FishFilesLite Newsletter
September 2021

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Common Fisheries Policy


1. Commission proposes Mediterranean and the Black Seas fishing opportunities for 2022
2. Commission publishes report on Technical Measures; Action Plan expected in 2022
3. Commissioner Sinkevicius campaigns for Antarctic MPAs
4. Commission extends derogation allowing inshore fishing for sand eel gobies in Spanish waters
5. Corrections corrects rules for closure of the Pandalus shrimp fishery in the Skagerrak.
6. Commission publishes report on EMFF implementation; EU Experts discuss
7. Commission launches initiative 'Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030'
8. EU supports project on marine litter recovery in Italy
9. French pilot project recycles old fishing nets into new nylon products

10. Commission publishes poster on strategy for sustainable aquaculture
11. Eurobarometer survey finds that the COVID-19 crisis has not significantly affected seafood consumption
12. EUMOFA publishes a report on EU fishmeal and fish oil market; consumption fell by 40% from 2009
13. Commission approves speciality names for Hungarian and Romania carp products
14. Commission to review countervailing duties imposed on Turkish rainbow trout for illegal subsidies
15. UNESCO and EU to hold conference on Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning Global Initiative
16. Commission to host conference on "Atlantic Pathways to a Green Blue Economy"

Fish Hygiene


17. Rapid alerts were notified for 43 consignments of fishery products
18. DG SANTÉ reports on desk-based audit of safety of fish product controls in Hungary
19. DG SANTÉ reports on desk-based audit of safety of South African fishery products exported to the EU
20. EU Agri-Food Fraud Network publishes 2020 report; fish fraud accounts for nearly 10% of all cases
21. Food Fraud newsletter for July and August 2021 reports on several cases in Saudi Arabia, Italy and Canada

Common Fisheries Policy


1. The Commission adopted its proposal for fishing opportunities for 2022 in the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. The proposals implement the GFCM Mediterranean multiannual management plan for demersal stocks with a decrease of the fishing effort. Other measures address management measures for eel, red coral, dolphinfish, blackspot seabream, and deep-water shrimp stocks in the Ionian and Levant Seas and the Strait of Sicily. In the Black Sea, the proposal includes catch limits and quotas for turbot and sprat. For turbot, the proposal transposes the EU quota decided in the revision of the GFCM turbot multi-annual management plan. For sprat, the Commission proposes to maintain the same catch limit as in 2021. The Council of Fisheries Ministers of the European Union will discuss the Commission's proposal in December and establish the allocation of fishing opportunities.

2. The Commission published its first report on the implementation of the Technical Measures Regulation (TMR), which sets out the conservation measures governing how, where and when fishing may take place. The Regulation entered into force in August 2019 with the aim of meeting CFP and Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) objectives. The evaluation finds that the regulation has made a positive contribution to reducing the impacts of fishing by allowing adjustment of relevant measures to the specific regional context. Some Member States have already started to develop additional fisheries measures to protect sensitive species and habitats. However more work is required, and the Commission now plans to introduce an "Action Plan to conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems", planned for the spring of 2022.

3. Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, hosted a ministerial meeting to build support for designating new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean. The meeting took place ahead of the 40th annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR, 18-29 October). The Commissioner stated "It is now more imperative than ever to act to turn the tide, as biodiversity loss and climate change are affecting fragile ecosystems at an unprecedented pace."

4. The Commission adopted a regulation which extends a derogation to the ban on the use of certain fishing gears within a minimum distance from the coast and minimum sea depth in the Mediterranean. The derogation is provided to 26 small Spanish vessels using boat seines to catch sand eel (Gymnammodytes cicerelus and G. semisquamatus) and gobies (Aphia minuta and Crystalogobius linearis), within its territorial waters in the Catalan region. The derogation applies for 3 years from 3 July 2021.

5. The Commission adopted a regulation correcting the rules for real-time closure of the Pandalus shrimp fishery in the Skagerrak.

6. The Commission published the latest implementation report of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for 2014 to 2024. The report shows that by the end of 2020, EUR4.1 billion of EMFF funding was committed, corresponding to 71.6% of the total EMFF funding available to the Member States (under shared management). However so far, of the total allocation for 2014-2024 (EUR 5.7 billion), only 42% has been disbursed. The Expert group on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund held a meeting to discuss the rules concerning the inadmissibility of operators' applications, and progress and issues arising during the EMFF implementation, especially concerning measures adopted helped to mitigate the negative effects of the coronavirus crisis on the fishery and maritime sectors.

7. The Commission launched the Mission 'Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030'. As part of Horizon Europe, the initiaive aims to restore the health of European oceans and waters, with Projects to to restore ecosystems and biodiversity, eliminating pollution, and making the blue economy carbon-neutral and circular. Some demonstration projects on environmental monitoring are planned in the first phase.

8. The Commission publicised an EU supported project on a marine litter recovery in Italy, where a coalition of civil society, local institutions and parks has joined forces under the EU supported REMARE project. This has organised organized cleanups and raises awareness in the general public in four Italian marine protected areas, with the help of local fishers from nearly 400 fishing boats from Castellabate to Sapri in the Campania region.

9. The Commission published a press release on an EU supported French project which recycled old fishing nets into a new nylon powder material (Nylo) which can be used for a range of purposes, to create a series of new plastic products, including fashion watches and glass frames. After the pilot phase, the supported operator expects to reach a volume of 100 tonnes of net, recycled and sold by the end of 2021 (around a quarter of all discarded nets in the region of Brittany).

