1. The European Parliament approved in principle the Commission's 2018 proposals for reforms of the EU fisheries control system. These include the tracking of all fishing vessels, electronic reporting of all catches, improving traceability of fishery products and harmonising sanctions for infringements of fisheries rules across the EU. In addition, Parliament introduced a simplified electronic logbook for small vessels under 12 metres, and require the creation of a 'Union register' of infringements centralising Member States information, as well as the use of uniform formats for a wide range of control documents throughout the EU. As regards the use of CCTV technology on board, Parliament adopted an amendment making it mandatory for a minimum percentage of fishing vessels over 12 metres, (considered to be at a high risk of non-compliance with the landing obligation).
2. Under the provisional application of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the EU and UK have engaged in further consultations regarding the management of shared stocks. In the meanwhile, the EU has adopted a Regulation to extend provisional unilateral Union TACs in order to create legal certainty for EU vessels fishing for certain shared fish stocks and to ensure the continuation of sustainable fishing activities until the consultations are concluded. The EU has amended the 2021 and 2022 TACS and Quotas accordingly.
3. Stop fishing notices have been published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by Portuguese vessels fishing for plaice in the Union waters of CECAF 34.1.1. and artisanal Portuguese vessels fishing for Bluefin tuna in the archipelagos of Madeira and Azores.
4. The Commission announced the launch of an overall evaluation of the sustainable fisheries partnership agreements (SFPAs) concluded between the EU and third countries. The Commission has launched a public consultation, to provide citizens and concerned stakeholders an opportunity to contribute their views on SFPAs and their implementation. The online public consultation is open until 23 June 2021 and can be found on the Commission's Have Your Say website at: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12728-Evaluation-of-SFPAs
5. On 22 April 2021, the EU and Greenland signed a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) and Protocol. The Protocol will have a duration of four years with the possibility of a two-year extension and will allow the EU fleet to continue fishing in Greenland waters for cod, redfish, Greenland halibut, northern prawn, capelin and grenadier. Fishing opportunities for mackerel have also been included in the agreement at a zero TAC level. The total annual financial contribution to Greenland will be EUR21,600,000. A significant part of this contribution, EUR2,900,000 per year, is earmarked to promote the development of the fisheries sector in Greenland. For the whole duration of the protocol, the total estimated value amounts to EUR130,000,000.
6. The Administrative Board of the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) appointed Dr.Susan Steele as the agency's new Executive Director, with a five year term. Dr Steele was previously Executive Chair and CEO of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority of Ireland since 2013.
7. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest editions of 2020, containing articles on (in Edition No.3) Blackbellied angler (Italy, Portugal, Spain) and gilthead seabream (France, Portugal, Spain), and a review of the market for Fresh Pollack in Germany. In Edition No.4 there are articles on Norway Lobster (Denmark, France, Sweden), the consumption of Flounder in Denmark and Sweden and Case Studies on Fisheries Management in the Baltic Sea and Cuttlefish in the EU.
8. EUMOFA published a study on the Impact of seafood imports on the EU Small-Scale Coastal Fleet, focusing on vessels<12 metres that use passive (i.e. non-towed) fishing gears. The study, which examined species substitutability in 13 species-specific case studies, found only two cases (cod in southern Sweden and lobster in the UK), in which the extra-EU imports may have had an impact on fishers' incomes through their effect on market prices. The study concludes that several key seafood markets in the EU which are of importance for the small-scale fisheries are not significantly integrated with imports, suggesting that overall impact of imports may be limited. However, the authors advise against extrapolation of the findings to broader conclusions at the EU level.
9. The EU published a report and recommendations on the "Sustainability criteria for the blue economy". The study considers that the blue economy can play a central role in alleviating the pressures on land resources and fostering climate change mitigation and adaptation. But achieving significant long-term benefits for economic development, including for local communities will require a framework for managing potential impacts of blue investments. This should be based on a common understanding at the international level of the impacts and how they are to be measured, and the study proposes relevant criteria and indicators for sustainability across various blue economy sectors.
10. The European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevi?ius hosted a meeting of EU fisheries and environmental ministers to build support for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) proposals for the designation of new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean, in particular in East Antarctica and in the Weddell Sea. The proposed MPAs would cover an area of more than 3 million km2. The initiative is co-sponsored by the United States and New Zealand and has widespread international support.
11. European Commission's Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) announced that the annual Seminar on Fisheries Science will be held on 1 June 2021 with a focus on marine protected areas (MPAs), regarding which the EU has a target of protecting at least 30% of EU waters with MPAs by 2030. The seminar will be of interest to a wide range of stakeholders such as scientists, MPA managers, fishing industry, NGOs, and the representatives of the European Commission, Parliament, Council and Member States. The event will also be live-streamed on Twitter using the dedicated hashtag #EUFishEcon.
12. The Commission issued a reminder that the virtual European Maritime Day will be held from Den Helder, The Netherlands on 20 and 21 May 2021. There will be plenaries on Sustainable Blue Economy and Green Recovery, 20 workshops, 3 pitch stage sessions and many B2B meetings opportunities. Many of the events will be broadcasted from Den Helder "EMD studio", where moderators and key speakers will be connected remotely with other speakers. Registered participants will be able to attend all these sessions via web-streaming and stakeholders' workshops will be interactive and will run virtually via video conferencing tools.
13. The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission have launched a Conference on the Future of Europe, which provides an opportunity for Europeans express their opinions on, amongst other subjects "Sustainable EU of the future: What role for oceans and fisheries?" Interested parties can engage with a multilingual digital platform to share thoughts and ideas, find and organise events and follow the progress and the outcome of the Conference. Conclusions and guidance on the future of Europe are expected to emerge by Spring 2022.
14. Due to a problem with the RASFF Website we are unable to gather the information for this month. However both April and May information will be included in next months Fishfiles Lite.
15. The Commission Implementing Regulation 2019/2235 came into force on 21 April, setting the new model sanitary and animal health certificates to be used for entry into the Union of products of animal origin intended for human consumption and certain live aquatic animals and their products. The Regulation includes guidance notes for completion of certificates.
16. The Commission's Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed Section Biological Safety of the Food Chain considered the health certification of fishery products caught by EU Member State freezer vessels in international waters and exported to third countries by reefer vessels. In cases where the Competent Authorities of the third Country of destination required that the Competent Authority of the flag state issue a health certificate, the Commission clarified that under Article 88 of Regulation (EU) 2017/625 the captain of the vessel should be allowed to sign the health certificate providing that all the requirements of that Article were respected.
17. The EU Food Fraud Network reported on an article in the UK Guardian concerning a meta study of 44 recent studies, for a totality of 9 000 seafood samples in more than 30 countries, finding that 36% were mislabelled and replaced with another species. It was also reported that Italian authorities seized more than 7 tons of seafood products with no traceability documentation and 560 kg of whitebait (mixed small sizes of pelagic fish) which were fished illegally. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), as part of the enhanced fish species substitution surveillance (2019 to 2020), reported that 8% of fish samples were mislabelled in the Canadian marketplace
18. EFSA published new guidance to help food suppliers decide what information to give consumers about storing food and time limits for consumption. The guidance includes a tool to help decide whether to provide consumers with additional information in addition to the 'use by' or 'best before' dates (for example in relation to shelf-life once packages are opened). The opinion also includes advice on good practices for defrosting food safely.
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