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October 2017

Common Fisheries Policy

1. EU issues IUU “yellow card” to Vietnam
2. EU withdraws Sri Lanka’s IUU “red card”
3. EU Fisheries ministers set Baltic fishing opportunities for 2018
4. Commissioner Vella attends meeting of EU Fisheries Ministers
5. Commission publishes Annual Economic Report; 16% increase in value added
6. EU, Norway and Faroes agreement on Northeast Atlantic mackerel
7. Commission adjusts CFP direct subsidies managed by the EU
8. EU hosts conference in Tallinn on coastal fishing communities
9. Stop fishing for Portuguese, Belgian and Dutch vessels
10. Mediterranean Fisheries Commission agrees many new management measures
11. EU adopts new Protocol under EU Mauritius FPA; covers 105 EU vessels
12. EU Parliament publishes study on marine recreational and semi-subsistence fishing
13. EU grants new quota tariffs for non-originating fish to Southern African countries
14. EU opens duty free tariff quotas for trout and carp imported from Kosovo
15. Commission to consider subsidising new fishing vessels in EU Outermost regions
16. Commission publishes study on blue growth in EU’s Outermost Regions
17. EU hosts “Our Ocean Conference”, in Malta; announces measures worth EUR550 million
18. EUMOFA publishes articles on Producer organisations and gilthead seabream in Italy.

Fish hygiene

19. Rapid alerts were notified for 51 consignments of fishery products
20. EU introduces new sanitary certificate for certain fish consigned from third countries
21. Commission informs Member States of risk of fuel contamination in tuna vessels
22. Commission extends ban on Peruvian bivalve molluscs
23. EU to amend EU reference test method for paralytic shellfish poison (PSP)
24. Commission announces two new fish disease free zones in Germany
25. Workshops programmed for Better Training for Safer Food
26. Albania starts to use EU TRACES System for sanitary certification

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission issued a “yellow card” to Vietnam, indicating that it is being considered as a non-cooperating country in relation to controlling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. At least eight Vietnamese-flagged vessels committed infringements in neighbouring countries and Small Islands Developing States in the Central and Western Pacific where they have fished without a valid licence, and obstructed the work of coastal State officials. Amongst other infractions, Vietnamese authorities did not provide any support to prosecute the cases. The yellow card follows a five-year dialogue between the parties. Vietnamese authorities are invited to engage in a formal procedure of dialogue to resolve the identified issues and implement a plan of corrective actions. Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said: “We cannot ignore the impact that illegal activities conducted by Vietnamese vessels are having on marine ecosystems in the Pacific”.

2. The European Commission withdrew the “red card” issued to Sri Lanka, indicating that it is no longer considered to be a non-cooperating country in relation to controlling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The Commission noted that Sri Lanka has implemented the relevant international law obligations and adopted an adequate legal framework for fighting against IUU fishing and has established an adequate and efficient monitoring, control and inspection scheme for its fishing vessels. It has also created a deterrent sanctioning system, revised its fisheries legal framework and improved its compliance with Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMO) recommendations and resolutions. As a result, the implementing decision banning EU imports of fishery products from Sri Lanka is revoked with immediate effect.

3. EU Fisheries ministers meeting at the AGRIFISH Council reached a political agreement on the Baltic fishing opportunities for 2018. In line with the Commission proposal based on ICES scientific advice, the agreement includes a roll-over for Western cod and an increase in catches for central herring (+20%) and sprat (+1%). For the remaining stocks, ministers decided on a reduction for Riga herring (-7%), salmon in the Gulf of Finland (-5%), main basin salmon (-5%), Eastern cod (-8%), Bothnian herring (-40%), Western herring (-39%) and plaice (-10%).

4. Commissioner Vella attended the meeting of EU Fisheries Ministers at the AGRIFISH Council in Luxembourg on 9 and 10 October, to present the Commission’s proposals Baltic fishing opportunities for 2018. Ministers also discussed the annual meeting of inter- governmental fisheries organisation ICCAT, which will take place from 14 to 22 November in Marrakesh and the need to take measures for conservation of the shortfin mako shark. Ministers also held an exchange of views on the EU-Norway annual consultation in the framework of the bilateral fisheries agreement. Consultations with Norway on fisheries arrangements for 2018 will take place in Bergen at the end of November. Commissioner Vella will present a state of play on the implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, and called for Member States to complete the designation of national EMFF authorities and to speed up the implementation of projects.

5. The European Commission published the latest version of the Annual Economic Report, setting out the overall economic performance of the EU fleet for 2015. The main finding is that the EU fleet registered record-high net profits of EUR 798 million in 2015, and estimates for 2016 and 2017 point towards further profitability gains. In 2015, the EU fleet's gross value added, i.e. the contribution of the fish catching sector to the economy through wages and gross profit, amounted to €3.9 billion. This represents a 16% increase compared to 2013. Several sectors showed poor economic performance, in particular small-scale costal fleets and fleets operating in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, mainly due to the continued overexploitation of many stocks and to decreases in the first-sale prices for some species.

