1. The European Commission published a communication setting out its 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, a long-term plan for protecting nature and reversing the degradation of ecosystems and a pillar of the European Green Deal. The objective is to address state of crisis in nature and put Europe's biodiversity to recovery by 2030. Measures will include new ways to implement existing legislation more effectively, new commitments, measures, targets and governance mechanisms to transforming at least 30% of Europe's lands and seas into effectively managed protected areas.
2. The EU, Faroe Islands and Norway reached a coastal states agreement for the monitoring, control and surveillance (MSC) of shared pelagic stocks fisheries in the North-East Atlantic (mackerel, horse mackerel, blue whiting and herring). The agreement is open for the signature of other coastal and fishing states, but Greenland, Iceland and the Russian Federation decline to join. The Agreement obliges signatories to implement strengthened control measures such as real-time access to weighing data and camera surveillance of landing and processing facilities, ensuring accurate weighing and catch recording and testing of Remote Electronic Monitoring systems (cameras and sensors) on board fishing vessels.
3. The European Commission launched a public consultation on the evaluation of the EUs deep-sea fishing regulation "establishing specific conditions for fishing for deep-sea stocks in the North-East Atlantic and provisions for fishing in international waters of the North-East Atlantic" which aims reducing the environmental impact of deep-sea fisheries and preventing adverse impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems, and supporting improvements to scientific knowledge. The deadline for online submissions is 5 August 2020.
4. Euronews OCEAN channel has releases a video "COVID-19 - weathering a new kind of storm" which investigates how European fishermen and women are responding to the crisis. The programme visits the locked-down Côte d'Azur to meet blue economy professionals along the supply chain, including aquaculture sites, processing factories and seafood restaurants.
5. Due to the COVID19 situation the European Commission, the Irish government, and Cork City Council - took the collective decision to cancel the 2020 European Maritime Day which was to be held on 20 May in Cork.
6. The EU and the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) States have agreed under the terms of their Interim Economic Partnership Agreement, to derogate salted snoek exported from Mauritius to the EU from the requirement to be "wholly originating" under the terms of the rules of origin agreed between the partners. The derogation from the rules of origin will apply to 100 tonnes of salted snoek (barracouta) of HS Heading 0305 69 imported into the Union from May 2020 to May 2021.
7. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2020, containing articles on European Anchovy (Italy, Portugal, Spain) and Atlantic Mackerel (Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain), as well as data on consumption Fresh Herring in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
8. The EMODnet Secretariat has released EMODnet for science, the first video of a series of eight describing the Open Data approach to marine scientific research and promoting global collaboration and trust. The aim is to ensure better coordination of the collection and analysis of marine data to ensure open access, integration and interoperability.
9. During May 2020 there were 19 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 5 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 14 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for cephalopod, crustacean or gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of live mussels from Italy and 3 consignments of frozen Mackerel from China.
10. DG SANTÉ reported on an audit mission conducted in Spain, in May 2019 to evaluate the control systems in place governing the production of fishery products derived from tuna species. The mission found that there were flaws in the Competent Authority's supervision of the fishery sector. This was evident ineffective or not implemented audits of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plans in fish processing establishments, where some non-compliant structural hygiene conditions were also identified. There was a lack of identification marks on the products held at the establishment. Changes in the operations of food business operations had not always been properly notified and the lists of approved establishments were not up-to-date. The authorities had requested the cessation of use of dual tanks (used for both diesel fuel and fish) and had control procedures in place. The Competent Authorities, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación) and the Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Sanidad) were requested to address the deficiencies noted.
11. DG SANTÉ reported on an audit mission conducted in June 2019 to Denmark evaluate the control systems in place governing the production and placing on the market of fishery products. The mission found that the effectiveness of the control system was undermined by shortcomings in the follow-up and enforcement of corrective actions, with no proportionality and lack clear notices and deadlines for food business operators, thus allowing non-compliances to persist. Non-compliances with potentially significant negative impact on food safety were often sanctioned in a similar manner as those with minimal or no direct public health consequences. Several establishments had inadequate control systems; one establishment was approved without having any metal detectors installed. Another had no continuous temperature-recording devices in the cold store. Furthermore, official controls failed to verify and/or ensure FBOs' compliance with the requirements for auction and wholesale markets, and in traceability of fishery products. The Competent Authority, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration of the Ministry of Environment and Food was requested to address the deficiencies noted.
12. DG SANTÉ reported on an audit mission conducted in Côte d'Ivoire in October 2019 to evaluate the control systems in place governing the production and export of fishery products to the EU, and to follow up on the previous 2013 fishery products audit. The mission found that controls over primary production fishery products had only recently resumed by the competent authority and that there were important gaps in the implementation of controls over freezer vessels, and EU listed processing facilities. Controls for histamine do not cover the complete range of products and/or manufacturing processes. Despite improvements, the main laboratory used cannot provide full assurances as to the reliability of the test results. Products were being exported which were not covered by the approval of establishments, and which in some cases were obtained from facilities which were neither approved, nor compliant with European Union rules. The mission concluded that the Competent Authority, the Directorate for Veterinary Services is not in a position to provide reliable guarantees in respect of the health attestations set out in the European Union. Six of the eight recommendations of the previous mission with the Competent Authority had guaranteed to undertake, were not effectively implemented.
13. DG SANTÉ has reported on an audit mission conducted in Tunisia in September 2019 to evaluate the control systems in place governing the production and export of fishery products to the EU and to follow up on the previous 2011 fishery products audit. The mission found that the official controls were not adequately managed, especially in relation to the approval of freezer vessels. Lack of resources meant that inspections and sampling were not consistently carried out in line with the established frequencies, and moreover did not identify and/or record relevant and systemic deficiencies at facilities listed for European Union exports. A recently approved establishment presented significant shortcomings related to structural requirements and the competent authority did not detect or identify shortcomings related to HACCP based procedures in freezer vessels. Controls were also undermined by long delays on the delivery of laboratory test results. The mission concluded that the identified shortcomings impact on the ability of the competent authority, the Directorate General for Veterinary Services to provide consistently, and in full, the guarantees as set out in the EU health certificate. The Competent Authority was requested to address the deficiencies noted.
14. The EU Food Fraud Network published its annual report for 2019, when there were 292 requests from Member States to the Commission for assistance on food fraud events. Forty-two percent of the top 100 were for fishery products (second only to oils and fats). Mislabelling made up almost all of the non-compliances identified. The report describes a case of the EU Commission's coordinated case on illegal trade of European eel, in which over 5 tonnes of smuggled glass eels were intercepted by Europol en route to China (with 43 arrested, including 16 in Spain and 5 in Portugal.
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