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September 2018

Common Fisheries Policy

1. UN hosts Intergovernmental Conference on marine biodiversity on the high seas
2. European Commission adopts proposal for 2019 Baltic fishing opportunities
3. Commission amends catch limits for recreational fishing of seabass
4. European Parliament publishes resolution on status of Mediterranean fisheries
5. Commission modifies discard plan for hake in South Western waters.
6. Stop fishing notices published for certain Irish and Portuguese vessels, and for redfish
7. NAFO holds annual meeting; sets new TACs and ban on fishing for Greenland shark
8. EU Council ratifies Agreement on IUU fishing in the Arctic Ocean
9. EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) develops model on global fish supply chains
10. EUMOFA publishes study on price structure for fresh fillets of Saithe in France
11. High-Level Conference adopts action for Mediterranean small-scale fisheries
12. Commission publishes new format and timetables for EU annual fish data collection
13. Commission hosts first Arctic Stakeholder Conference in Brussels
14. Commission launches workshops on Atlantic maritime strategy
15. EU Parliament calls for structured approach to develop fisheries related tourism
16. Commission attends Three Seas Initiative Summit in Bucharest, Romania
17. Parliament publishes overview of Irish fisheries sector
18. EU FARFISH project launched on management of EU fisheries outside Europe
19. EMODNET launches high res 3D underwater terrain model for European Seas

Fish hygiene

20. During September 2018 there were 47 RASFF notifications for fishery products.
21. EU RASFF publishes 2017 annual report; fishery products 16% of 3832 notifications
22. DG SANTÉ finds number of deficiencies undermined Argentinian fish exports to EU
23. Forty-five tonnes of illegally treated tuna seized in Spain; four arrested

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The UN hosted the first round of negotiations of an Intergovernmental Conference tasked to elaborate an international agreement, on an international law to preserve and sustainably use marine biodiversity at the high seas. The proposed scope of the international legal instrument, to be developed under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), will cover marine genetic resources, and will address inter alia questions on the sharing of benefits, area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, o environmental impact assessments, and o capacity building and transfer of marine technology. The first meeting attracted more than 170 States; international government organisations, civil society representatives, academia and industry representatives present, and the atmosphere was constructive. The next round of negotiations will take place between 25 March and 5 April 2019.

2. The European Commission adopted a proposal for fishing opportunities for 2019 for the commercially most important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea. The proposal includes increased catches for plaice, Western cod, sprat, Gulf of Riga herring and the Main Basin salmon stocks. For all remaining stocks, including Western herring, the Commission proposes a reduction in catches.

3. The European Commission has amended the catch limits for recreational fishing of seabass in certain areas, including those fishing from shore. Fishermen will be required to release their catches, except during 1 October to 31 December 2018, when one fish may be retained.

4. The European Parliament published its resolution of June 2017, on the status of fish stocks and socio-economic situation of the fishing sector in the Mediterranean, calling on the Commission to take a range of measures in relation to improved conservation and control measures, especially in relation to IUU fishing, ameliorating socio-economic impacts of management measures, and ensuring third countries play their part, with support where appropriate.

5. The Commission has modified the provisions set out in the discard plan adopted on 2016 for hake (Merluccius merluccius) fisheries in the South Western waters.

6. Stop fishing notice have been published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by Irish vessels fishing for Norway lobster, Portuguese vessels fishing for Bluefin tuna and greater forkbeard all Member State vessels fishing for redfish in NAFO 3M area.

7. The 12 Contracting Parties of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO), held their annual meeting in Tallinn, Estonia, and set new total allowable catches (TAC) for 12 fish stocks in the NAFO area. The EU supported the adoption of long-term management approaches for Greenland Halibut and the meeting adopted an Exceptional Circumstances Protocol for the harvest control rule for this species. The EU and the US successfully proposed to prohibit targeted fishing of Greenland shark. The meeting also analysed the conclusions of the recent NAFO Performance Review lading to revision of the NAFO Observer Program, to enhance the quality of NAFO's data collection. The meeting also agreed further measures to increase compliance of the EU fleet with NAFO rules both at sea and in port.

