FishFilesLite Newsletter
July 2020

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Common Fisheries Policy

1. Commission announces more transparent in setting fishing opportunities
2. EU Economic and Social Committee approves bluefin tuna management plan
3. Stop fishing notices published for Greek tuna vessels
4. EU-Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement extended for 1 year
5. FPA Protocols for 2019-2024 adopted for FPAs with three West African counties
6. EUMOFA publishes articles on eel, goby and Alaskan pollock
7. EUMOFA publishes case study on EU octopus market
8. Commission amends fishery subsidy rules to compensate for corona related losses
9. Bulgarian fishery sector to receive corona loss subsidy of EUR6.6 million
10. Commission launches consultation on ocean governance agenda and activities
11. Commission adopts updated action plan EU Atlantic blue economy
12. Commission launches consultation on EU's Arctic policy
13. Commission's Research Centre launches data platform for freshwater ecosystems

Fish Hygiene

14. Rapid alerts were notified for 46 consignments of fishery products
15. DG SANTÉ reports in audit of fish hygiene controls in Austria
16. Commission adopts regulation on aquatic animal health controls
17. Commission adopts regulation renewing authorisation salmonid feed colorant
18. Commission approves revised rules for production of Mojama de Barbate
19. EU's food fraud network reports on seizure of illegal fish in Spain and Hong Kong

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission announced that it will increase transparency in the negotiating process on the annual fishing opportunities (or total allowable catches (TACs) and quotas). It proposes that in the future, all the documents complementing the proposals on fishing opportunities, such as "non-papers", will be made public when they are transmitted to the Council. The documents will show how scientific advice and the results of international negotiations are used to determine the proposals made. Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevi?ius said that "With the publication of all elements of our working papers, this dialogue will become more transparent"

2. The European Economic and Social Committee gave an opinion on the Commission's proposal for the multiannual management plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Approving the proposal, the Committee recommended that it be updated in order to incorporate amendments agreed by ICCAT in 2019.

3. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by Greek vessels fishing for bluefin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean, east of 45° W, and in the Mediterranean. A fisheries closure was published by the Commission applying to Greek artisanal vessels fishing for bluefin tuna.

4. Although the parties to the EU-Mauritania Fisheries Partnership Agreement intended to renew their protocol, the negotiations were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The EU and Mauritania have therefore agreed to extend the protocol to the existing Agreement by one year. The EU fleet is authorized to fish in Mauritanian waters for shrimp, demersal fish, tuna and small pelagics, up to around 287,000 tonnes per year. In addition to the fees paid by the European fleet, the EU pays a financial contribution of €61,625,000 per year, including over €4,000,000 to support the fisheries policy in Mauritania, in particular the improvement of research and fisheries governance.

5. The Council of the EU decided to adopt new Protocols for the years 2019-2024 under the Fisheries Partnership Agreements with EU-Cabo Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe and Guinea Bissau.

6. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2020, containing articles on European eel (Italy, Spain, Sweden) and round goby (Estonia, Latvia). Case Studies are presented on the EU market for Alaska pollock and the fisheries and aquaculture products market in the Republic of Korea

7. The European Commission published a EUMOFA case study of the market for octopus in the EU. The study investigates price structures in the supply chain, with a focus on markets in Italy Spain and Greece. The study reveals that the EU is a large importer of octopus (103,909 tonnes imported in 2018, mainly from Morocco and Mauritania). In June 2019, the import price from Morocco was EUR 8.56/kg and retail price was EUR 17.99/kg.

8. The European Commission has amended the regulations for implementation of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to account for the specific financial measures introduced to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the fishery and aquaculture sector. The new regulation modifies the content and structure of the model for EMFF operational programmes and introduces greater flexibility in the structure of the compensation plans for operators.

9. Following the introduction of amendments to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to protect the fisheries and aquaculture sectors from the impacts of the corona pandemic, the Commission has announced that Bulgaria has modified its Operational Programme to deliver an additional EUR6.6 million of public subsidies for companies suffering financial losses caused by the coronavirus. The additional financial support is expected to help prevent bankruptcies, closures, downsizing, and employment reduction. The support includes EUR763,835 to compensate for economic losses from cessation of fishing activities, with grants of up to EUR40,876 per fishing vessel, including compensation for the crew. More than 100 fishermen and women are expected to benefit from this support.

