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  July 2017

Common Fisheries Policy

1. 2017 fish quotas adjusted to account for over fishing by Member State in previous years.
2. Commission briefs EU Fisheries Ministers on approach to 2018 fishing quotas
3. Commission announces public consultation on 2018 fishing opportunities
4. EU adopts bans on trawling in seven regions to protect Danish Natura 2000 sites
5. Commission amends landing obligation regulation to avoid conflict with NAFO rules
6. EU gives IUU red card to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Comoros Islands
7. EU consolidates regulation on measurement of fishing vessel dimensions and engine power
8. DG MARE publishes evaluation of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) for
9. DG MARE also publishes report on impact of EFF subsidies to small-scale coastal fisheries
10. Estonian Presidency and Commission announce conference on EMFF in October 2017
11. Commission extends the deadline for sectoral support under EU-Mauritania FPA
12. Commission announces review of countervailing duties imposed on imports of Turkish trout
13. EUMOFA publishes articles on fisheries in Vietnam and fish wholesaling in Spain
14. Conference on 'A New Era of Blue Enlightenment' held in Lisbon, in July 2017
15. EU and Georgia to host the “4th Black Sea Stakeholder Conference” in September 2017
16. Commissioner Vella launches global campaign "World Aquariums Against Marine Litter"
17. Commission tells five Member States to implement Maritime Spatial Planning Directive

Fish hygiene

18. Rapid alerts were notified for 59 consignments of fishery products
19. Commission reports on Seychelles; identifies risk of fuel contamination of tuna
20. EFSA launches consultation on Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods
21. EFSA publishes a scientific opinion on new aquaculture feed additive
22. EFSA also evaluated the safety of a series of dyes used in aquaculture

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission passed its annual regulation adjusting EU Member State fishing quotas for 2017, to take account of over fishing in previous years. The largest adjustments are in respect of small pelagic fish such as herring and mackerel, and the largest adjustment is made in respect of UK (>13,200 tonnes).

2. The Commission set out some of the background data and principles to be applied by the by Member State Fisheries Ministers when they met on 17th July to consider the setting of 2018 fishing opportunities which will be finalised later in the year. The meeting considered a Commission report on the state of play of the implementation of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The Commission will take stakeholder input from a public consultation into account when preparing its proposals on fishing opportunities for 2018 and in the context of the future implementation of the CFP. The Commission pointed out that the EU fleet's economic performance has improved significantly in recent years, which has had a positive impact on many EU coastal communities. The EU fleet registered record net profits of EUR 770 million in 2014 which accounts for a 50% increase over the EUR 500 million of the year before. The economic forecasts for 2016 and 2017 remain upbeat. Average salaries and labour productivity have also increased.

3. The European Commission announced a public consultation on the fishing opportunities for 2018 under the Common Fisheries Policy. The objective is to express an opinion on the way in which levels of fishing effort and quotas are set according to the new common fisheries policy and in relation to scientific advice about sustainable fishing. Comments may be submitted online until 15th September via the following link:

4. The Commission amended its regulations passed earlier in 2016 and 2017, which establishes fisheries conservation measures for the protection of the marine environment in certain areas of the North Sea, the Kattegat and the Baltic, to protect reef structures in seven additional Danish Natura 2000 sites. Fishing activities with mobile bottom contacting gear in reef zones will be prohibited, along with the fishing activities in bubbling reef zones.

5. The Commission amended its regulation regarding the landing obligation, in order to clarify the situations in which the landing obligation should not apply, and to ensure compliance by the Union with its international obligations and create legal certainty for fishermen. This should avoid conflict with NAFO requirements, which prohibit the retention on board of catches in excess of quotas. The derogation applies to the NAFO Regulatory Area and sets new limits for retention on board of bycatches of quota species.

6. The EU’s Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers was briefed on the Commission communication on the state of play of the Common Fisheries Policy and on the consultation on the fishing opportunities for 2018. Member states welcomed the communication and the progress achieved on a number of stocks and stressed the need to acknowledge the specificities of the different regions and fisheries.

