FishFilesLite Newsletter
January 2020

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Common Fisheries Policy

1. EU adopts 2020 TACs and quotas regulation for EU waters
2. Commission sets 2019 quota deductions due to overfishing by EU states
3. Commission establishes discard plans for Mediterranean demersal and venus clams
4. European Fisheries Control Agency finds discard plan non-compliances
5. Commission upgrades data systems for external fleets and surveillance reports
6. EUMOFA publishes on cuttlefish, squid and the fish smoking industry in the EU.
7. Commission promotes octopus pots developed under EU-Senegal SFPA
8. Commission launches integrated seaweed and mussel BIOGEARS project
9. Ocean Magazine publishes articles on EMFF supported fisheries training
10. An EU Committee publishes an opinion on social dimension of fisheries

Fish Hygiene

11. 42 Rapid alerts were notified for failure to comply with health conditions
12. Outbreak of norovirus in French oysters affects more than 1,000 people
13. New Official Controls Regulation applicable from 14 December 2019
14. DG SANTÉ publishes 2018 RASFF Annual Report on the RASFF

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The EU adopted the 2020 TACs and quotas regulation for EU waters, as well as fishing effort limits and other applicable conservation measures. The quotas include those for EU vessels operating in Norway, Faroe Islands and Greenland.

2. The Commission adopted a regulation setting deductions from 2019 fishing quotas due to overfishing by certain Member States in previous years. Amongst other examples of over-fishing, the UK caught 5 times its quota of roughhead grenadier and Portugal caught 1.6 times its quota of blue marlin.

3. The European Commission established a discard plan for certain demersal fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea, following recommendations supported by the STECF due to survivability and de minimis conditions. The exemptions from the discard ban include red sea bream (Pagellus bogaraveo) caught with hooks and line, lobster (Homarus gammarus) and crawfish caught with nets, and a range of species up to a maximum of 5 % of the total annual catches of those species made by vessels using bottom trawls. The European Commission also established a discard plan for the venus clam in Italian territorial waters, which permits discarding of undersized catch due its high survivability.

4. The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) published three compliance evaluation reports on the implementation of the landing obligation regarding mackerel in North Sea and North Western Waters, North Sea Demersal Species and the Landing Obligation North Western Waters. These reports confirm that non-compliance with the landing obligation has been widespread in the North Sea and North Western Waters for specific fisheries during the evaluation period (2015 to 2017). The Commission claims that failure to enforce the landing obligation is a matter of serious concern and jeopardises the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) regarding the gradual elimination of discards.

5. The Commission adopted a regulation setting out the technical operational requirements for the recording, formatting and transmission of information as required by the regulation on the sustainable management of the EU's external fishing fleets. The measures provide for information on ownership, on vessel and gear characteristics and on the activity of Union fishing vessels, and management and processing of personal data that is necessary for effective management, which may be held for up to 10 years. The Commission also updated it regulations regarding the electronic exchange of information from Member States to the Commission, applying a new format developed for the transmission of inspection and surveillance report data.

6. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2020, containing articles on cuttlefish (France, Italy, Spain) and European squid (Italy, Portugal, Spain), Fresh plaice in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK and a case study on the fish smoking industry in the EU.

7. The Commission's SFPA "story of the month" reports on how the EU-Senegal Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement has financed the installation of 15,000 clay octopus pots made by women living in coastal villages, as part of the policy support for small-scale fishing.

8. The Commission announced the launch of the BIOGEARS project, funded under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund which aims to provide the European aquaculture sector with biobased ropes for offshore aquaculture, as well as to develop a more eco-friendly aquaculture industry by integrating seaweed and mussel production.

9. The Ocean Magazine, an EU video news publication has reported on an EU-supported fisheries apprenticeship programme in Finland, and on Belgian trainees at a maritime school who get fishing experience on board the "Broodwinner" training vessel, all delivered with support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

10. The European Economic and Social Committee published a report on the 'Social dimension of fisheries' in the EU, in which it recommends ensuring legislative consistency between measures to conserve marine biological resources and standards of maritime safety and working conditions, and urges the European Commission to include in its work programme a proposal for a directive to incorporate the International Maritime Organization's International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel.

Fish Hygiene

11. During January 2020 there were 42 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 29 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 1 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 3 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 9 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 23 consignments of bivalve molluscs (including oysters, common cockle and saltwater clam and live Bouchot mussels) from France and 2 consignments of frozen Norway lobsters from Ireland.

12. During January more than 30 RASFF of these notifications were made to the Commission concerning norovirus and unspecified food poisoning associated with French bivalve shellfish, and particularly oysters. More than 1,000 people are reported to have fallen ill, and several farms on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts have closed. Harvesting of oysters in Brittany has been banned by the Government of France. Other than publishing the RASFF alerts the European Commission has remained silent on the issue.

13. The Commission published a Q&A on the coming into force of the new Official controls Regulation, which in general, has been applied from 14 December 2019, although some detailed rules on residues of substances in food and feed, and on animal welfare and plant health, will only become applicable at the end of 2022. The regulation describes the official comprehensive risk-based checks which should be made by competent authorities in each Member State (and third countries) to ensure that food safety rules applicable to the agri-food chain supply chain are correctly implemented. The regulation extends the requirement for transparency, and provides reinforced tools to fight against food fraud, and requires an integrated system of border controls of animals, plants, food and feed. It requires that controls will generally be performed without prior notice and that the frequency of controls will be linked to risks that a product or process presents with respect to fraud, health, safety, animal welfare or in certain cases the environment. Member States are obliged to protect whistle-blowers providing information on non-compliance to the competent authorities and to ensure the publication of annual reports. Official controls explicitly cover agri-food chain products from third countries, and provide for risk-adjusted frequency of controls, linked to a modernised computerised system for the management of data and information. Designated Border Control Posts will have to comply with common requirements to ensure efficient and coherent official controls.

14. The Commission's DG SANTÉ published the 2018 Annual Report on the RASFF - The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed. The report indicates that a total of 3,699 original notifications were transmitted through RASFF, of which 1,118 were classified as alert, 493 as information for follow-up, 675 as information for attention, 1,401 as border rejection notification and 12 as news. Out of the total, fish and fish products accounted for 85 alerts and 107 border rejections and bivalves accounted for 54 alerts and 5 border rejections. Thirty-four notifications were made by Italian authorities for mercury in fish and fish products, along with 39 for this hazard from Spain. France notified 35 cases of bivalves contaminated with norovirus.


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