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


April 2017

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Mediterranean ministerial representatives sign 10-year MedFish4Ever Declaration
2. Commission publishes paper on Mediterranean fish stocks; 93% over-exploited.
3. Member States fisheries controls evaluated: Vella says “more needs to be done”
4. EU Parliament reviews landing obligation; implementation criticised by demersal fishers.
5. New fisheries data collection rules adopted by European Parliament
6. Commission summarises 2016 Annual Economic Report on EU Fishing Fleet
7. Commission grants Spain with a derogation for inshore trawl fishing
8. Stop fishing notices published for red seabream, blue and white marlin
9. EU Parliament Fisheries Committee calls for new subsidies for Outermost Regions
10. New Fisheries Protocol agreed between EU and Mauritius
11. EU and Guinea Bissau Joint Committee reports on resources impacts of Fisheries Protocol
12. Commission hosts debate on fish consumption habits at Brussels Seafood Expo
13. EUMOFA publishes articles on pollack, ray and anchovy
14. New protected geographical indications for smoked carp and salmon
15. EU Parliament publishes report on small-scale fisheries and blue growth
16. Commission launches initiative on blue economy in the Western Mediterranean
17. EU Maritime Ministers signed a Declaration on Blue Growth
18. Commission publishes study on data for Maritime Spatial Planning

Fish hygiene

19. Rapid alerts were notified for 47 consignments of fishery products
20. DG SANTÉ reports on sanitary conditions in Myanmar for EU exports of fish
21. Commission publishes new regulation on sampling and analysis of dioxins, PCBs etc.
22. EFSA publishes new risk assessment for tetrodotoxin in marine bivalves and gastropods
23. Commission reminds Member States of obligation to monitor PAH in traditional products
24. EFSA finds additive OPTIPHOS safe for use in finfish feeds

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Following months of negotiations, Mediterranean ministerial representatives from both northern and southern coastal states, and including the European Commission, signed a 10-year pledge to save Mediterranean fish stocks and protect the region's ecological and economic wealth. The Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration sets out a detailed work programme for the next 10 years, with specific targets. The subsequent actions will involve 8 Member States (Spain, France, Italy, Malta, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, and Cyprus) and 7 third countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Albania, Montenegro). Renata Briano, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Fisheries of the European Parliament, called for a stronger involvement of the fishing sector in the decision-making process in the adoption and implementation of Mediterranean fisheries management measures and underlined the socio-economic relevance of small-scale fisheries. EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, said "Today we are making history.”

2. The Commission published a paper on ScienceHub “Saving our heritage, our future: The worrying state of Mediterranean fish stocks” setting out the current status of this region’s fisheries. An analysis carried out by the Scientific Technical Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), the European Commission's scientific advisory body in collaboration with the JRC, concludes that 93% of the assessed fish stocks in the Mediterranean Sea are currently over-exploited.

3. The European Commission published its evaluation of the fisheries control regulation. The report shows that whilst Member States have generally met their obligations. many have not yet done so fully and there is an uneven implementation of MCS measures within the EU. Shortcomings were observed in the sanctions and point system, follow up of infringements, data exchange and data sharing, traceability, as well as catch reporting for vessels below 12 metres. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime affairs and Fisheries, said “more needs to be done”.

4. The European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries held a hearing on the "State of play of the implementation of the landing obligation and allocation of quotas by the Member States", with presentations from fleet stakeholders, scientists and the European Commission. The implementation of the landing obligation by the Commission came under severe criticism from sections of the EU demersal fleet.

5. The new rules for data collection in fisheries were adopted by a plenary session of the European Parliament. These rules aim to improve data quality for the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy and to help to make better fisheries management decisions based on scientifically proven evidence. The European Commission will establish a multiannual Union programme for the collection and management of data and Member states will have to prepare detailed work plans. “Regional Coordination Groups” for fisheries data will be established for each marine region. The revised regulation was agreed by the Parliament and the Council in December 2016, and the new regulation will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal.

6. The Commission published a summary of the key findings of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) ‘2016 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet’. It provides insight on recent trends in economic performance of the EU fleet and the potential drivers behind them, with supplementary analyses by main fishing region and type of fishing activity. It also includes evidence from recent studies and market analysis.

7. The Commission granted Spain with an extension of the derogation from the ban on seine and towed gears within 3 nautical miles of the coast or within the 50m isobath where that depth is reached at a shorter distance from the coast. The derogation applies to 27 vessels fishing for the transparent goby in territorial waters of Murcia.

8. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by French vessels fishing for red seabream, Spanish vessels fishing for blue marlin and white marlin in the Atlantic Ocean.

9. Members of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee adopted a non-binding resolution calling for the creation of a new financial instrument to subsidise the EU’s Outermost Regions’ fisheries sectors (including Azores, Madeira, Canary Isles and the French DOM). They suggested that this should be along the lines of the POSEI agricultural subsidy programme, and aim to boost aquaculture and give incentives to young fishermen in order to fully exploit the economic and social potential of the ORs.

10. A new Protocol to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Mauritius was signed in Port-Louis. It sets the conditions to allow EU tuna fishing vessels to fish in Mauritius waters for a period of 4 years. The Protocol provides for a financial contribution of EUR575,000 per year in return for access to Mauritian fishery resources (the previous protocol covered access by 86 EU vessels with a reference tonnage of 5,500 tonnes/year). For the first time, it also includes specific provisions and financial incentives to support the development of the Ocean Economy in Mauritius. The protocol will come into force in the coming months, after the completion of adoption procedures on both sides.