6. On 11 October in London, the European Union, Norway and Faroe Islands reached an agreement on the management of the Northeast Atlantic mackerel fishery in 2018, as well as a long-term strategy for the period up to 2021. The Parties agreed to recommend a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 816,797 tonnes for the 2018 mackerel fishery and to set aside quotas for other fishing nations which are not party to the agreement (such as Iceland and Greenland). The EU will benefit from a quota of 402,596 tonnes for 2018.

7. The Commission has adjusted the percentage allocations of subsidies directly managed by the EU in relation to measures under the Integrated Maritime Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy. Under the CFP related measures, the allocations will be: Collection, management and dissemination of scientific advice (11 %); Specific control and enforcement measures (11 %); Voluntary contributions to international organisations (13 %); Advisory Councils and communication activities (7 %) ; and Market intelligence, including the establishment of electronic markets (6 %).

8. The European Commission and the Estonian Presidency of the EU hosted a conference in Tallinn on 12-13 October, on the challenges facing coastal communities as well as potential policy responses. It was attended by 300 policymakers and other representatives from the fisheries and maritime sectors who discussed EU support for coastal communities, in particular the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). Participants also discussed whether and how to adapt the EU's support for the blue economy in the years after 2020. European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Karmenu Vella set out how, with a total budget of EUR 6.5 billion for 2014-2020, the EU’s maritime and fisheries subsidies have financed nearly 6 500 projects, helping SMEs in fisheries and aquaculture SMEs to become more competitive, and protecting the marine environment.

9. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by Portuguese vessels fishing for bluefin tuna, Belgian vessels fishing for mackerel and plaice, and Dutch vessels fishing for anglerfish.

10. The 41st Annual Session of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) was held in Montenegro, and adopted decisions in line with the EU’s Malta “MedFish4ever" Declaration to improve the state of fish stocks and the economic prospects of associated fisheries. Decisions were taken to support the establishment of a Fisheries Restricted Area in the Adriatic Sea; adopt a management plan for Turbot in the Black Sea (including a pilot international scheme of inspections), as well management plans for the Red Coral and the Blackspot Seabreams; to adopt an international scheme for inspection in the Strait of Sicily; and adoption of a regional Plan of Action to fight Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing; and the implementation of a strategy for sustainable aquaculture. Commissioner Karmenu Vella stated that “This achievement proves that enhanced cooperation leads to the desired results".

11. The European Council formally adopted a new Protocol under the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Mauritius, which was initialled on 26 April 2017. The four-year Protocol provides for fisheries access for 40 purse seiners; and (b) 45 surface long liners from the EU, along with 20 supply vessels, in return for a total financial contribution of EUR 2.3 million.

12. The European Parliament’s Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies, has published the results of study commission on behalf of its Fisheries Committee, entitles “Marine recreational and semi-subsistence fishing - its value and its impact on fish stocks”. The study assessed the value and impact on fish stocks of marine recreational and semi-subsistence fisheries in Europe. Total economic impact of marine recreational fishing amounts to EUR10.5 billion, supporting almost 100,000 jobs. The marine recreational fisheries are biologically and economically important, so should be included in stock assessment to ensure sustainability, and considered a sector for development alongside commercial fisheries and aquaculture under the Common Fisheries Policy.

13. The EU Customs Cooperation Committee, representing the customs authorities of Member States, has adopted an extension to the derogation to the rules of origin for fishery products, under the framework of the Interim Agreement establishing a framework for an Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the Eastern and Southern Africa States, which applies provisionally to Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe. The derogation will allow for continuation of the suspension of the rules of origin for an annual quota of 8 000 tonnes for canned tuna and of 2 000 tonnes for tuna loins imported by the EU from the partner countries. The derogation is granted for a period of 5 years from January 2018. The Committee, also adopted a derogation under the Interim EPA with the Eastern and Southern Africa States, which will allow for continuation of the suspension of the rules of origin for an annual quota of 120 tonnes of salted snoek (barracouta) imported by the EU from Mauritius. The derogation is granted for a period of 5 years from January 2018.

14. The EU opened tariff quotas for 15 tonnes per annum of trout and 20 tonnes of carp imported from Kosovo, under the terms of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the parties.

15. The European Commission announced that it is presenting a new strategy for the outermost regions, which will “establish customised support to help these regions build on their unique assets and create opportunities for their inhabitants”. Central to the approach is easier access to EU funds for strategic investment, via the European Investment Bank, with enhanced technical support, to make the planning and financing of projects more effective. A public/private platform for dialogue will be established, with special working groups where required. The Commission will also support joint regional projects with neighbouring countries, in the area of natural risk management, waste management, transport and energy. The Commission will continue the POSEI programmes of subsidies to private operators in agriculture and fisheries, and will assess whether EU Member States should be allowed to subsidise the renewal of small-scale fishing fleets.

