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April 2019

Common Fisheries Policy

1. EU amends 2019 TACs and quotas for EU vessels in EU and other waters.
2. EU Parliament adopt proposal for new fisheries technical measures regulation
3. Commission extends derogation to allow inshore seine fishing in Balearic Islands
4. South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation adopts Observer Programme
5. EU extends rule of origin derogation for Cabo Verdean canned tuna and mackerel
6. EUMOFA publishes new edition on Atlantic herring and Mediterranean horse mackerel
7. EUMOFA to attend Seafood Expo in Brussels European Maritime Day in Lisbon
8. Commissioner Vella presents Brexit access and subsidy measures for EU fishers
9. European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) celebrates 10 years of achievements
10. EU Commission urges Member States to ratify fisheries training standards convention
11. Commission's Joint Research Centre reports on spatial distribution of 48 invasive species
12. EU Atlas of the Seas to be demonstrated at European Seafood Expo in May
13. EU maritime surveillance & security research project EUCISE2020 holds final meeting
14. Registration for European Maritime Day (EMD) to close on 10 May
15. The Commission and Member States organised EMD local event programme

Fish hygiene

16. Rapid alerts were notified for 33 consignments of fishery products
17. UK added to EU list of third countries authorised to supply aquaculture products
18. UK added to EU list of third countries authorised to supply fishery products
19. Joint Research Centre establishes Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality
20. Joint Research Centre start publication of Monthly Summary of Food Fraud Cases
21. JRC reports eco-labelled fish less likely to be mislabelled (only 1% cf. 30% non-eco)
22. JRC finds positive cost-benefit in using DNA for fish fraud detection
23. Joint Research Centre scientists publish study on DNA identification of gadoids
24. EFSA considers safety of bacterial additive Bactocell for aquaculture feeds
25. EFSA, Member States and EU Commission launch food safety campaign

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The EU has amended its 2019 TACs and quotas regulation setting fishing opportunities for EU vessels in EU and other waters. The amendments concern Sandeel, Blue whiting, Ling, herring, cod and redfish in Greenland/NAFO areas, as well as certain fisheries in the Pacific. New bluefin tuna management measures and effort limits are also set.

2. The European Parliament adopted the political agreement on the proposal for decentralised and simplified technical fisheries measures. The rules describe the technical measures guiding how, where and when fishermen may fish, as well as determining the type of gear, catch composition and ways to deal with accidental catches. The new rules give fishermen a stronger role in deciding on the best measures for sustainable fishing, adapted to their specific needs. They include provisions for the protection of the marine ecosystem and marine habitats and seek to avoid by-catches of non-commercial and sensitive species.

>3. The Commission adopted a regulation extending a derogation which allows seine fishing within 3 miles of the coast or up to a specified depth (the 50m isobath) for certain fish species in the territorial waters of Spain (Balearic Islands). The species concerned are the transparent goby (Aphia minuta), Ferrer's goby (Pseudaphia ferreri) and Lowbody picarel (Spicara smaris). The derogation requested by Spain affects a limited number of 55 vessels and will run until end of 2019.

4. At its 7th meeting, held in The Hague, The Netherlands, the Commission of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation adopted the Conservation and Management Measure Establishing the SPRFMO Observer Programme. This will be placed for public tender in the near future. The SPRFMO announced that it is seeking to appoint an Observer Programme Accreditation Evaluator.

5. The Commission has extended the derogation on the rules of origin granted to Cabo Verde in respect of an annual volume of 5 000 tonnes of prepared or preserved tuna (until the end of 2019) and a further yearly quantities of 2 500 tonnes of prepared or preserved mackerel fillets and 875 tonnes for prepared or preserved frigate tuna or frigate mackerel fillets (until the end of 2020). The derogations are granted due to the limited availability of supplies available to the local processing industry and will operate until the indicated date, unless the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and West Africa comes into force.

6. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2019, containing articles on First sales in Europe of Atlantic herring (Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden) and Mediterranean horse mackerel (France, Italy, Portugal); Extra-EU imports and weekly average EU import prices for selected products from selected countries of origin. Consumption data is reported on fresh monkfish in France and Spain and case studies on fisheries and aquaculture in Morocco and turbot.

7. The European Market Observatory for Fishery and Aquaculture Products (EUMOFA) announced that it will participate in two major fisheries events in May, the world's largest trade fair dedicated to the fishery sector. Seafood Expo Global takes place in Brussels from 7-9 May, while the European Maritime Day will be held in Lisbon from 16-17 May. At Seafood Expo Global, EUMOFA will organise three information sessions on trends, data and analysis related to the European fisheries and aquaculture market. At the annual European Maritime Day, EUMOFA will host a workshop entitled "Blue bioeconomy: innovations and investments".

