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August 2018

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Commission approves 19 new EMFF project grants worth EUR14.5 million
2. DG MARE announces consultation on possible subsidies for purchase of fishing vessels
3. EU Côte d'Ivoire FPA Protocol signed; provides access for 36 EU vessels
4. EUMOFA publishes articles on pike-perch, Gilthead seabream and Atlantic mackerel
5. Commission publishes report on progress with Marine Strategy Framework Directive
6. Commission to host the 1st Arctic Stakeholder Conference in September 2018
7. Karmenu Vella attends 23rd North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers Conference

Fish hygiene

8. Rapid alerts were notified for 41 consignments of fishery products
9. DG SANTÉ publishes audit of the Japanese fish export controls; finds weak enforcement
10. EU and USA agree on mutual recognitions of controls for resumption of limited fish trade
11. Commission and Member States agree to ban fish imports from Brazil
12. European Salmon Smokers publish guide to good practices
13. Commission confirms that shrimp larvae may only be imported from the USA at present
14. Commission announces new disease-free compartments in Slovenia and Finland.
15. Commission considers new disease-free countries for Croatia, Ireland and UK
16. Commission was informed concerning freedom from VHS and IHN in one German zone
17. Protozoan parasite of oysters Marteilia refringens identified in Norway

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission announced that it has approved the financing of 19 new sustainable blue projects under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The projects were submitted following a call for proposals launched to accelerate the deployment of a sustainable blue economy across the EU and the Mediterranean. The successful applicants will share grants of EUR14.5 million for activities such as innovation (de-risking investment in demonstration projects), environment (fighting marine litter and restoring ecosystems), cooperation for a sustainable blue economy and better ocean governance in the Mediterranean Sea basin.

2. DG MARE of the European Commission announced a public consultation on the potential role of State aid for the purchase of fishing vessels in the development of the Blue Economy in the EU's Outermost Regions and to collect views on the draft amendment of the State aid Guidelines proposed by the Commission. Interested parties are invited to submit comments on the Commission's proposals. The deadline for submission of comments is 27 September 2018.

3. The EU announced that the Protocol on the implementation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire was signed on 1 August 2018. The EU allocated the fishing opportunities under the Agreement to tuna seiners (Spain: 16 vessels and France: 12 vessels) and surface longliners (Spain: 6 vessels and Portugal: 2 vessels).

4. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2018, containing articles on sales of European perch and pike-perch in Denmark, Estonia, and Poland, consumption of Gilthead seabream in France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain and case studies of Atlantic mackerel and aquaculture in Madagascar.

5. The European Commission published a report on the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, assessing the measures put in place by EU Member States to achieve 'good environmental status' of EU marine waters by 2020. This concept is defined by measures conserving biodiversity and tackling pressures like overfishing, seabed damage, marine litter and contaminants. The report finds that whilst Member States have developed targeted new measures to ease pressure on the marine environment as a result of the Directive, the goal of 'good environmental status' of European marine waters by 2020 will not be achieved without further improvements. In some cases, such as marine litter, Member States continue to lack coordinated measures to address impacts on the marine environment across national borders. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "Oceans and seas are essential to the well-being of our planet, and we cannot compromise on their protection".

6. The European Commission announced that it will host the 1st Arctic Stakeholder Conference "Knowing, developing and connecting the Arctic" in Brussels on 17 September 2018. The Conference will aim to engage with Arctic stakeholders in the EU's Arctic policy, adopted in April 2016 by the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. follow-up on the recommendations formulated in the final report of the Arctic Stakeholder Forum which identified investment needs and priorities for the sustainable development of the Arctic region. Discussions will therefore be organised around the following themes: Arctic connectivity, leveraging investment in the Arctic, and financial support for cross-border cooperation and Arctic science. Moreover, the 2018 edition of the annual Arctic indigenous peoples Dialogue will also take place on the occasion of the conference. The conference will be opened by Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the EU's Arctic policy, and will bring together around 200 Arctic stakeholders including representatives from local, regional and national authorities from the European Arctic and beyond, Arctic indigenous peoples and the EU institutions.

7. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, visited the Faroe Islands for the 23rd North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers Conference. The objective of the meeting was for ministers from northern Atlantic countries to address issues of concern regarding sustainable ocean governance, in an informal setting. Commissioner Vella presented the European Union's ocean agenda and called on all participants to work together to improve international ocean governance.

Fish hygiene

8. During August 2018 there were 41 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 3 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 5 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 30 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products, 3 rapid alert notifications for gastropod products and no rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products. These included 2 consignments of smoked salmon from the Netherlands and 2 consignments of live snails from Morocco.

9. The European Commission, DG SANTÉ published the findings of an audit of the Japanese control systems in place governing the production of fishery products intended for export to the European Union. The mission found that that the official control system is based on adequate procedures and underpinned by legislation which broadly aligns with that of the EU, except for the absence of a requirement for HACCP in freezer vessels. The official control system is, in general, implemented in all parts of the production chain and includes the necessary official controls over fishery products. However, the mission also found that actions taken in relation to non-compliances were not always effective. There was incomplete oversight over staff and delegated control bodies conducting inspections of Japanese vessels in third countries, and a preference for giving advice rather than recourse to enforcement measures. No deadlines were provided for corrective actions. As a result, the Japanese Central Competent Authority, the Fisheries Agency of Japan, is not considered able to provide the necessary guarantees that controls are at least equivalent to those set out in EU legislation.

10. The Commission informed the Committee about the preparation of the amendment of Annex I of Decision 2006/766/EU which establishes the list of third countries from which import into the EU of certain fishery products for human consumption is permitted. The proposed amendment would add two States of the USA (Massachusetts and Washington) to the list of third countries complying with EU import conditions. Similarly, the USA are in the process of authorising two EU Member States (the Netherlands and Spain). The final draft is foreseen to be presented for vote in the October Committee meeting. As a result, trade in fishery products should resume between the EU and the USA in the near future.

11. A draft Commission Implementing Regulation was discussed regarding amending the list of Brazilian establishments from which imports into the Union of fishery products intended for human consumption are permitted. The Commission and Member States presented a draft proposal on the delisting of all Brazilian establishments from which imports of fishery products are permitted. The measure is related to serious deficiencies with regard to infrastructure and hygiene requirements detected by a Commission inspection in September 2017. The measure was supported by all Member States.

12. The ESSA (European Salmon Smokers Association) made a presentation to Commission the for a possible endorsement of a European guide to good practice for smoked fishes and/or salted and/or marinated salmon. Poland asked to postpone the adoption as they are doing scientific studies to demonstrate the safety of the using the so called stiffening technological step (where the fish temperature is lowered at -10°C for allowing an easy cutting) for storing the products.

13. Germany raised a query with the European Commission in relation to the import of shrimp larvae from India or Singapore for further farming in the EU, following a request from national aquaculture operators. The Commission explained that the only country currently listed for imports of crustaceans under Commission Regulation (EC) No 1251/2008 is the USA and that new additions to the list would need to undergo an audit demonstrating that they complied with relevant EU regulations.

14. The Commission was informed by Slovenia concerning two declarations of freedom from viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) and infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) and a declaration of one compartment and three zones with approved surveillance programmes for infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) in Finland.

15. The Commission and Member States held an exchange of views on a draft Commission Implementing Decision amending Annex I of Decision 2009/177/EC as regards the disease free status of Croatia for koi herpes virus (KHV); Finland for infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN); Ireland for Bonamia ostreae; United Kingdom for Marteilia refringens and amending Annex I of Decision 2010/221/EU as regards the list of areas in the United Kingdom which are free from Ostreid herpesvirus-1 uvar (OsHV-1uVar)

16. The Commission was informed concerning a declaration of freedom from viral haemorragic septicemia (VHS) and infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) from Germany for one zone in Zwiefalten-Gossenzugen.

17. Following confirmation of the presence of the protozoan parasite Marteilia refringens in an oyster (Ostrea edulis) aquaculture farm in the location the municipality of Bømlo in Norway, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority has informed the EFTA Surveillance Authority which has issued a decision, withdrawing the disease-free status of Norway's coastal area with regard to the affected zone.

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