU Parliament Committee considers fisheries data collection framework useful
8. EU Parliament publishes study on landing obligation and “choke” species
9. Commission publishes aquaculture kit for schools; promotes at Berlin Green Week
10. Commission has publishes poster on European Aquaculture species
11. Commission’s Joint Research Centre launches “Mapping Fishing Activities” tool
12. Netherlands’ EU Presidency aims for "in-depth sustainability"
13. EU report stresses need for integrated management of marine and coastal resources
14. Commission produces animated video on role of fisheries in developing countries
15. Commissioner Vella visits Poland
16. Director-General of DG MARE visits Portugal

Fish hygiene

17. Rapid alerts were notified for 26 consignments of fishery products
18. FVO of DG SANTÉ reports on mission to Sweden; deficiencies not corrected since 2010
19. FVO of DG SANTÉ reports on mission to Turkey; some deficiencies in bivalve controls

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The EU published the regulation fixing for 2016 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks in the Black Sea, covering turbot and sprat, and setting the quotas allocated to Romania and Bulgaria.

2. The European Commission (DG MARE) and the Mediterranean Advisory Council (MEDAC) announced that they will co-organise a high-level seminar on the state of stocks in the Mediterranean and on the CFP approach, to be held in Catania, Italy, 9-10 February 2016. This two-day event will consider and discuss with stakeholders the possible options to tackle the poor status of Mediterranean fish stocks. Attendance is open to all interested parties, who should register via the DG MARE website.

3. The EU-funded Myfish project, in collaboration with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), held a symposium in Athens to discuss targets and limits for successful long term fisheries management, based on the principle of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY - referring to the largest average catch that can be captured from a fish stock under existing environmental conditions). The meeting discussed challenges for successful fisheries management, especially in the context of multi-species fisheries.

4. DG MARE published a study undertaken by consultants evaluating the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and coherence of the EU’s Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the Union of Comoros. The study found that the Comoros received a total of EUR718,580 per year on average in 2014 and 2015, and EU tuna vessels caught an average of 2,600 tonnes/year. Effectiveness and efficiency were considered to be average for this type of agreement. Although longline fishing opportunities were not utilised, the report recommends continuing to pay for them in future agreements.

5. Representatives of the European Commission attended the "Bluefin Futures Symposium" in Monterey, California which discussed the status and future of Pacific, Atlantic and Southern bluefin tunas. The meeting heard high level presentations from scientists, NGOs, Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) and governmental representatives, including the European Commission. Participants agreed that RFMOs should remain the appropriate fora for taking management decisions.

6. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its first edition of 2016, containing articles on sardine and octopus consumption, a case study on smoked salmon in France and a review of markets for albacore tuna and hake in France, and Norway lobster and herring in Sweden.

7. The European Economic and Social Committee announced its opinions on the EU’s revised fisheries data collection framework. It considers that the proposed changes are generally a good idea, but recommends that there should be an obligation on Member States to apply the European Statistics Code of Practice and the Quality Assurance Framework of the European Statistical System.

8. The European Parliament published a study reporting on the issue of handling additional fish on board as a result of the landing obligation in force since 1st January 2016 (with a focus on plaice caught in mixed fisheries the Baltic). It proposes a decision tree outlining the possibilities to mitigate so-called “choke-species” problems, such as quota swaps.

9. The European Commission has developed an aquaculture school kit for teachers, providing material to raise awareness of aquaculture among schoolchildren aged 12 to 18 years. The booklet contains information on how to integrate aquaculture into lessons and encourage pupils to learn more about aquaculture in their community. As part of the Commission's "Farmed in the EU" campaign, the Commission organised an event at the International Green Week in Berlin to promote the booklet to German aquaculture stakeholders and educators.

10. The European Commission has published a new poster on European Aquaculture species, with Latin names and common names in all European languages.

11. The Commission’s Joint Research Centre announced the publication of a new tool (Mapping Fishing Activities) in the form of detailed maps of fishing intensity in 2014-2015 in Europe, based on from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) data from fishing vessels. The maps make it possible to derive information about the fishing habits of coastal communities, thus helping to tailor policy and management strategies.

12. The Netherlands has taken over the rotating six-month EU Presidency as from 1 January 2016 and has announced its fisheries programme. It hopes to achieve more "in-depth sustainability" by concluding agreements on multiannual plans for sustainable fish stock management and expanding the landing obligation.

13. A joint report by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) and the JRC of the European Commission has stressed the importance of integrated management of marine and coastal resources. The report recommends organising and focusing marine science research to optimise its usefulness for policy makers, for example by using Horizon 2020 project finance for improving marine knowledge to support the design of EU legislation.

14. The European Commission has produced an animated video about the importance of fisheries for food security, health and growth in developing countries, highlighting the commitment of the EU to 3rd countries in helping to promote sustainable management of seafood resources and inclusive opportunities for trade and growth.

15. European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella visited Poland to meet with the Minister of Environment Jan Szyszko and the Minister of Maritime Affairs Marek Gróbarczyk. They discussed, amongst other issues, the potential of blue growth and fisheries policy in the Baltic.

16. The head of the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, João Aguiar Machado, paid an official visit to Portugal to meet the newly-appointed Portuguese Minister for the Sea, Ms.Ana Paula Vitorino at the fishing port of Sesimbra, visit auctions and producers associations, and present a speech at a conference on the maritime economy

Fish hygiene

17. During January 2016 there were 26 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 4 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 1 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 21 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for cephalopod ad gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of oysters from the Netherlands, 3 consignments of swordfish from Spain, 2 consignments of skipjack tuna chunks in brine from Seychelles, and 3 consignments of frozen gulper sharks from Mozambique.

18. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANTÉ has issued a report following a mission to Sweden in May 2015 to evaluate the food safety control systems in place governing the production and placing on the market of fishery products. The mission found that the Competent Authority, the National Food Administration, had not addressed six of the eight recommendations arising from previous audits in 2010 and 2013. In particular, the measures prevent fatty fish from the Baltic region (which exceed EU limits for PCBs/dioxins) from being traded to other Member States were still ineffective. There were also outstanding gaps in the official controls of fishing vessels and some inspectors were considered to have insufficient knowledge of traceability and HACCP evaluations. There was also an absence of systematic analytical testing of fishery products. The Competent Authority was required to submit a plan of corrective actions, subsequently accepted by DG SANTÉ.

19. The Food and Veterinary office of DG SANTÉ issued a report following a mission to Turkey in September 2015 to evaluate the food safety control systems in place governing the production and export to the EU bivalve molluscs and their products. The mission found that the Competent Authority, the General Directorate of Food and Control had made only limited progress in implementing the recommendations of a previous mission in 2012. HACCP plans for purification centres were inadequate, monitoring of heat treatment was insufficient, and several testing laboratories used for E.coli testing were not accredited. In addition, sampling frequencies for biotoxins were inadequate and the absence of positive results raises concerns regarding the reliability of biotoxin testing methods used. Despite these failings the mission concluded that recent improvements to the system and the progress observed during the audit should bring the system in line with the EU requirements in due course, on the assumption that recommendations arising from this audit are addressed in a satisfactory way.

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