10. The European Commission and the European External Action Service launched a targeted consultation on the EU's international ocean governance agenda and the actions undertaken since 2016 to promote healthy, clean, safe and sustainably managed oceans. The agenda identifies 50 actions to improve the international framework, reduce pressures, facilitate a sustainable blue economy, and strengthen international ocean research. A progress report was published in March 2019 and interested parties are invited to submit opinions and comments until 15 October 2020.

11. The European Commission adopted an updated action plan for a sustainable, resilient and competitive blue economy in the EU Atlantic area, covering France, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. The plan maintains the focus on implementation of the 2011 Atlantic maritime strategy but seeks to strengthen the participating countries' recovery efforts in safeguarding marine and coastal environments and securing a healthy ocean, whilst contributing to the European Green Deal. European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevi?ius, said: "We must put green in the blue and blue in the green.''

12. The European Commission and the European External Action Service jointly launched a public consultation on the way forward for the European Union's Arctic policy. The consultation seeks input on the strengths and shortfalls of the existing policy, with a view to updating the EU's role in Arctic affairs, revision of the priorities set out in EU policy for the Arctic, and identifying possible new policy areas to be developed, especially in relation to managing climate change and its impacts, protecting the environment whilst ensuring sustainable development.

13. The Commission's Joint Research Centre JRC, in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Google have announced the launch of the Freshwater Ecosystems Explorer, a data platform providing up-to-date, high-resolution geospatial data showing the extent to which freshwater ecosystems change over time.

Fish Hygiene

14. During July 2020 there were 46 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 10 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 3 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 5 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 26 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and 2 rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 5 consignments of live clams from Italy, 2 consignments of Norway Lobsters from Ireland and 4 consignments of frozen snapper from Guyana.

15. The Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission carried out an audit in Austria in January 2020 to assess whether the organisation and operation of the official control systems met the requirements of EU law relevant to the food safety conditions of fishery products placed on the market. The audit found that whilst most elements of the control system were in place and implemented effectively, there was a lack of official controls (sampling and testing) by the Competent Authority on water and ice used in fishery product establishments to verify compliance with the requirements of EU Council Directive 98/83/EC. It was also noted that the CA did not specify what processing activities the FBOs were approved for, nor the conditions of approval, risking that non-approved processing activity could take place. A cold store visited by the audit team did not have a temperature recording device, and the temperature of the fish was only -14°C. Own checks for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in smoked products were not always verified by the Competent Authority. Shortcomings in the monitoring of Listeria in ready to eat products identified by the CA at the beginning of 2019 had not been resolved at the time of the audit. The official controls on fishery products did not include testing for dioxins or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the audit team did not consider that the number of samples for PAH testing for official controls was sufficient (18 samples in 2019). The Central Competent Authority, the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection (BMASGK), was requested to guarantee implementation of an agreed plan of corrective actions.

16. The Commission has adopted a regulation strengthening the requirements for animal health certification of aquaculture animals and products moved within the EU, in order to ensure that these products do not pose a significant risk for the spread of the aquatic diseases. The regulation sets out the obligations of operators as regards biosecurity requirements for the transport of aquatic animals. The regulation sets detailed rules for the cleaning and disinfection of the means of transport (including by well boat) of aquatic animals, water exchanges, water discharges and biosecurity measures, as well as requirements for movements between zones or compartments depending on their disease-free status. It also sets conditions for disease-free status of areas from which live fishing baits are obtained and transported. Measures are applied for different fish diseases, depending on the assessed risk to the sector.

17. The European Commission adopted a regulation renewing the authorisation until 2030 of astaxanthin-dimethyldisuccinate as a "sensory additive" in feed for all salmon and trout species. The additive is classed as a colourant (a substance which, when fed to animals, add colours to food of animal origin). The limit is set at 138 mg of active substance per kg of complete feeding stuff with a moisture content of 12 %. Analytical test methods are specified.

18. Following a request from producers, and no objections, the Commission has approved amendments to the rules concerning the Protected Designation of Origin for "Mojama de Barbate", a cured and dried tuna fish loin made in the municipalities of Barbate and Vejer de la Frontera, in the province of Cádiz, Spain.

19. The EU's food fraud network published it monthly newsletter, reporting a number of incidents involving illegal commercialisation of fishery products. In Spain, the Civil Guard seized almost 5 tonnes of Atlantic horse mackerel (Trachurus trachurus or common scad) lacking proper documentation as well as masking its origin. The total value was almost EUR 25 000. In addition, the Hong Kong Customs seized illegal shark products (fins) estimated to belong to 38,500 sharks and valued at EUR950,000. Shark products trade is regulated under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), with 99 shark species classified as endangered or critically endangered.


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