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January 2019

Common Fisheries Policy

1. DG MARE announces fisheries contingencies for "no-deal" Brexit
2. Commission withdraws Thailand's yellow card
3. EU publishes 2019 TACs and quotas regulation
4. South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation meets in The Hague
5. Commission publishes 2018 Economic report of the EU Aquaculture Sector
6. EUMOFA publishes report on cross-border investment in EU aquaculture
7. PECH Committee publishes study European Maritime and Fisheries Fund measures
8. Commission takes Spain Court over mismanagement of Doñana wetlands
9. Commission supports BlueInvest event in Malta and launches Blue Careers project
10. DG MARE hosts conference on Blue SME and start up investment capital
11. EURONEWS launches new TV series "Ocean" on sustainable marine issues
12. Commission opens registration for European Maritime Day (EMD) Lisbon 16-17 May

Fish hygiene

13. Rapid alerts were notified for 32 consignments of fishery products
14. DG SANTÉ publishes report of audit in Albania; shortcomings in HACCP conditions
15. EFSA Panel approves vitamin D3 as a nutritional additive for salmonids
16. Slovenia, Italy and France announced VHS and IHN free compartments.
17. Commission announces work programme of EU reference centre for animal welfare
18. Ireland informs Commission of outbreak of Ostreid herpesvirus 1

Common Fisheries Policy

1. DG MARE announced that it has prepared two contingency proposals for legislation to help mitigate impact of "no-deal" Brexit on EU fisheries. The first is to allow fishermen and operators from EU Members States to receive compensation under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for the temporary cessation of fishing activities. This will help off-set some of the impact of a sudden closure of UK waters to EU fishing vessels in a no-deal scenario. The second will amend the Regulation on the Sustainable Management of the External Fleets, which will allow the EU to grant UK vessels access to EU waters until the end of 2019, on the condition that EU vessels are also granted reciprocal access to UK waters. The proposal also provides for a simplified procedure to authorise UK vessels to fish in EU waters and EU vessels to fish in UK waters - should the UK grant that access. The proposal is limited to 2019 and is based on the agreement in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council of 17 and 18 December 2018 on the fishing opportunities for 2019. The Commission points out that the proposals will not mitigate the overall impact of a "no-deal" scenario, nor do they in any way replicate the full benefits to UK of EU membership or the terms of any transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement.

2. The Commission announced that it has withdrawn the notice against Thailand regarding the possibility of being identified as a non-cooperating third country in respect of the Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The procedure ("yellow card") was launched on 21 April 2015 and the Commission subsequently invited the Government of Thailand to cooperate with the Commission and implement an action plan to rectify the shortcomings. Thailand has amended its fisheries legal framework in line with international law of the sea. It has reinforced compliance with its obligations as a flag, port, coastal and market state, included clear definitions in its legislation and set up a deterrent regime of sanctions. It has also reinforced the mechanisms of control of the national fishing fleet and enhanced its monitoring, control and surveillance systems. This includes remote monitoring of fishing activities and a scheme of inspections at port. Following implementation of the plan and an extended dialogue between the parties, the Commission considers that Thailand has now introduced the necessary measures for the cessation of IUU fishing activities in question and the prevention of any future such activities and has therefore terminated the procedure. European Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries Karmenu Vella said that he was "excited that today we have a new committed partner" in the fight against IUU fishing.

3. The EU has published the full version of the 2019 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 2018. 4. The 7th annual meeting of the Commission of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO) was hosted by the European Union in The Hague, The Netherlands. The parties adopted a new bottom fisheries framework based on a spatial management approach, which will ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of deep-sea fishery resources. The new framework will prevent negative impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems. The EU will contribute 150 000 euros to support the newly adopted regional Observer Programme in the Convention Area. However there was no agreement on the cross-listing of IUU vessels and on transhipment, nor on establishing regional high seas boarding and inspection procedures for the Convention Area.

5. The Commission published the 2018 Economic report of the EU Aquaculture Sector providing data on the sector in 2016. EU aquaculture operators produced 1.4 million tonnes of seafood, worth almost EUR5 billion. Production has increased by 2.2% yearly between 2014 and 2016 in volume and 3.1% in value. Profit almost doubled over the same period, reaching €0.8 billion total EBIT in 2016. The sector has some 12,500 aquaculture enterprises, mostly micro-businesses employing less than 10 employees. Employment has remained stable in terms of total employees (73,000) but has significantly expanded in terms of full-time equivalents: from 36,000 in 2013 to almost 44,000 in 2016. EU production is dominated by five countries: United Kingdom, France, Greece, Italy and Spain. These countries, each with turnovers between €550 million and €1,100 million, account for roughly 75% of total production volume.

6. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products (EUMOFA) has published a report "Factors affecting cross-border investments in EU aquaculture" which investigates the extent of cross-border investments in the sector, and identifies barriers and drivers influencing such investments. The study found that large firms are only found in the salmon sector in Northern Europe, and the bass and bream sector in the south. Differences in financial structures (where the salmon industry has many more companies listed and/or with professional investors, compared to the bass and bream sector) seem to have a major impact on investments and growth. For other farmed species, especially inland farming, the aquaculture industry is far more fragmented, which mitigates against investment.

