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March 2017

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Progress towards new Arctic Regional Fisheries Management Organisation
2. Mediterranean coastal states agree 10-year fisheries management programme
3. EU has amended the 2017 TACs and quotas
4. Commission proposes multi-annual plan for Adriatic small pelagics
5. ICCAT meeting adopts Mediterranean Swordfish TACs and quotas
6. European Economic and Social Committee calls for review of national quotas
7. European Parliament holds public hearing on fish stocks
8. Temporary stop of fishing notices for anglerfish and undulate ray.
9. EU and the Cook Islands fisheries agreement ratified by EU
10. Commission publishes new list of designated ports
11. EUMOFA publishes articles on the Polish fish market and oysters
12. EUMOFA also publishes special study on prices of smoked salmon and herring
13. Fisheries MEPs call for new fisheries subsidy scheme for Outermost Regions
14. European Parliament adopts new data collection framework regulation
15. Commission publishes brochure promoting EU subsidies to small scale coastal fishers
16. Commission publishes information note on marine litter
17. Commissioner Vella and Chinese counterpart announce EU-China Blue Year.

Fish hygiene

18. Rapid alerts were notified for 45 consignments of fishery products
19. FVO reports on US sanitary controls on fish exports to the EU
20. EFSA published guidelines on food safety for fishmongers
21. ECsafeSEAFOOD launches online tool to manage health risks from fish consumption
22. EU project “Sea Change” publishs iBook on Harmful Algal Blooms
23. EFSA determines no risk to increase in limit of Vitamin D supplement in fish feeds
24. New disease free compartments announced in Slovenia and Italy

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Union participated in the fourth round of international negotiations seeking binding measures to prevent unregulated fisheries in the Arctic high seas. The meeting took place between 15 and 18 March 2017 in Reykjavik, Iceland, with representatives from the EU, Canada, the People’s Republic of China, Denmark (in respect of the Faroes Islands and Greenland), Japan, South Korea, the Norway, the Russian Federation, and the United States. Delegations reportedly made good progress on a draft for a legally binding agreement, which would be a first step towards one or more regional fisheries management organisations or arrangements for the Central Arctic Ocean. Another round of negotiations will take place in the near future with a view to finalising the text.

2. Following negotiations between the EU and other Mediterranean coastal states which were started in started in Catania, Sicily in February 2016, the parties signed the Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration. This sets out a detailed 10-year work programme to save the Mediterranean fish stocks and protect the region's ecological and economic wealth.

3. The EU has amended the 2017 TACs and quotas regulation, in line with updated management advice from scientific organisations and management decisions made by Regional Fisheries Management Organisations. Species affected are sandeel, cod, haddock, capelin and jack mackerel.

4. Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Karmenu Vella presented EU Fisheries Ministers with the Commission’s proposals for the Adriatic Sea multi-annual plan for small pelagic fisheries, namely for anchovy and sardines. The Commission claims that the plan could result in potential increases of stock by 20% and fishers’ incomes by 5%.

5. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) held a meeting in Madrid, at which agreement was made on the allocation of fishing quotas for Mediterranean Swordfish as part of an agreement under the fifteen-year recovery plan for this species. The European Union secured over 70% of the overall Mediterranean swordfish Total Allowable Catch (TAC), with a quota of more than 7400 tonnes for 2017.

6. The European Economic and Social Committee commented on the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation establishing a multiannual plan for demersal fisheries in the North Sea. Whilst generally supporting the plan, the Committee suggests that an independent commission should be set up to review national quotas, more research needs to be carried out into the effects of fish farming on wild stocks, measures need to be taken to reverse the decline in eel fishery, and penalties should be increased for violations of the fishing law.

7. The Committee on Fisheries of the European Parliament held a public hearing on "The state and development of the biomass of fish stocks managed by the Common Fisheries Policy". The purpose of this hearing was to better understand the difficulties of reaching and maintaining healthy fish populations' biomass levels, which is one of the central objectives of the new CFP. Representatives from science, NGOs and Fishermen were invited to explain their views on this issue and the Committee heard presentations by Rainer Froese Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research (GEOMAR), John Pope, NRC (Europe) Ltd and Michael Andersen, Danish Fishermen Producer Organisation (DFPO).

8. Temporary stop fishing notice were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by French vessels fishing for anglerfish and Belgian vessels fishing for undulate ray.

9. The European Council ratified the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Cook Islands and its Implementation Protocol. The Agreement is therefore effective from 28 February 2017.

10. The Commission has published an updated notice of the ports in EU Member States where landings by foreign vessels and transhipment operations of fishery products are allowed. The list of designated ports ensures that effective monitoring and control can be applied to deter or eliminated IUU fishing under Regulations 1005/2008.

11. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products (EUMOFA) published its latest edition of 2017, containing articles on the Polish market and Oysters in the EU.