10. The Commission published a new poster "A new strategic vision for sustainable aquaculture production and consumption in the European Union", setting out the benefits of "blue farming" and the current policy and regulatory framework for its Development in the EU. It describes the EU's new (2021) strategic guidelines for the development of this sector.

11. The Commission published a Eurobarometer survey on the latest EU consumer habits regarding fishery and aquaculture products. The study found that the COVID-19 crisis does not seem to have significantly affected the consumption of seafood within the EU, although a slight decrease (of 6 %) was observed since 2018. Sixty-four percent of Europeans continue to eat fish regularly, preferably at home. Appearance (e.g. freshness, presentation) is the key purchase factor for 58% of European consumers, followed by price, and 76% of them would like to see the date of catch/harvest on the label. Thirty-two percent of respondents had strong preference for wild caught fish, and 7% for farmed products.

12. EUMOFA published a report on Fishmeal and Fish Oil Production and Trade Flows in the EU. Each year the EU produces from 400.000 to 600.000 tonnes fishmeal and from 120.000 to 200.000 tonnes of fish oil. This constitutes around 10-15% of the global production. However, EU consumption of fishmeal is decreasing, dropping by 40% from 2009 to 2020, to around 450.000 tonnes annually.

13. The Commission approved the Protected Geographical Indication "Szegedi tükörponty" to be used exclusively for mirror carp from the Szegedi region of Hungary. It also approved the guaranteed Romania traditional speciality "Salata traditionala cu icre de crap". The product is a preserved comminuted carp roe.

14. The Commission published its formal "Notice of initiation" of a partial interim review of the countervailing measures applied to imports of certain rainbow trout originating from Turkey. The notice indicates that significant changes have been made to the structure and the terms of the subsidies granted by the Turkish Government to producers of rainbow trout. This therefore may modify the nature and extent of the existing countervailing duties applied to such products imported into the EU. All interested parties may request to be heard by the Commission investigation services.

15. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) announced the final conference under the joint Marine/Maritime Spatial Planning Global Initiative, to be held on Tuesday 5 October 2021.

16. The Commission announced that it will host the 8th Atlantic Stakeholders Platform Conference (ASPC 2021) on the theme "Atlantic Pathways to a Green Blue Economy". The event will be a hybrid event, held on 21 October 2021 in Dublin, Ireland and online. Registration is now open.

Fish Hygiene


17. During September 2021 there were 43 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 10 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 1 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 8 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 30 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and 1 rapid alert notification for gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of cockles and 2 consignments of mussels from France, 3 consignments of shrimp from Argentina, 2 consignments of shrimp from the Netherlands, 2 consignments of swordfish from Sri Lanka, 2 consignments of swordfish from South Korea and 4 consignments of tuna and 2 consignments of swordfish from Spain.

18. DG SANTÉ published a report of an audit carried out in Hungary in April 2021 to evaluate the food safety controls for fishery products placed on the EU market. The audit outcome was based on a remote review of documentation and control records and interviews of and discussions with representatives of the competent authority at various levels, via videoconference and e-mail exchange. Several deficiencies were identified which impact on the uniform and consistent delivery of official controls. Inappropriate criteria were used for the risk categorisation of establishments, public health controls were not addressed in the the checklist for aquaculture farms, and there were persistent and unaddressed non-compliances in some establishments. In particular the official controls did not identify issues related to deficiencies in operators HACCP systems. The Central Competent Authority, the National Food Chain Safety Office, was requested to address the deficiencies in an action plan, subsequently accepted by the Commission.

19. DG SANTÉ published a report of an audit carried out in South Africa in April 2021 to evaluate the food safety controls for fishery products exported to the EU market. The audit outcome was based on a review of documentation and control records and interviews of and discussions with representatives of the competent authority at various levels, via videoconference and e-mail exchange. The mission found that the official control system covers the requisite elements as set out in European Union law and allows for the Competent Authority (the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications) to verify, and where necessary enforce, the relevant EU requirements. The report does not address any recommendation to the South African CA.

20. The EU's Agri-Food Fraud Network published its annual report for 2020 on food fraud. After frauds involving fats and oils, those concerning fish and fishery products were the most frequently reported, with 34 out of 349 cases. Most of these involved suspicions of illegal treatments e.g. with nitrates and carbon monoxide or undeclared water addition. The report considers some of the reasons for such adulteration practices and the legal basis which prohibits them.

21. The Commission published the Food Fraud newsletter for July and August 2021. It reported that the Saudi Food and Drug Authority seized 412 tons of shrimps, as they were repackaged changing their expiry dates and with falsified labels, potentially threatening consumer health. A report by the NGO Oceana Canada suggested that seafood fraud affected 46% of the samples (43 out of 94) collected in spring in four major cities (Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto). Whereas the mislabelling rate at the retail stage was 6.5%, the rate rose to 56-65% at restaurants. The Government of Canada launched a consultation on their strategy covering boat-to plate traceability in order to tackle fraud in the seafood sector. The Italian authorities seized 500 kg of frozen fish for sushi (mostly salmon) lacking any traceability documentation and sold as fresh. In three other operations, Italian authorities also seized consignments of seafood not compliant with food traceability legislation.

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