7. The European Parliament PECH Committee published a study on "Implementation and impact of key European Maritime and Fisheries Fund measures (EMFF) on the Common Fisheries Policy, and the post-2020 EMFF proposal". The study considers the current performance of the shared management component of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (implemented by the Commission) and its impact on the Common Fisheries Policy. Based on quantitative data collection as well as on interviews with Managing Authorities of Member States and stakeholders, the Report also analyses the Commission's legislative proposal for the post-2020 EMFF, and seeks to support the Members of the PECH Committee of the EU Parliament in their consideration.

8. The European Commission referred Spain to the Court of Justice of the EU over a failure to take adequate measures to protect the groundwater bodies that feed the Doñana Wetlands, as required by EU water legislation Water Framework Directive. Spain is also failing to take adequate steps to prevent the deterioration of protected habitats in these wetlands, in breach of EU nature legislation. The Doñana wetlands are among the largest in Europe with a great diversity of ecosystems. They host a considerable array of fauna and flora, including critically endangered species, such as the Imperial eagle, Iberian lynx, and the Spur-thighed tortoise. Spain has allowed large amounts of water to be extracted for both agriculture and the needs of local tourists, and the water table is sinking as a result.

9. The European Commission financed a successful BlueInvest event to promote investment in the ocean economy in Malta on January 24, 2019. The B2B event brought 20 innovative companies to pitch for private sector finance from a jury of investors, described as speed-dating for companies. At a previous event, in May 2018 in Brussels, BlueInvest generated 1200 B2B separate meetings. The Commission also promoted its investment in blue skills through the Blue Careers projects - part of an €18 million injection in the blue economy to promote local, regional and transnational cooperation to close the skills gap, tackle unemployment and raise the attractiveness of "blue careers" among students.

10. DG MARE of the European Commission invited interested parties to a conference "Banking on the blue economy - How to accelerate impact-oriented investments in Blue Growth". The event provided an overview on investment gaps and opportunities in the blue economy and financial sources available for private investment funding to move towards commercialisation or to scale up business operations. It also present DG MARE's initiative ('BlueInvest platform') to facilitate access to investment readiness support and investment to blue growth SMEs and start-ups.

11. EURONEWS has launched a new TV series Ocean, which premiered on Friday and can be watched online. Ocean explores the themes of pollution and marine life, the blue economy, sustainable fishing, aquaculture, climate change, ocean energy and looks at the policies and projects designed to protect our seas. The first episode in the series reviews meets fishermen and researchers in Sweden and France, and looks at innovations for more sustainable fishing. The programme can viewed at:

12. The Commission announced that the registration is now open for the European Maritime Day (EMD) which will take place on 16-17 May 2019 in Lisbon. EMD is the EU's annual two-day event during which Europe's maritime community meets to network, discuss and forge joint action. The focus of this year's event will be on blue entrepreneurship, innovation and investment to transform traditional maritime sectors and boost emerging technologies and value chains.

Fish hygiene

13. During January 2019 there were 32 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 7 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 4 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 21 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for cephalopod or gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of chilled smoked salmon from Latvia via Denmark and 2 consignments of smoked salmon from Denmark.

14. DG SANTÉ published the report of an audit carried out in Albania in September 2018 in order to evaluate the control systems in place governing the production of fishery products intended for export to the EU. The mission also followed up on the implementation of recommendations from previous (2011) audit. The mission found that there were significant improvements in regional CA facilities, standards of construction and operational hygiene in establishments, frequency of inspections and the performance of the National Reference Laboratory. Regional CA inspection reports did not identify some readily apparent non-compliances, particularly those linked to HACCP implementation. Establishments exhibited uncorrected hygiene failures and some operators had incomplete hazard analysis and incomplete record keeping. In the absence of suitable training for inspectors and a system of supervision, these non-compliances had remained undetected. Whilst histamine testing capacity has improved since the previous audit the inadequate controls over food business operators' HACCP plans undermines compliance with the EU requirements. The Albanian Competent Authorities, the General Directorate of Regulatory and Compliance in Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and the National Food Authority subsequently guaranteed the implementation of a plan of corrective actions.

15. The EFSA Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP Panel) assessed the environmental safety of the use vitamin D3 with a maximum total level of 1.5 mg/kg feed (as a nutritional additive for salmonids). Considering that vitamin D3 is already ubiquitous in the marine environment from planktonic microalgae which serve as the basis for all marine food webs, the risk of any additional amounts derived from feed is not expected to pose a risk.

16. The Commission announced the first work programme of the EU reference centre for animal welfare covering the period (October-December 2018). The plan will review the ongoing work of similar national bodies in order to identify future needs. The Centre comprises a consortium formed by the Wageningen Livestock Research (the Netherlands), the Friedrich Loeffler Institute (Germany) and the Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University (Denmark). Its main objective is to provide scientific and technical support to the competent authorities in implementing the EU legislation on animal welfare.

17. The Commission's Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed met to discuss Animal Health and Welfare. Slovenia, Italy and France announced a declaration of freedom from VHS and IHN of certain compartments.

18. Ireland informed the Commission of an outbreak of Ostreid herpesvirus 1 in a compartment in Poulnasharry (LK) and Germany announced an outbreak of IHN in a compartment (fish holding in Alzgern, local district Altötting).

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