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January 2018

Common Fisheries Policy
1. Commission threatens Portugal with EU court for intervening with NEAFC and ICES
2. EU Fisheries Control Agency launches pilot control programme for Black Sea turbot
3. EU published full version of the 2018 TACs and quotas regulation
4. Commission adjusts 2018 demersal discard plan for South-Western waters
5. Commission establishes 2018 demersal discard plan for North Sea and N.Atlantic
6. Commission establishes 2018 demersal discard plan North-Western waters
7. Commission adopts amended technical measures for Baltic cod, herring and sprat
8. Stop fishing notices were published for French, Irish, German and Belgian vessels
9. Commission announces will negotiate new fisheries protocol with Morocco
10. Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration
11. Commission adjusts Mediterranean controls for bluefin tuna, hake and rose shrimp.
12. EUMOFA launches EU country profiles
13. Commission announces EU strategy on plastic waste including marine litter

Fish hygiene
14. Rapid alerts were notified for 17 consignments of fishery products
15. Italy and Spain declare disease free compartments for VHS and IHN
16. Slovenia withdraws CHS and IHN surveillance programme
17. Finland declares outbreak of infectious haematopoetic necrosis (IHN).

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The Commission informed the Government of Portugal that it must respect the exclusive mandate of the EU for the conservation of marine biological resources, following representations made by Portugal towards the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The "reasoned opinion" was issued following interventions from Portugal regarding measures to address the impacts of bottom fishing activities on vulnerable marine ecosystems. The Commission considers that the approach breaches EU law and if Portugal does not reply satisfactorily within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU.

2. The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) launched a pilot project to establish a voluntary observation and inspection programme to support the adoption of a multiannual management plan for turbot in the Black Sea, as recommended by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). The pilot project will start this year following a kick off meeting hosted by EFCA with representatives from Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine, the GFCM Secretariat and the European Commission.

3. The EU has published the full version of the 2018 TACs and quotas regulation, setting out the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks in EU waters, along with the associated restrictions, in line with the Decision of the EU Fisheries Ministers in December 2017.

4. The Commission has passed a regulation at the suggestion of Belgium, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Portugal adjusting the discard plan for demersal fisheries in South-Western waters. The plan will include discards of blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) caught with bottom trawls and seines, a new definition of the fishery for anglerfish and an exemption from the landing obligation for Norway lobster caught by trawls is maintained due to evidence of high survival rates.

5. The Commission has also passed a regulation at the suggestion of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom establishing a discard plan for 2018 for certain demersal fisheries in the North Sea and the North Atlantic. The plan provides for an exemption from the landing obligation for Norway lobster caught with bottom trawls due to high survival rates. There is a de minimis exemption for common sole caught with trammel nets, gillnets and certain beam trawls in some areas, and for haddock, whiting, cod and saithe caught by other gears in some regions. A minimum conservation reference size of tail length of 59 mm for Norway lobster is also included in the plan.

6. The Commission has passed a regulation at the suggestion of Belgium, Ireland, Spain, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom establishing a discard plan for 2018 for certain demersal and deep-sea fisheries in North-Western waters. The plan specifies the fleets which are to comply with the landing obligation in the mixed fisheries for cod, haddock, whiting and saithe, in the fisheries for Norway lobster, in the mixed fishery for common sole and plaice and in the fisheries for hake, megrim and pollack. By-catch species should also be covered in certain fisheries. The plan also extends the landing obligation to deep sea fisheries using trawls and seines to catch black scabbard fish, blue ling and grenadiers. Survivability exemptions are granted for Norway lobster and common sole, and de minimis exemptions for certain species in specific fisheries.

7. The Commission adopted a regulation amending the technical measures in the multiannual plan for the stocks of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea, authorising the use modified T90 trawls for greater selectivity.

8. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by French vessels fishing for roughhead grenadier, plaice and herring, German vessels fishing for cod and mackerel, Irish vessels fishing for herring and Belgian vessels fishing for whiting.

9. The European Commission announced that, following an evaluation study conducted by consultants, it will request the Council to authorise negotiations with Morocco for the conclusion of a new fisheries protocol between the European Union and the Kingdom of Morocco. The current, 4-year protocol to the Fisheries Partnership Agreement will expire on 14 July 2018. The decision follows meetings in 2017, between the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella and the Moroccan Minister for Agriculture and Sea Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch.

10. The Commission announced that Bosnia and Herzegovina signed the Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration, a multilateral strategy, proposed by the European Union, for safeguarding the future of the Mediterranean fishermen and coastal communities. The declaration, already signed by European Commission and 15 northern and southern Mediterranean coastal states, commits signatories to implement measures to return Mediterranean fisheries to sustainable levels.

11. The Commission passed a regulation adjusting some of the fisheries control measures in the Mediterranean Sea. The regulation extends the scope of the specific control and inspection programme bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) to ensure compliance with ICCAT measures in the Southern Adriatic Sea, as well as amending the multiannual management plan for European hake and deep-water rose shrimp in the Strait of Sicily.

12. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products launched a series of EU country profiles, which offers a detailed snapshot of each stage of the fisheries and aquaculture supply chain of each EU country.

13. The Commission announced the adoption of a European strategy on plastic waste, aimed at making all plastic packaging on the EU market recyclable by 2030, reducing the consumption of single-use plastics and restricting the intentional use of microplastics. Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for sustainable development, said: "If we don't change the way we produce and use plastics, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050." The EU will introduce measures aimed at making recycling profitable for business, reducing plastic waste, stopping littering at sea, support investment and innovation to minimise plastic waste at source and work with partners from around the world.

Fish hygiene

14. During January 2018 there were 17 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 5 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 2 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 4 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 5 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and 1 rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 4 consignments of live oysters from France and 2 consignments of frozen swordfish loins from Indonesia.

15. The Commission received information from Italy and Spain, regarding the declaration of compartments free from viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) and infectious haematopoetic necrosis (IHN).

16. The Commission also received information from rom Slovenia concerning the withdrawal of a surveillance programme for these viral diseases of salmonids.

17. Finland notified the Commission of a recent outbreak of infectious haematopoetic necrosis (IHN).

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