8. The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella presented two important contingency measures for adoption by the EU to mitigate the impact on fisheries in case of a "no-deal" Brexit. The first measure amends the Regulation on the Sustainable Management of the External Fleets, with the aim of creating the appropriate legal framework for continued reciprocal fishing access by EU and United Kingdom vessels to each other's waters during 2019, provided the UK grants such access for EU vessels. The second measure allows fishermen and operators from EU Members States to receive compensation for the temporary cessation of fishing activities, due to Brexit, under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. This will help to off-set some of the impacts of a sudden closure of UK waters to EU fishing vessels.

9. On the 10th anniversary of its creation, the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) issued a press release outlining its recent achievements. In 2018, EFCA performed 26,922 coordinated inspections, a 28% increase compared to 2017. It detected 714 suspected infringements, 15% less than in 2017, mostly concerning noncompliance with recording obligations and technical measures. EFCA has assisted the European Union in cooperating with developing countries and international fisheries organisations to help combat illegal fishing. In 2018, the five-year EU funded development project PESCAO kicked off, aiming to improve the fight against Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing in Western Africa, contributing to sustainable fisheries management. EFCA provides technical assistance to thirteen countries in the area. EFCA has also assisted the Commission in its cooperation with the Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (NAFO, NEAFC, ICCAT and GFCM), to strengthen the operational coordination and compliance. Training has also been an important part of EFCA's work, with 1,496 inspectors and experts from EU and third countries participating in training events and e-learning in 2018.

10. The European Commission urged EU Member States to ratify the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessels Personnel (STCW-F Convention). The STCW-F Convention sets standards of training for personnel on board of fishing vessels and is an important contribution to the promotion of safety at sea. It contains important provisions on basic safety training and watch keeping applying to all fishing vessels regardless of their size and sets stricter provisions for vessels of 24 meters in length or above. Until now only nine EU Member States have become Parties to the STCW-F Convention (Belgium, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain), despite being authorised to so by the Council in 2015.

11. The Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a report showing the spatial distribution of Europe's invasive alien species. These include plants and animals not native to Europe that have either accidentally or deliberately been introduced in Europe's environments. The new maps allow the tracking new sightings of invasive alien species of Union concern in areas that were previously unaffected. A total of 48 different terrestrial and aquatic species are included, all being listed under the EU Regulation on invasive alien species 1143/2014.

12. The European Atlas of the Seas will be demonstrated at the European Seafood Expo in Brussels on 8 May 2019. The Atlas is an interactive web-based tool available for the general public, non-expert professionals and schools in the 24 official EU languages which hosts a wealth of information about Europe's marine environment and related human activities, covering topics such as nature, tourism, security, energy, passenger transport, sea bottom, sea level rise, fish consumption (in in more than 200 map layers).

13. The European security research project EUCISE2020 held its final conference in Brussels demonstrating the project's approach to coordination of European maritime surveillance, which will allow many different authorities and their ICT infrastructures to communicate effectively. The project was funded by the EU's FP7 programme and involved about 60 European maritime authorities from 15 States, all connected through 12 "nodes" which receive information from the coast guard, the navy, fisheries ministries, and customs authorities etc. and allow national authorities in different Member States to communicate quickly. The Italian Space Agency ASI coordinated the effort and worked with 39 partners including maritime authorities, universities, research centres and oceanographic institutes.

14. The Commission announced that registration for European Maritime Day (EMD) 16/17 May in Lisbon will close on 10 May 2019. The event will include conference, EXPO: "Market for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Blue Economy", a Pitch stage, B2B matchmaking meetings, and several side events that will take place in and around Lisbon.

15. The Commission and Member states have organised a series of European Maritime Day local events between April and July 2019. This enables the many European regions with a maritime culture to highlight the vital role of the seas and oceans. A special version of the European Atlas of the Seas offers an overview of the 150 EMD events organised this year in 21 different countries (15 EU and 5 non-EU countries). These will include beach-cleaning activities, guided tours of ports, workshops, conferences, seminars and exhibitions on maritime themes, eco-tours and walks in areas with significant maritime heritage (cultural, environmental), excursions by boat, and visits to maritime museums.

Fish hygiene

16. During April 2019 there were 33 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 7 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 1 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 2 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 23 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of mussels from Ireland and 2 consignments of St Peters fish from Morocco.

17. The Commission and Member States held an exchange of views on a draft Commission Implementing Regulation amending Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 1251/2008 as regards the inclusion of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and its Crown Dependencies in the list of third countries authorised for the introduction into the European Union of consignments of aquaculture animals. The meeting was organized in the framework of the Communication from the Commission "Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019: a Contingency Action Plan". Following the meeting, the European Commission published the decision adding the UK to the list of countries and territories permitted to supply the EU with aquaculture products. This will help reduce the risk of disruption of trade if and when the UK leaves the EU.