8. The European Council has ratified, through a Council Decision the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean. The President of the Council will nominate the person authorised to sign on behalf of the EU.

9. The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's science and knowledge service, published a report on global fish consumption and the impact of international supply chains. Average seafood consumption in EU member states is 27 kg per head, whilst the highest consumption at EU level is observed in Portugal (61.5 kg per head). Outside the EU, the top consumers are Korea (78.5 kg per head) followed by Norway (66.6 kg per head). The JRC scientists developed a model (Multi-Region Input-Output, MRIO) for the world seafood supply chain to investigate the impact of seafood consumption across national boundaries and explore the interactions between capture fisheries and aquaculture, fishmeal and trade at the global level. The model accounts for trade flows and interdependencies between different countries along the international supply chain, linking the extraction of raw materials, inter-industry flow, trade and final consumption. It is hoped that the model will provide policy-makers and consumers with information on the extent of reliance on producer nations for their seafood supplies.

10. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published a study on the price structure for fresh fillets of Saithe in France. The study found that the average final price for the consumer was 9,34 EUR/kg (incl. VAT). Raw material (whole gutted fish) accounted for 36% of the final price, and losses at retail stage and distribution costs and margin accounted for 35% of the final price.

11. At the High-Level Conference on sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, co-organised by FAO's General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and Malta, with the financial support of the European Commission, Ministers from EU Member States and riparian third countries adopted an ambitious 10-year Regional Action Plan for sustainable small-scale fisheries in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The plan sets out detailed measures to ensure a sustainable use of fish stocks, whilst restoring long-term economic and social prosperity for small-scale fishers and coastal communities. In addition, a new digital platform, "Friends of Small-scale Fishermen" was launched, partly financed by the EU. This mapping tool will visualise all ongoing projects and investments in small-scale fisheries and enhancing cooperation across the region.

12. The Commission published new rules on the format and timetables for the submission of annual data collection reports in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. It sets detailed content of sections and tables required to be submitted by Member States, data specifications and requirements for description of sampling plans.

13. The European Commission hosted the first Arctic Stakeholder Conference in Brussels, attended by 120 representatives from the Arctic, including the indigenous peoples, to discuss how the Arctic region can be developed sustainably. The conference identified development priorities including connecting the Arctic and improving its accessibility through high-speed broadband, and funding for cross-border cooperation and increased and sustainable investment and Arctic science. The EU presented its recent report of the Arctic Stakeholder Forum on key investment needs and funding in the polar region. The Commission also noted that the current proposal that 25% of the long term EU budget ( no less than EUR 320 billion) should be spent on climate action, which will also make is an important contribution to protect the Arctic and its people.

14. The European Commission launched a series of workshops on the future of the Atlantic maritime strategy, and in particular the revision of the 2013 Atlantic action plan. The workshops are set up in cooperation with the five Atlantic Member States: France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the UK. The first workshop, focusing on marine renewable energies, was held on 12 September in Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), in co-operation with the Maritime Cluster of the Canary Islands (CMC). The Atlantic action plan sets out how regions, port cities and the private sector can contribute to the Atlantic region's sustainable blue economy. So far stakeholders have identified over 1200 projects, worth nearly EUR 6 billion investment.

15. The EU Parliament published its Resolution (from 2017) setting out the need for a more structured approach to the integration of fisheries into tourism policies and calling on the Commission to do more to foster the establishment and development of fisheries related tourism.

16. The European Commission attended the first time the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Bucharest, Romania. The Summit aims to strengthen transport, energy and digital interconnections between EU Member States located between the Adriatic, the Baltic and the Black Seas. President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker addressed the Summit, with a speech in the plenary session entitled 'An Initiative which delivers - key projects in energy, transport, digital interconnections. The Three Seas Initiative as catalyst for the cohesion and convergence of the EU and for the strengthening of the transatlantic link'.

