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August 2016

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Commission proposes multi-annual plan for North Sea demersal stocks
2. Commission publishes data for Mediterranean and the Black Sea fisheries managers
3. EU adjusts 2016 TACs and quotas for some fish stocks
4. Commission’s JRC reports on definition of fish stocks
5. EU DAMARA Project reports on mixed-fisheries management for Celtic Sea
6. Final report of EU funded Myfish Project on MSY management models
7. Commission terminates anti-subsidy measures against Turkish sea bass and bream
8. EU grants derogation for canned tuna from Ecuador
9. Commission amends tariff quotas for fishery products from Iceland and Norway
10. EUMOFA reports on supply chain for plaice in the Netherlands
11. Commission’s JRC finds EU fleet burns 9 times more energy than in the fish catch
12. EU MaCuMBA project holds a conference untapped potential of ocean microbes
13. Commission’s JRC publishes report on genetic material and traceability
14. Commission publishes guidance document on fisheries data collection plans

Fish hygiene

15. Rapid alerts were notified for 49 consignments of fishery products
16. FVO reports on bivalve controls in Vietnam; considerable improvements

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission proposed a multi-annual plan for demersal fish stocks in the North Sea. The proposal covers demersal fish stocks and aims to ensure that stocks are fished at sustainable levels, taking into account mixed-fisheries interactions. It will also bring decision-making closer to fishermen. Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: "Multi-annual plans are an important tool to shift decision-making to the regional level”.

2. The Commission published a scientific report assessing possible management scenarios for fish stocks in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The objective of the study is to provide fisheries managers with data to help establish the relevant multiannual plans, in accordance with the CFP (Common Fishery Policy) objectives and with the guidelines adopted by the GFCM (General Fishery Commission for the Mediterranean). The document is available for download (at no charge) from the EU Bookshop.

3. The EU adjusted some of the TACs and quotas for different fish stocks applicable in Union waters and, for Union vessels, in certain non-Union waters. These account for quota transfers or exchanges under regional fisheries management organisations (RFMO), extending certain prohibitions and closed seasons for vulnerable species and adjusting TACs for catches of Northern prawn (Pandalus borealis), herring and sprat following scientific advice (amongst other adjustments).

4. The Commission’s Joint Research Centre has published a report on the way in which fish stocks are defined for fisheries management purposes. Population structure and stock delineation are central considerations for scientific assessment and strategic management in Fishery Sciences. The study addresses these issues from a meta-population perspective using complementary technical approaches. It considers the modelling challenges and research needs required to improve fishery assessment and management efficiency by better delineation of stocks.

5. The European Commission funded research project "Scientific support for the development of a management plan in the Celtic Sea" (DAMARA) has presented its final consolidated report of findings. The project aimed to fill a knowledge vacuum for the assessment the biological and economic impact of different types of management interventions in the Celtic Sea. The results will help the North Western Waters Advisory Council to develop a mixed-fisheries management plan and improve selectivity in the demersal fisheries in that area.

6. The four-year EU funded Myfish (Maximising yield of fisheries while balancing ecosystem, economic and social concerns) project has made its final results available on the project’s website: Myfish was an EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) funded project which aimed to define an operational framework for the implementation of the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) concept in European waters. Myfish also published a legacy booklet setting out the results in the form of case studies in EU marine basins. Sections are also included on defining the limits of sustainability and development of appropriate models for managing fisheries at MSY, as well the operational framework for implementation.

7. The European Commission terminated the anti-subsidy measure procedure it launched in 2014 concerning imports of European sea bass and gilthead sea bream originating in Turkey, following undertakings given by the Government of Turkey. The investigation was initiated following a complaint by Spanish bass and bream producers.

8. Following a request from Ecuador, the EU Commission granted a derogation from the rules of preferential origin for canned tuna exported to the EU. This will allow the Ecuadorian fish processing industry to continue to use tuna and skipjack for canning and export to the EU when it is based on materials originating in Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Otherwise, due to the loss of possible cumulation of GSP tariff preferences, Ecuador’s exports to the EU would be expected to fall by 30%. The EU’s decision also took into account the adverse impact of the earthquake of 16 April 2016 on its fish processing industry which is concentrated in Manta, the epicentre of the event.