18. The Commission and Member States held an exchange of views on a draft Commission Implementing Regulation amending Annex III to Regulation (EC) No 2006/766/EC as regards the inclusion of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and its Crown Dependencies in the list of third countries authorised for the introduction into the European Union of consignments of bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates, marine gastropods and fishery products for human consumption. The meeting was organized in the framework of the Communication from the Commission "Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 30 March 2019: a Contingency Action Plan". Following the meeting, the European Commission published the decision adding the UK to the list of countries and territories permitted to supply the EU with fishery products, as well as bivalve molluscs, echinoderms, tunicates, and marine gastropods. This will help reduce the risk of disruption of trade if and when the UK leaves the EU.

19. The European Commission's Joint Research Centre established a Knowledge Centre for Food Fraud and Quality which aims to produce and make sense of scientific information to protect the authenticity and quality of food supplied in the EU. It held its held its inaugural technical meeting in Geel, Belgium in December 2018 to identify current gaps in the existing food forensics' toolbox and identify ways to fill those gaps by using a participatory approach to engage experts delegated by the Member States competent authorities in the discussions. Five topic areas of relevance were identified, which will provide the focus of work for the Knowledge Centre: i) Organisation of food fraud detection activities in the Member States and information sharing; ii) Analytical methods and measurement capabilities of the Member States; iii) Early warning systems; iv) Compositional databases and sharing of databases; v) Vulnerability analysis.

20. The Commission's Joint Research Centre commenced publication of a Monthly Summary of Food Fraud Cases reported by Competent Authorities and researchers around the world. In February 2019, it reported that a survey recently carried out in the UK by the University of Exeter found that fish and chip shops sold protected spiny dogfish and some other protected types of shark, whose commercialisation is forbidden in Europe. According to a Canadian study recently published by the University of Guelph mislabelling of seafood varies along the supply chain: 17.6 % at import, 23.7 % in processing plants and 38.1 % at retailers. More than one ton of different types of food (including 400 kg fish) were seized in two Italian supermarkets and four restaurants by Italian authorities because they not fit for human consumption. Labels were missing and traceability information was not available.

21. In March 2019, the JRC summary of fraud cases reported that according survey in 2018 by the NGO Oceana, one out of five fish sold in the USA is not what is indicated on the labels or the menu. Other types of fraud besides the mislabelling of fish species include origin masking and fish from illegal catches. Italian authorities seized 25 tons of cod that did not fulfil the traceability requirements. A survey conducted in Ciudad de México, Cancún and Mazatlán (Mexico) showed that 95 % of fish declared as Marlin were, in fact, different species. A study carried out by the UK's Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) showed that 1 % of the fish sold under the "Eco" label was misdescribed. Out of 1400 samples analysed, 13 were of a species that were different from the one indicated on the label. Only 2 of the 13 presented a clear case of fraud. MSC claims that the stricter controls implemented in the "Eco" sector serve to eliminate fraud. The equivalent substitution record in the non-Eco sector is about 30%.

22. A Joint Research Centre survey of institutions from across 30 countries was conducted to assess the running costs of DNA testing techniques when monitoring fish products to identify fraud. In all compliance investigations identified, the costs of DNA analysis were found to be less than the value of the confiscations or fines imposed for infringements. The study suggests that testing of fish DNA could be a cost-effective way to tackle fraud and enforce EU laws to protect sustainable fishing activities and the study calls for control and enforcement agencies to be encouraged to use DNA analysis techniques more routinely.

23. Scientists from the Commission's Joint Research Centre published a study which used an automated DNA screening approach for the efficient identification of Gadoids. The barcode regions were tested on official and commercial samples, raw or mildly treated products (including frozen or salted, as well as pre-cooked complex mixtures and processed samples) using next-generation sequencing technique.

24. The European Food Safety Authority has issued a scientific opinion on the safety of the bacterial additive Bactocell Pediococcus acidilactici in aquaculture feeds, following an application to renew its approval and extend use to crustacea. The FEEDAP Panel concludes that the additive is safe under the current conditions of authorisation for the target species (all fish, shrimps and all crustaceans), consumers of products from animals fed the additive and the environment. The Panel concludes that the additive at the minimum inclusion level of 1 x 109 CFU/kg feed has the potential to be efficacious in salmonids and in the new species proposed, i.e. all crustaceans.

25. EFSA, the EU Member States and the European Commission have jointly launched a campaign called #EUandMyFood. The aim is to remind EU citizens how everyone benefits from the European food safety system that was created in 2002 under the General Food Law. The campaign website is at

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