12. EUMOFA also published a special study of the price structure of smoked salmon sold on the French market. The study considers the structure of the EU and French market for smoked salmon, sources and prices of raw material, ex/factory prices and retailing trends, price transmission in the supply chain, costs and margins and trends and key drivers of prices. The report concludes that an increase in fresh salmon price (+ 36%) between 2009 and 2013 was not fully passed on to consumers, with retailers containing the retail price increase to only +13%. EUMOFA has also published a special study of the price structure of herring preserved in Glass Jars sold on the Swedish market. The study considers the structure of the EU market and its segmentation, prices and price transmission along the supply chain.

13. Fisheries MEPs called on the Commission to look into the possibility of establishing, as soon as possible, a new subsidy scheme specifically dedicated to supporting fisheries in the Outermost Regions, along the lines of the EU POSEI scheme for agricultural subsidies in these regions. They also suggest boosting aquaculture and giving more incentives to young fishermen in order to fully exploit the economic and social potential of the ORs.

14. The European Parliament adopted the regulation setting out the new rules for data collection in fisheries which will result to more efficient and reliable data for fisheries management under the CFP. The revised regulation was informally agreed by the Parliament and the Council in December 2016. The regulation will establish a multiannual Union programme for the collection and management of data, including socio-economic data and data on the activity of Union fishing vessels in Union waters and outside Union waters. It will also require Member States to develop national workplans and ensure effective regional coordination with marine basins.

15. The European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime A?airs and Fisheries published a brochure aimed at promoting to small scale coastal fishermen, the opportunities presented by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund under the reformed CFP. The subsidies will help young fishermen (under 40 years old) to purchase their first fishing vessel, support investments to help improve the value of the catch, as well as other conservation and collective action initiatives.

16. The European Commission published an information note on the harm caused by marine litter, in particular entanglement of marine life and invasions of alien species. It considers the socioeconomic impact of litter and sets out how the EU’s Marine Strategy can protect the marine environment. The Commission has set up an MSFD Technical Group on Marine Litter (TG Marine Litter) to provide scientific and technical advice for the implementation of the MSFD requirements, and to support EU Member States with expert advice.

17. European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, and Administrator Hong Wang of the Chinese State Oceanic Administration took part in the third EU-China High Level Dialogue on Ocean Affairs. They exchanged views on ocean governance, blue growth and international ocean developments. They agreed to organise a series of activities on ocean-related matters throughout 2017, as part of the EU-China Blue Year.

Fish hygiene

18. During March 2017, there were 45 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 4 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 6 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 9 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 26 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of frozen deep-water rose shrimps from Turkey, 2 consignments of frozen prawns from Venezuela, 7 consignments of swordfish and 2 frozen skinless blue shark slices from Spain, 2 consignments of frozen hake from South Africa and 2 consignments of frozen skinless blue shark slices from Portugal.

19. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANTÉ published a report of mission to assess the United States’ sanitary controls on fish and fishery products exported to the EU, conducted in June 2016. The mission found that in general the system of official controls implemented by the Food and Drug Administration is able to ensure that the relevant United States requirements for fish and fishery products are largely fulfilled by food business operators. However, a number of deficiencies were noted which undermine the controls, notably discrepancies in the assessment of establishments between state inspectors and FDA investigators. In addition it was also noted that contrary to United States own requirements, fishery products which have fallen on the floor during processing are considered as fit for human consumption after chemical rinses have been used to recondition them. The report also expressed concern over the absence of documented procedures and guidelines concerning the issuance of batches of partially completed health certificates, and the associated risk of fraudulent use of these certificates. Since the US allows exports from brokers, the system does not reliably exclude exports from facilities not listed for European Union export or the inclusion in consignments of ineligible products. Recommendations were made to the Food and Drugs Administration, to corrective the deficiencies noted.

20. The European Food Safety Authority EFSA published guidelines on food safety management in small retail shops, including fishmongers. The guidelines describe how to identify the most relevant biological, chemical and physical hazards and overcome the managerial, organisational and technical hurdles in the application of the hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) approach.

21. The EU funded ECsafeSEAFOOD project announced the launch of a new online tool which allows consumers to assess the health benefits and risks of seafood consumption. The tool, FishChoice, helps consumers and professionals to balance the benefits (such as omega 3 effects on heart health) and risks (such as presence of heavy metals) of eating seafood, and is available from the project site at

22. The EU-funded European research project “Sea Change” supported the publication of a marine science iBook entitled “Harmful Algal Blooms”, prepared by National University of Ireland Galway. The iBook is available for download from iTunes. The publication furthers the project’s aims to raise European citizens’ awareness of the ocean’s influence on us and our influence on the ocean (“Ocean Literacy”).

23. The EFSA Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed has issued a report on the Safety of vitamin D3 addition to feeding stuffs for fish, following some new information submitted by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The increasing use of plant-based feed materials in aquaculture feeds could induce a decrease in vitamin D3 content in feeding stuffs, requiring addition of supplements. The study finds that that an increase of total vitamin D content in fish feeds up to 1.5 mg/kg feed (from the current limit of 0.075 mg/kg feed) would not lead the tolerable upper intake level to be exceeded, even in high consumers.

24. The Commission circulated information from Slovenia and Italy on the implementation of surveillance programmes for achieving disease free status for infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) in defined compartments, respectively “Laze” and "Santo Massimo" in the province of Rimini.

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