FishFiles Lite Newsletter
. - . - . - . : . - . - . - . : . - . - . - . : . - . - . - . : . - . - . - . : . - . - . - . : . by MEGAPESCA

FishFiles Lite is a free newsletter summarising key developments in EU fisheries and fish trade policy and legislation and is currently being received by over 15,000 fisheries professionals each month.

To upgrade to FishFiles Professional and receive full access to the information summarised in this newsletter and also to be able to search for, and download, files from the Megapesca website, which now contains over 5,000 files, send an email to Fish Files Manager at


October 2016

Common Fisheries Policy

1. EU fisheries ministers agree 2017 TACs for Baltic Sea; more cuts in cod
2. Commission proposes 2017 TACs for deep-sea fish stocks
3. Commission proposes 2017 TACs for Atlantic and North Sea
4. DG MARE publishes study on landing obligation in the Black Sea
5. EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands agree on 2017 TACs and shares of mackerel
6. Commission establishes five new discard plans for EU fisheries
7. EU and Morocco assess implementation of their Fisheries Partnership Agreement
8. EU and Cook Islands ratify Fisheries Partnership Agreement; now in force
9. Multi-lateral conference Black Sea fisheries hosted by the FAO and GFCM
10. Southern Bluefin Tuna Commission sets sustainable TACs
11. EU updates blacklist of vessels engaged in IUU fishing
12. EU Market Observatory publishes report on EU Fish market; consumption rising
13. EU Market Observatory publishes data on Icelandic fisheries, mackerel and hake
14. DG MARE publishes study on ancillary activities to fishing; c.19,500 jobs in the EU
15. European Parliament publishes study on Recreational and Semi-Subsistence Fisheries
16. European Parliament publishes study on corporate structure of the EU fishery sector
17. DG MARE publishes study on the use of non-local labour in EU fisheries
18. EFTA requires Norway to improve safety of RSW vessels >24m

Fish hygiene

19. Rapid alerts were notified for 37 consignments of fishery products
20. Commission reports on fish safety in Poland; hazards improperly identified
21. EU introduces 50% sampling on imported Indian aquaculture products
22. ECsafeSEAFOOD to present results at conference in January 2017
23. Slovenia announces IHN and VHS disease free compartments
24. EFTA recognises salmon fluke-free zones in Norway

Common Fisheries Policy

1. At the meeting of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council held on 10th October 2016 EU fisheries ministers agreed on next year's fishing limits (TACs) for ten fish stocks of the Baltic Sea. The agreement includes an increase in catches for herring (except in the Gulf of Riga), plaice, and salmon (except in the Gulf of Finland) in line with the Commission proposal. Ministers also decided for a smaller increase for sprat and for no increase for salmon in the main basin. Moreover, the following reductions were also agreed on: -25% for Eastern cod, -56% for Western cod, -11% for herring in the Gulf of Riga and -20% for salmon in the Gulf of Finland. These TACs were the first to be set in accordance with the long-term management plan for the Baltic basin that had recently been adopted by the Council and the European Parliament. Following the agreement by EU Fisheries Ministers, the Council adopted a Regulation fixing 2017 TACs and quotas for the Baltic Sea.

2. The European Commission also proposed fishing opportunities for deep-sea fish stocks in the EU and international waters in the North-East Atlantic for 2017-2018. TACs for four stocks of greater forkbeard and red sea bream are proposed to be cut by 20%. Orange roughy is proposed to be added to the list of prohibited species. TACs for deep-sea sharks will be proposed later in November when new scientific advice is available.

3. The Commission presented its proposal on Atlantic and North Sea fishing TACs and quotas for 2017, based on the scientific advice. The Commission proposes to maintain or increase the current fishing quotas for 42 stocks which are in good health, and reduce catches for 28 stocks which are faring poorly. The Commission also announced that it will propose some additional quota top-ups for the fisheries that fall under the landing obligation in 2017, to account for the fact that fishermen can no longer discard the fish caught unintentionally. It published a table of the proposed quotas.

4. The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission published a study on the implementation of the landing obligation in the Black Sea. The study undertaken by consultants, provides specific guidance and recommendations on how the new landing obligation requirements might be implemented by EU Member States (Bulgaria and Romania).

5. The EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands reached an agreement on the quotas for mackerel fisheries allowed in 2017. This agreement is part of the five-year arrangement for mackerel agreed by the Parties for the period from 2014 to 2018. In line with the long-term management strategy adopted in 2015, the Parties recommend for 2017 a total catch limitation of 1,020,996 tonnes for the mackerel fishery in the North-East Atlantic. The EU will benefit from a quota of 503,245 tonnes. The Parties also set aside a Coastal State and NEAFC reserve equivalent to 15.6% of the total TAC, to provide for new adherents to the Arrangement such as Iceland and Greenland.

