1. In response to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis on the fishing and aquaculture sectors DG MARE of the European Commission adopted a temporary State Aid framework to enable Member States to provide relief to economic fishery and aquaculture sectors operators hit by the corona crisis. The new Temporary Framework allows aid up to a level of €120,000 per undertaking active in the fishery and aquaculture sectors, through direct grants, repayable advances or tax advantages. DG MARE has published a Corona guidance note for EU Member States outlining existing tools and instruments to support their local communities, under both the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the new state aid framework. The guidance also indicates that additional measures will also become available for the fisheries and aquaculture sector after the entry into force of the general coronavirus emergency response package, proposed by the Commission on 13 March.
2. The EU amended the EU fishing TACs and quotas for 2020 to account for the latest scientific advice and obligations under RFMOs. The measures affect quotas for sandeel, and data reporting and fishing effort limits for tunas in the ICCAT region,
3. DG MARE published a paper on economic analysis and indicators in the EU fishing fleets sector in 2017. It looks at the EU fleet, employment, landings, incomes and financial performance. It also provides an analysis country by country and for each major sea-basin and provides a preliminary review for 2018 and 2019. Headline performance indicators for 2017 indicate gross profit EUR 1.99 billion (down 3.3% on 2016), net profit of EUR 1.3 billion (-2.9%) and GVA in fishing estimated at EUR 4.5 billion (-0.2%).
4. DG MARE also published its latest paper on economic analysis and indicators in the EU aquaculture sector in 2016. It looks at each segment of the industry (marine finfish, shellfish, algae and freshwater aquaculture) and presents data on employment, production, incomes and financial performance. It also provides brief summary of the Multiannual National Strategic Plans for aquaculture. The report shows that in 2016, the EU aquaculture sector placed 1.4 million tonnes of seafood on the market worth almost EUR5 billion, a 2.2% yearly increase between 2014 and 2016 in volume and 3.1% in value. The EU aquaculture production represents 28% of the volume and 65% of the value produced by the EU fishing fleet. The marine (finfish) sector is the most important economically, generating a turnover of EUR2.7 billion in 2016, followed by the shellfish sector with EUR1.1 billion and then the freshwater sector with EU1 billion.
5. The European Parliament adopted a resolution on optimisation of the value chain in the EU fishing sector. It calls on Member States to set up expert working groups to investigate the weak take up of European Maritime and Fisheries Fund appropriations for value chain investments. It urges Member States to offer preferential access to fishing opportunities to the small-scale and artisanal fleet, calls for action to facilitate the creation of producer organisations and to remove bureaucratic hurdles in their procedures. The resolution seeks to empower small-scale fisheries by encouraging local consumption through direct and more specialised marketing, zero-kilometre channels of trade, and linkages with markets such as schools and hospitals, and to strengthen the mandatory indication on labels of the origin of fishery products, both when sold fresh and processed, as well as studies to better understand the impact of imports on local fisheries.
6. The European Commission amended the specimens of the IUU catch certificates to be validated by competent authorities of third countries, to account for the development of a new certificate format by the United States to be generated by the new IT tool CATCH.
7. EUMOFA published a study on the price structure of organic salmon fillets along the EU supply chain. The study found that average EU consumption of salmon was 2,2 kg/capita/year in 2016 of which 47% was in the form of fillets (fresh or frozen), and 28% as smoked products, and that the production of organic salmon in Norway, Ireland and Scotland, has grown by 43% between 2014 and 2017. There was a wide range of retail prices from 22,00 EUR/kg in German discount stores (Norwegian fish) to 44,00 EUR/kg in large scale retailers. Ex farm price ranged between EUR4.2 and 7.3/kg. Retail margins ranged between 5 and 14%.
8. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2020, containing articles on the first sales in Europe of Common edible cockle (France, Italy, Spain) and great Atlantic scallop (Italy, Portugal, Spain). It also includes articles on extra-EU imports, weekly average EU import prices of selected products from selected countries of origin, and consumption of fresh swordfish in Italy.
9. During March 2020 there were 32 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 10 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 2 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 3 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 17 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 6 consignments of live oysters from France, and 2 consignments of smoked fish from Ghana.
10. DG SANTÉ reported on an audit mission to Mauritania in October 2019 to evaluate the control systems in place governing the production of fishery products intended for export to the European Union and to follow up on a previous audit in 2011. The mission found that there have been many improvements, including accreditation of the inspection activities of the Competent Authority, their laboratory network, upgrading of the national fleet of freezer vessels and the adoption of TRACES. In general, official controls identified relevant non-compliances and ensured follow up. However, inspectors did not reliably identify defective HACCP plans nor verify traceability in all cases. Some cold stores were listed as processing establishments. Fish markets had long standing structural defects and were not able to comply with the relevant requirements of Regulations (EC) Nos 852/2004 and 853/2004. Alternative premises or arrangements (e.g. direct supply of fishery products from artisanal vessels to processing facilities) are required pending construction of new facilities. The Competent Authority (National Office of Sanitary Inspection of Fisheries and Aquaculture Products - ONISPA) was requested to submit a plan of corrective actions, subsequently agreed by the Commission.
11. DG SANTÉ reported on an audit mission to the Russian Federation in September 2019 to evaluate the control systems in place governing the production of fishery products intended for export to the European Union and to follow up on a previous audit in 2013. The mission found that the appointment of independent laboratories for the provision of opinions on the issue of export health certificates is not in line with EU requirements and undermines effective controls. HACCP implementation by food business operators was undermined by the incorrect use of food additives and poor storage conditions of prepared fresh fishery products. Non-EU listed establishments in other countries were listed as being able to supply EU approved establishments. Official controls did not include unannounced inspections and in several cases overlooked non-compliances in export establishments. Previously identified deficiencies had not been effectively corrected and the mission concluded that reliable guarantees regarding the safety of fishery products exported to the EU cannot be provided. The Competent Authority, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor) was requested to submit a plan of corrective actions, subsequently agreed by the Commission.
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