11. The Commission published the report of the Joint Scientific Committee under the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Guinea Bissau. The meeting updated statistics on catches and fishing effort for 2016 and provided scientific advice by groups of species (cephalopods and demersal fish, crustaceans and pelagic fish).

12. At the opening day of the Seafood Expo in Brussels the European Commission hosted a debate on how to integrate consumer habits, demands and expectations into the supply chain and policy-making. João Aguiar Machado, Director-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, discussed with sector representatives from the producing, processing and retailing lines, and the audience how to respond to consumer expectations. The debate built on the findings of a recent Eurobarometer survey on consumer habits regarding fisheries and aquaculture products, which highlighted that 42% of EU citizens eat seafood at least once a week.

13. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2016, containing articles on sales of pollack and ray and case studies on Fisheries in Senegal; anchovy in the EU.

14. The Commission accepted applications for the registration of the protected geographical indications of “Smoked bighead carp fillet from Romania” and “London Cure Smoked Salmon”.

15. The European Parliament, Directorate-General for Internal Policies, published a consultancy study “Small-scale Fisheries and Blue Growth in the EU”, which study presents an overview of emerging Blue Growth industries, and investigates the linkages with the traditional maritime activity of fisheries with emphasis on small-scale fisheries. It concludes that the environmental impacts of blue growth are generally of a negative nature, involving changes in coastal dynamics, marine pollution, eutrophication, seabed morphology and integrity, and expresses concern that the cumulative burden of these effects would be detrimental particularly to small scale fisheries operators.

16. The European Commission launched an initiative for the sustainable development of the blue economy in the Western Mediterranean region, covering economic hubs of Barcelona, Marseille, Naples and Tunis. The plan includes tourist destinations like the Balearic Islands, Sicily and Corsica and will seek to reverse the loss in marine biodiversity, address security and safety concerns from the increase in migration from the South to the North and promote sustainable blue growth and jobs.

17. EU Maritime Ministers signed a Declaration on Blue Growth at the Informal Ministerial Conference on “Blue growth, Ocean Governance in the EU and the Mediterranean, Innovation and Nautical Tourism”, co-chaired by Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella. The Declaration is claimed to give an additional boost to the sustainable development of key sectors including tourism, aquaculture, ocean energy and biotechnology.

18. The European Commission’s “Assistance Mechanism for the Implementation of Maritime Spatial Planning” published a study of an evaluation of data availability and knowledge gaps required to implement Maritime Spatial Planning in the EU. The study found that common data gaps include socio-economic and socio-cultural information. In also expressed concern over methodological difficulties with aggregation and interpretation of such data.

Fish hygiene

19. During April 2017, there were 47 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 5 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 5 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 9 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 28 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included, 6 consignments of swordfish from Spain, 4 consignments of frozen shrimp from Venezuela, 3 consignments of frozen shrimp from India, 2 consignments of oysters from France, 2 consignments of octopus from India and 2 consignments of monkfish from the UK.

20. The Food and Veterinary Office of the DG SANTÉ reported on the results of a mission to Myanmar in November 2016, with a view to evaluating the sanitary controls on exports of fishery products for export to the European Union. The mission found that whilst some elements of official control system were in place, there were several shortcomings which meant that the system could not considered equivalent with EU requirements. These weaknesses included poor temperature control in cold stores, traceability issues, incomplete HACCP plans, the sourcing of ice from non-approved manufacturers and the use of non-approved cold stores. Whilst the Competent Authority (the Department of Fisheries) had succeeded in addressing most of the twelve recommendations of a previous audit in 2009, there were several non-compliances which had not been addressed, in particular poor hygiene in establishments and the incomplete checks on contaminants and residues. The report made recommendations to the Myanmar Competent Authority, aimed at rectifying the shortcomings identified.

21. The Commission and Member States discussed recommendations of Expert Committee on Agricultural Contaminants and Expert Committee on Industrial and Environmental contaminants. EU Member States, which have been granted the derogation from the EU maximum levels for PAHs for local production and consumption of traditionally smoked meat fish were reminded that they are still required to continue to monitor the presence of PAHs in these products.

22. The Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain of the European Food Safety Authority published an article on the risks for public health in the EU related to the presence of tetrodotoxin (TTX) and TTX analogues in marine bivalves and gastropods. The study found that using a large portion size of 400 g bivalves and P95 occurrence levels of TTX, with exception of oysters, the exposure was below the group acute reference dose in all consumer groups. A concentration below 44 µg TTX equivalents/kg shellfish meat, based on a large portion size of 400 g, was considered not to result in adverse effects in humans.

23. The European Commission published a revised regulation concerning the sampling and analysis of dioxins, dioxin-like PCBs and non-dioxin-like PCBs in foods. The changes introduced harmonise the approach with set out in Regulation 96/23 (on residue monitoring in products of animal origin), eliminate the approach of using decision limits to ensure that an analytical result is above the maximum level with a certain probability, and align the performance criteria for the non-dioxin-like PCBs to the performance criteria for dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs.

24. The European Food Safety Authority considered the safety of the proposed use for finfish feeds of the additive OPTIPHOS. This is a preparation of 6-phytase that is already authorised for use in avian species, weaned piglets, pigs for fattening and sows. Based on reported studies, the Panel concluded that the additive is safe for rainbow trout and extrapolated this conclusion to all finfish.

  • 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