6. The Commission announced that it has adopted Regulations establishing discard plans for certain demersal fisheries in the Mediterranean and in the Black Seas, and for certain demersal fisheries in the North Sea, North-Western waters and South-Western waters of the Atlantic, as well as pelagic fisheries in South Western Atlantic waters. In the Mediterranean Sea, as of 1 January 2017 the landing obligation will be compulsory for demersal fisheries targeting hake, red mullet, common sole and deep water rose shrimp. In the Black Sea, the landing obligation will be compulsory for turbot fisheries. In the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, the landing obligations for the demersal fisheries have been in force since 1 January 2016, and the measures adopted also widen their scope, as well as setting de minimis and survivability exemptions, which permit a degree of discarding. The demersal discard plans are set to last until the end of 2018, after which they will be replaced by multiannual plans.

7. The 3rd Joint Committee under the 2014 – 2018 EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement Protocol met in Rabat, when the Parties assessed the second year of implementation of the protocol, including the fishing activities carried out by the EU fleet and the implementation of the EU support to the Moroccan fisheries sector were reviewed. The use of the available fishing possibilities was considered satisfactory, and Morocco had managed to spend 74% of fisheries sector subsidies provided by the EU. Both parties expressed their satisfaction with the mutual benefits derived from the Protocol. The Commission also published the report of the 2016 meeting of the Joint Scientific Committee to the EU-Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement.

8. The EU published the official notice that the European Union and the Cook Islands signed, on 3 May 2016, in Brussels, and respectively on 14 October 2016, a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and the Implementation Protocol. The Agreement accordingly applies provisionally from 14 October 2016.

9. A high-level conference on cooperation on Black Sea fisheries and aquaculture took place in Bucharest on 24-25 October. The Conference was organised by the FAO and the General Fisheries Council of the Mediterranean with the support of Romania, ACCOBAMS, Eurofish, the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution and Black Sea Economic Cooperation, and with the financial support of the European Commission. The conference adopted a declaration that underlines the need for common and collaborative approaches among riparian states to address fisheries issues and implement the mid-term strategy for the sustainability of Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries recently adopted by GFCM, the sustainable development of aquaculture, closer collaboration on scientific advice, sustainable small-scale fisheries, capacity building and actions emanating from a Regional Plan of Action to fight IUU fishing. Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said "The EU stands ready to support this process and offer solutions on both fisheries management and blue growth. The sustainability of this basin is important and we will keep pushing for progress."

10. The 23rd annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) in which the EU participates, met in Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei. Catch levels for southern bluefin tuna were set in line with scientific recommendations (with a TAC of 17,341 tonnes to 2017 and increased by 3000 tonnes for the period 2018-2020). New measures were introduced against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and a ban on large-scale driftnets was introduced. However, the parties declined to adopt seabird mitigation measures in longline fisheries.

11. The EU updated its blacklist of vessels engaged in IUU fishing, which are denied access to the EU market and EU fishing ports. They include vessels flagged by the Government of Tanzania, Peru, Nigeria, Iran, Bolivia, Russia Mauritania and Belize. The flags of most of the vessels listed are unknown.

12. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its 2016 report highlighting for 2015, the role of the EU market in global fish trade, EU landings patterns in EU supply and consumption and the role of aquaculture production and processing. EU consumers spent EUR54 billion on fisheries and aquaculture products. Due to increased supplies from EU fisheries, the EU’s self-sufficiency improved, moving from 44,5% in 2014 to 47,5%. Per capita fish consumption per year increased to 25,5 kg, as EU consumers ate one kg of fish more than in 2013. However, 75% of consumption is derived from capture fisheries.

13. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2016, containing articles on Icelandic fisheries and Consumption of fresh mackerel and hake.

14. The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission published a study on the economic importance of activities ancillary to fishing in the EU. It analysed and collected economic and social data on ancillary activities, considering both upstream and downstream activities up to the point of first sale, as well as the importance of other sectors closely related to marine fishing and aquaculture, namely shellfish gathering, inland fishing, ice fishing and the seaweed industry. The study, undertaken by consultants found that most of the employment and income generated in the ancillary sector relates to the servicing of equipment and/or vessels, accounting for around 57% of employment (~19.500 FTE positions) and 41% (44%) of income (~EUR 1.1 billion) in 2009. Other large sources of income and employment are related to the sale of fish and supplies for operations.

15. The European Parliament published a study commissioned from consultants on behalf of its Fisheries Committee, on the Feasibility of Measuring Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts of Recreational and Semi-Subsistence Fisheries in the EU. The study analysed five representative case examples and found that there was no consistent method for defining such fisheries. It recommended a common definition and a methodological approach to assess marine recreational fishing socioeconomic and environmental impacts, based on fishermen’s expenditures and catches, data collection by an on-line survey, adjusted and managed with a model based on input-output tables.