9. The Commission amended tariff quotas laid down in the Additional Protocol to the Agreement between the EU and Iceland to provide for a carry-over of remaining unused volumes of quota. It also adjusted some tariff quotas on fishery products imported from Norway. The amendments relate to marine oils, salmon, dried salted cod and other fish species, herring, mackerel and frozen cod fillets, amongst several other species and products.

10. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition, containing articles on markets in Belgium (monkfish and turbot) and Portugal (cuttlefish and horse mackerel). Plaice in the Netherlands. A special feature on the consumption of carp and trout is also included. It also published a special case study on the price structure in the supply chain for plaice in the Netherlands. The study found that in 2013 MSC certified plaice accounted for 65% of the national catches.

11. The Commission’s Joint Research Centre has published a paper in the Journal of Industrial Ecology analysing the energy efficiency performance of more than 20,000 European Union (EU) fishing vessels for the period 2002–2008 (from 49 different fleets, represented 25% of the vessels and 33% of the landings of the EU fishing sector), using the edible energy return on investment (EROI) indicator. The results show that the energy content of the fuel burned is 9 times greater than the edible energy content of the catch. The energy efficiency of the different fleets varied significantly (from 0.02 to 1.12), mainly depending on the fishing gear and the vessel length. The performance of the most efficient fleets, such as large pelagic trawlers and seiners, was found to be comparable to many agricultural production activities.

12. The EC FP7-funded MaCuMBA project, held a conference “Marine Microbiome – Discovery & Innovation” Berlin at the end of June to discuss the untapped biotechnological potential of the ocean’s microorganisms. The conference focused on increasing the rate of isolation of marine microorganisms using novel high throughput techniques for improved isolation efficiency and cultivation of marine microorganisms, and screening for bioactive compounds and biotechnological applications. Researchers were on hand to demonstrate how the European marine biotech industry could benefit from the latest research results in the area, including ‘optical tweezers’ capable of isolating single cells out of a mixture of cells.

13. The Commission’s Joint Research Centre published a report in Science Direct assessing the potential for using genetic material as a means of determining the traceability of fish bred in captivity and subsequently entering wild fisheries through accidental escape or deliberate release. The study considers the implications for fisheries management and concludes that the method is more efficient at distinguishing populations after several generations of captive breeding, and is therefore more useful in forensic applications for well-established aquaculture species.

14. The European Commission published a guidance document to help Member States to prepare their fisheries data collection plans for the period 2017-2020. Under the new EU data collection programme, Member States have until 31 October 2016 to prepare plans setting out how they intend to collect fisheries data in the period 2017-2020. National plans will be assessed by scientific experts for compliance before the Commission gives its approval.

Fish hygiene
15. During August 2016 there were 49 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 7 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 3 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 9 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 30 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of live oysters from the Netherlands, 2 consignments of mussels from Germany, 2 consignments of shrimp from India and 4 consignments of swordfish from Spain.

16. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANTÉ reported on their October 2015 mission to Vietnam, to assess the sanitary conditions applicable to the export of bivalve molluscs and their products to the EU. The mission found that the Central Competent Authority (the National Agro-Forestry-Fishery Quality Assurance Department - NAIQAD) had made considerable improvements to the control system since the previous audit of the sector in 2014. However, the mission expressed concern regarding deficiencies in the enforcement of hygiene conditions, traceability and the cold chain, which represent a potential public health risk for products exported to the EU. In particular in several cold stores the required temperature of -18°C was not achieved, and the traceability of some batches of pre-processed bivalve molluscs could not be established. Two of the eight recommendations made in the previous audit report still need to be fully addressed (in relation to full surveys and classification of production areas, and periodicity of sampling in some tidal regions). The Competent Authority subsequently indicated that is has responded to all of the recommendations made.

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