7. The European Council declared Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Comoros Islands as non-cooperating third countries, in respect of the EU’s Regulation on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU). Following a dialogue that began in 2014, the countries have not adopted an adequate legal framework. The EU also noted the lack of an adequate and efficient monitoring, control and surveillance system; the lack of observer schemes; and the lack of a deterrent sanctioning system. Other identified shortcomings relate, more generally, to compliance with international obligations, including Regional Fisheries Management Organisations recommendations and resolutions, and the conditions for registration of vessels according to international law. Accordingly, the EU concludes that the two countries have failed to discharge their duties under international law as flag states, to take action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.

8. The EU has consolidated its amended regulation on measurement of the characteristics of fishing vessels for registration purposes, to account for the ISO International Standard setting out the requirements for the determination of continuous engine power, as well as various international conventions to which the EU is a party. The regulation sets out the rules for the measurement of length, beam, tonnage and engine power.

9. The Commission’s DG MARE published a Staff Working Document presenting the main findings of an ex post evaluation of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) for the 2007-2013 programming period. The evaluation was undertaken by independent evaluators and finalised at the end of 2016. The Commission issued a press release following a recent study of the impacts of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) during 2007-2013. The study estimated that the EFF created approximately 17,000 jobs and maintained many more over the programming period, mainly in the processing sector and through the Community-Led Local Development initiative. The EFF funding was particularly important in sustaining the aquaculture sector. It also found that between 2007 and 2015, the capacity of the EU fishing fleet decreased by 17.5% (in gross tonnage), of which more than half (53%) was decommissioned with financial support from the EFF. However, the evaluation found that reductions in the fleet may not have been sustainable and that the EFF contribution to the sustainable exploitation of fisheries is unclear. The evaluation also identifies areas for improvement, in particular in terms of impact and sustainability. The Commission indicates that most of the shortcomings are already being addressed in the ongoing program, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (2014-2020). The findings will be used to inform the Commission, Member States and other stakeholders for further implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (the EMFF which succeeded the EFF for the 2014-2020 period) and for reflections for the future.

10. The European Commission published a report by FARNET (a network brings together Fisheries Local Action Groups, managing authorities, citizens and experts from across the EU to work on the sustainable development of fisheries and coastal areas) which assesses the level and nature of present and future fisheries structural fund support to small-scale coastal fisheries (EFF and EMFF). The study found that an estimated 2,682 public funded projects were targeted at Small-Scale Coastal Fisheries in the period 2007- 2013 (23% of the total). These had an estimated at around EUR 140 million (of which around EUR 90 million was from the EUs Maritime and Fisheries Fund and EUR 50 million from national co-financing).

11. The Estonian Presidency of the EU and the European Commission announced that they will jointly host a conference on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) on 12-13 October 2017. The event will present an opportunity to discuss the current and future challenges of coastal communities, as well as potential policy responses. For Further details see:

12. The Commission adopted an amendment to the Protocol setting out the fishing opportunities and financial contribution under the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Mauritania. The amendment extends the deadline for using unused sectoral support for 2013-2014, to a period of 20 months after the date of the provisional application of the Protocol.

13. The European Commission received a request for an interim review pursuant to the EU’s anti-subsidy Regulation on protection against subsidised imports from countries not members of the European Union. The request is to lift existing countervailing duties imposed by Commission in respect of live, fresh, chilled, frozen and/or smoked rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) originating in Turkey. The request was lodged by the Aegean Exporters Association of Turkey, on the basis that the continued imposition of the measure on imports of the product is no longer necessary to offset the national subsidies. The commission will study the issue and has asked to interested parties to submit evidence.

14. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2016, containing articles on Fisheries in Vietnam and Fish wholesale in Spain.

15. The Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas delivered a speech at the launch of the conference 'A New Era of Blue Enlightenment' held in Lisbon, in July 2017, which discussed the role of research and innovation of the ocean, at which three parties (the European Union, South Africa and Brazil) signed the Belem Statement, committing to form a partnership to better understand and deepen scientific knowledge of marine ecosystems. He set out some of the challenges to be addressed by joint research programmes, such as climate change and marine litter, as well as opportunities such as food production and pharmaceuticals.