16. The European Parliament published a study commissioned from consultants on behalf of its Fisheries Committee, on Seafood Industry Integration in the EU. The study describes the corporate structure of the EU seafood industry (fishing, processing and the retail market) and the level of the horizontal and vertical integration, particularly in the context of assessing the structural impacts of Individual Transferable Quotas. The study found that the negative impact of horizontal integration on employment can be considered minimal and that fluctuations in employment in the fish catching segment do not directly correlate to fluctuations in employment in the fish processing segment. It was not possible to link structural trends to the choice of the fisheries management system. However, the study concludes that the full implementation of the landings obligation is likely to have a significant impact on the processes of integration.

17. DG MARE also published a study on the use of non-local (i.e. other EU and non-EU nationals) labour in the EU fishery sector. The study used a case study approach to measure the nature and number of jobs undertaken by third country nationals. The study found that in 2013, there were a total of c.19,000 non-local workers legally employed in the EU fisheries sector, representing c. 5.6% of all employment. Non-local labour was concentrated in the UK, France and Spain accounting for half of all non-locals in the fisheries sector in the EU. In most cases, most non-locals were EU nationals.

18. The EFTA surveillance authority issued a decision requiring Norway to adopt a harmonised safety regime for fishing vessels of 24 metres in length and over) regarding vessels using refrigerated seawater tanks to fulfil stability requirements.

Fish hygiene

19. During October, 2016 there were 37 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were no rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 3 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 11 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 23 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of chilled squid from India, 4 consignments of frozen shrimp from Panama, 2 consignments of chilled crayfish tails from Zimbabwe, 2 consignments of smoked fish from Nigeria and 3 consignments of swordfish from Portugal.

20. The European Commission’s Food and Veterinary office published a report of a mission to Poland in May 2016, to assess the country’s implementation of food safety control systems for fishery products placed on the market for human consumption. The mission found that whilst there was an adequate and effective official control system in place, covering fishery products and their production chain, there were several weaknesses which should be addressed. These related to the performance of the official controls in relation to the assessment of the HACCP plans where hazard analyses were in most cases of a general nature and therefore did not reflect all hazards associated with certain species (e.g. histamine in species associated with high histidine content; mercury in swordfish) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) were not assessed as a risk in smoked products. The Competent Authority, the Veterinary Inspectorate of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development subsequently provided a guarantee to address the deficiency.

21. At a meeting of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed, EU Member States and the Commission held an exchange of views on emergency measures applicable to consignments of aquaculture products imported from India and intended for human consumption. The discussion followed persistent rapid alerts arising from the detection of residues of chloramphenicol, tetracycline, oxytetracycline, chlortetracycline and metabolites of nitrofurans in aquaculture products imported from India. The Commission also noted that the results of an FVO inspection mission to India in March 2014 found very unsatisfactory official controls on the use of veterinary medicinal products and confirmed that India has relied until now only on pre-harvest and pre-export testing programmes. The Committee recommended an increased rate of sampling to 50% of all consignments, subsequently adopted by the European Commission for implementation at EU border inspection posts.

22. The European Union-funded ECsafeSEAFOOD research project announced the opening of registration for the conference ‘Seafood Safety: New Findings & Innovation Challenges’ conference, which will be held 25-26 January 2017 in Brussels, Belgium. The event will present and discuss the results of a project to assess food safety issues related to non-regulated contaminants present in seafood, because of environmental contamination. The preliminary programme is now available to download from the conference website:

23. At a meeting of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed, the Commission notified Member States that the Government of Slovenia has declared disease free status for infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) for three compartments in its territory.

24. The EFTA Surveillance Authority Decision has established disease-free zones and additional guarantees for Gyrodactylus salaris (the salmon fluke, a parasite of salmon) in Norway, and the EU has recognised the right Norway to apply control measures to imports from the EU of aquaculture animals intended for farming, relaying areas, put and take fisheries, open ornamental facilities and restocking.

  • FishFiles Lite is a free service provided by MegaPesca. To receive this newsletter free of charge every month send your name and e-mail address to the FishFiles Manager at
  • To upgrade to FishFiles Professional and receive full access to the information summarised in this newsletter and also to be able to search and download files from the Megapesca website which now contains over 5,000 files contact the FishFiles Manager at
  • Whilst we use our best efforts to provide accurate information in this newsletter, MegaPesca is not responsible for the results of any inaccuracies or omissions which may be found to exist in the information provided, or any loss of profits or other consequential damages that may result from actions or omissions based on the information supplied. Readers are advised that only the European Union legislation published in the paper editions of the Official Journal of the European Communities is deemed authentic.
  • To Contact MegaPesca:
    Tel: +351 262 990372, Fax: +351 262 990496
    Rua Gago Coutinho 11, Valado de Santa Quitéria, Alfeizerão 2460-207 PORTUGAL