17. The European Parliament has published an overview of the fisheries sector in the Republic of Ireland, as background for the visit to that country by a delegation of the PECH committee from 17-19 September 2018. The short study provides a profile of fleet, catches, employment and markets. It also considers the possible impacts of Brexit on the Irish fishery sector, where the main concerns are regulatory divergence, access to UK fishing grounds, and new customs procedures and tariffs.

18. The EU FARFISH project issued a press release on the occasion of its kick-off meeting in Vigo and the launch of its new website at FARFISH is a Horizon 2020 project coordinated by MATIS Iceland, to improve knowledge and management of EU fisheries outside Europe, while contributing to sustainability and long-term profitability. Key work packages will include stakeholder interaction, advancing biological knowledge, value chain analysis and development and implementation of management plans.

19. EMODNET, an initiative of the European Commission, has launched a high resolution, 3D underwater terrain model for the European Seas. The model is a significant upgrade of the "bathymetry DTM", a service that visualises the ocean floor of the European Seas. The DTM is useful for a whole range of applications in marine science, ocean governance, and the blue economy. See

Fish hygiene

20. During September 2018 there were 47 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 5 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 2 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 7 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 33 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 6 consignments of swordfish from Spain, 2 consignments of frozen shrimp from India, 2 consignments of frozen squid rings from China, and 2 consignments of frozen hake from New Zealand.

21. The EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) published its annual report for 2017, providing an overview of information and alert notices about substandard foods circulating in the EU market. Out of a total of 3832 notifications of food or feed risks, 942 of these were classified as "alert", indicating a serious health risk for which rapid action was required. The most commonly reported risks identified in food checked on the EU market was mercury in swordfish. There were 72 notifications regarding bivalve molluscs and products thereof, 58 regarding cephalopods and products thereof, 105 regarding crustaceans and products thereof and 370 regarding other fish and fish products (making a total of 605 notifications for all fishery and aquaculture products for human consumption, accounting for about 16% of the total).

22. The European Commission Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, Directorate F (Health and food audits and analysis) published a report on an audit mission to Argentina, undertaken in January 2018, to evaluate the control systems in place governing the production of fishery products intended for export to the European Union. The mission found that whilst there is in place legislation, instructions and procedures that should meet the guarantees set out in the model health certificate for imports of fishery products into the EU, a number of deficiencies undermined the controls. The Central Competent Authority (Servicio Nacional de Sanidad y Calidad Agroalimentaria - SENASA) had only partially implemented a new control manual, and had only limited supervisory and corrective powers, non-compliance follow-ups were not documented and was not able to adhere to the established frequency of official controls. Nor did official controls cover the full production chain. There were shortcomings in the quality control of the laboratory network and exceedingly long turnaround times from sampling to receipt of the results. In some cases, laboratories did not provide results at all. Previous mission recommendations had not been fully addressed, including measures for the control over the use of additives. The Argentinian Competent Authority was requested to submit a plan of corrective actions for the consideration of the Commission.

23. Following investigations by the EUROPOL under the OPSON VII operation, in collaboration with the European Commission and other Member States, the environmental protection service of the Spanish civil guard SEPRONA announced the seizure of 45 tonnes of illegally treated tuna fish in Alicante, Cartagena (Murcia), A Coruña y Barcelona. Four people were investigated and face possible criminal penalties of up to four years in prison for endangering public health, as well as administrative sanctions. The investigation has so far uncovered three companies and three fishing vessels involved in the fraudulent scheme in which brine frozen tuna only suitable for canning had been illegally treated with substances that enhance the colour and then been diverted to the market to be sold as fresh fish. This treatment can pose a serious public health risk associated with allergic reactions to histamine.

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