16. The European Commission and the Georgian Ministries of Economy and Sustainable Development and of Environment and Natural Resources Protection announced that they will jointly host the “4th Black Sea Stakeholder Conference” in Batumi, Georgia on 15 September 2017.

17. European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella launched a global campaign "World Aquariums Against Marine Litter", in which a global network of marine aquaria will promote awareness of the problem of marine litter. The launch took place at the Monaco Oceanographic Museum with support of HSH Albert II, Prince of Monaco.

18. The Commission sent “reasoned opinions” requesting five Member States to communicate their national measures transposing the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive. The five countries, who have so far failed to notify the full transposition into national law are Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland and Greece.

Fish hygiene

19. During July 2017, there were 59 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 6 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 8 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 5 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 40 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of live mussels from France, 3 consignments of frozen shrimp from India, 3 consignments of yellowfin tuna, 3 consignments of swordfish and 2 consignments of frozen blue shark slices from Spain, 2 consignments of Marlin loins from Belgium, with raw material from Vietnam, 2 consignments of frozen swordfish from Portugal and 2 consignments of frozen yellowfin tuna from Papua New Guinea.

20. The Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office reported on a mission to Seychelles in January 2017 to evaluate controls for tuna products exported to the EU, and assess whether they meet public health requirements (in particular limits for histamine and heavy metals) as well as IUU fisheries and customs rules. The mission found that although many of the components of the control system have been adequately implemented, there existed several deficiencies with regard to the correct and uniform implementation of controls. These included the allowing of the placing in cooled sea water of fishery products other than whole and gutted fishery products, and deficiencies in the follow-up of identified non/compliances. It was also noted that the approval of two processing establishments and two freezer vessels had been renewed despite unsatisfactory inspection results, and that vessels were permitted to operate before formal approval was given, as well as the landing of fishery products for the EU export production chain was allowed from a non-compliant landing site operated by Government. The FVO team also identified that three out of five vessels visited had installed dual use fish holds (fish holds that can be used to store fuel and later to freeze and store fish, with a subsequent risk of contamination), an issue which had not been detected by the Competent Authority, and which was not addressed by the HACCP plans of the vessels concerned. The mission also found that the guarantees with regard to the EU eligibility of some imported raw materials (direct landings) are weakened due to the lack of an attestation on the EU requirements. In the closing meeting the Competent Authority, the Seychelles Bureau of Standards, provided written guarantees with regard to prohibition of the dual use of fish holds by the Seychelles FBOs. The remaining matters were addressed in an action plan subsequently agreed between the Competent Authority and the European Commission.

21. EFSA launched an open consultation on its draft scientific opinion on Listeria monocytogenes contamination of ready-to-eat (RTE) foods and the risk for human health in the EU. The document summarises and critically evaluates the most recent information on the hazard, and evaluates the factors related to the contamination in the food chain and the consumption patterns that may contribute to the reported trend of listeriosis incidence in the EU. The draft document developed by the BIOHAZ Panel of EFSA can be downloaded and comments submitted on line by 29 September 2017 via

22. Following a request from the European Commission, the EFSA Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) has published a scientific opinion on the safety and efficacy of HOSTAZYM® X, a commercial enzyme, as an additive in carp feeds. The panel concluded that there are no concerns for consumer safety and no risks for the environment are expected. However, considering the safety for the user, it was concluded that the additive should be considered a potential skin and eye irritant, and a potential skin and respiratory sensitizer.

23. Following a request from the European Commission, EFSA has evaluated the safety of a series of dyes used in aquaculture for their antimicrobial properties. The report considers the toxicity and allergenic properties of 22 dyes, including chloranil, gentian violet, methylene blue and potassium permanganate and the extent to which they are covered by the existing ‘Guidance on methodological principles and scientific methods to be taken into account when establishing Reference Points for Action (RPAs) for non-allowed pharmacologically active substances present in food of animal origin’. The review found no evidence of health effects, and that azure blue and potassium permanganate should be excluded from the guidance document since they are inorganic compounds.

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