16. The European Commission published a study on realising the potential of the Outermost Regions for sustainable blue growth, addressing the opportunities for marine related sustainable economic development in the nine Outermost Regions (ORs) of the European Union (Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion, Mayotte, Saint-Martin, Madeira, the Azores and Canary Islands). It considers the outlook in different marine basins for development of coastal tourism, cruise tourism, shipping (maritime transport and ports), fishing and aquaculture, renewable energy and blue biotechnology. The study identifies the need for new, robust and regular data collection and management systems, recommends a more pro-active role of industry in the education systems, and in relation to fisheries, new sources of funding for supporting the renewal of the fleets, and the improvement of the activity’s attractiveness for younger people. In each sea basin/region, it recommends a series of specific public and private interventions.

17. The EU hosted the international “Our Ocean Conference”, in Malta, on 5 and 6 October, where High Representative/ Vice President Federica Mogherini and Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries used the occasion to announce a EUR550 million package of 36 EU-initiatives to foster healthier, cleaner, safer and more secure seas. Some of the measures to be supported are: €37.5 million to ensure maritime security and counter piracy along the southeastern African coastline and in the Indian Ocean; the launch of a prototype surveillance tool (SUMO) in September 2017 which detects ships to reveal the extent of human activities at sea; €250 million to fund marine and maritime research in 2017. This includes €40 million to support low-emission and advanced waterborne transport; The launch of the Pacific – European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) programme, worth €45 million; and €23 million of investment in the marine environment monitoring service of its satellite monitoring programme (Copernicus).

18. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2017, containing articles on Producer organisations in Portugal, and the role of fish in the consumption of animal protein in the EU. It also published a special report on the market for gilthead seabream in Italy.

Fish hygiene

19. During October 2017 there were 51 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 10 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 4 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 12 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 25 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 3 consignments of chilled spiny lobster from Algeria, 4 consignments of frozen swordfish from Spain, 2 consignments of frozen smooth hound from Italy, with raw material from Senegal, via Spain , and 2 consignments of chilled swordfish from Sri Lanka.

20. The European Commission introduced a new sanitary certification requirement and a model health certificate for consignments of fishery products caught by vessels flying the flag of a Member State and transferred in third countries (with or without storage). In future, the Competent Authority in the third country of despatch will be required to sign a health certificate. The measure harmonises with the approach to be applied when products from non-EU origins are entering the Union territory.

21. The Commission reported that FVO auditors had discovered in some non-EU countries that certain freezer vessels used tanks destined for storing tuna fish as a reservoir for diesel. Once the diesel is used for the engine, the tanks are filled with fishery products that may be exported to the EU. The Commission has informed all countries exporting fishery products of the unacceptability of this practice and requested to stop it immediately. The attention of the Member States involved in tuna fisheries was also drawn to this issue.

22. The European Commission announced that it will extend the period of suspension of imports from Peru of certain bivalve molluscs intended for human consumption, for a further year, until 30 November 2018. The suspension was imposed in 2008 following an outbreak of Hepatitis A in humans related to the consumption of Peruvian bivalve molluscs. An audit by the Commission Services was scheduled for May 2017, but could not take place at time due to weather phenomenon of ‘el Niño’, which affected Peru at that time and impacted on the production of bivalve molluscs in Peru. The mission finally took place in September 2017, and its results will be taken into account in future decisions of the Commission.

23. The Commission and Member States discussed the amending official EU reference method set out for detection of paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) in bivalve mollusc, currently a live mouse bio-assay. The method is no longer recognised by the Codex Alimentarius, and the Commission will therefore adapt the Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 2074/2005 accordingly.

24. The Commission informed member states that it has received information concerning two declarations from Germany on disease free status for viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) and infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) in the "Wassereinzugsgebiet der Lauchert und ihrer Nebenflüsse von den Quellen bis zum Wehr Laucherthal mit Bachwasseranlage Hugo Strobel, Hettingen" and "Hugo Strobel, Quellwasseranlage Hausen, D-72505 Krauchenwies"

25. AESA, contractors undertaking the organisation of the EU’s Better Training for Safer Food programme, have published the schedules of workshops to be held during the period.

26. The EU Commission’s TRACES Team announced that Albania has started to use the EU’s TRAde Control and Expert System (TRACES), a computerised database for SPS certification, which facilitates trade with the EU, accelerate administrative procedures and improves the risk management of health threats, while combating fraud and enhancing the safety of the food chain, animal health, and plant health.

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