1. The EU's Agriculture and Fisheries Council agreed on a set of new strategic guidelines for a more sustainable, resilient, and competitive aquaculture sector for the period 2021 to 2030, as proposed by the European Commission. They also underlined the priority for the development of new freshwater and marine aquaculture methods with low environmental impact and emphasized the need to ensure the provision of nutritious, healthy and safe food and to reduce the EU's high dependence on imports of fishery and aquaculture products.
2. The Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies of the European Parliament has produced a study for the PECH Committee "Costs and benefits of spatial protection measures as tools for fisheries management" considering the economic viability of spatial protection measures, including Fish Stock Recovery Areas and Marine Protected Areas. The study used three case studies from France, Spain and Greece and found that there is evidence that such areas provide economic benefits to fisheries and aquaculture sectors in Europe.
3. The Commission published an article on the Torre Guaceto, one of the EU's oldest Marine Protected Areas, located in Puglia, southern Italy, which was established in 1991 and extends over 2,227 hectares and covers 8.4 km of coastline. Co-management principles have allowed the identification of no-take and nursery areas and limit the number of fishers who have access to the reserve. As a result, fishers in the local community feel highly privileged and have received support from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) for several projects, aiming at managing stocks and co-designing with small-scale fishers the rules for activities in the MPA.
4. On 29 June, the EU and Norway concluded fisheries consultations with an agreement to modernise the exchange of fisheries data for control purposes. The delegations agreed to use a common software platform for data exchanges, the FLUX Transportation Layer, developed by the European Commission. The parties will start using the software to exchange vessel position data from 1 January 2023, with other types of data to follow. EU and Norway also agreed to increase the frequency of transmissions of vessel positions to 30 minutes for Danish, Swedish and Norwegian vessels fishing in the Skagerrak.
5. The Commission amended the regulations on conservation and enforcement measures applicable to EU vessels operating in the waters of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO). The measures apply recent NAFO decisions on research vessels and entry/exit procedures.
6. Stop fishing notice has been published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by Member State vessels fishing for Greenland halibut in Norwegian waters of 1 and 2. The Commission has applied adjustments to Spanish quotas for 2021 to 2023 due to under-utilisation of mackerel quotas in previous years. The Council has amended a number of fishing quotas for 2022, including for anchovy, Northern prawn, sprat and for yellowfin tuna (in IOTC area of competence).
7. The EU updated its list of IUU fishing vessels, thus denied access to the EU markets and ports.
8. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2022, containing articles on common sole and plaice, consumption of squid in Italy, herring and organic aquaculture in the EU.
9. The Commission adopted the subsidy programme submitted by Austria under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund 2021-2027. The subsidy worth EUR6.7 million will support the implementation of the EU's common fisheries policy (CFP) and EU policy priorities outlined in the European Green Deal, in particular in promoting sustainable inland fisheries, aquaculture and processing activities, and the conservation of Austria´s aquatic resources and food security through the supply of fishery products.
10. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Commission issued a Joint Communication "Setting the course for a sustainable blue planet" furthering the aims of the EU's International Ocean Governance agenda. The statement sets out the EU's policy aims and priorities on ocean governance and describes the tools it will use to bring these about.
11. The EU adopted specific measures to alleviate the consequences of Russia's war against Ukraine on fishing activities and to mitigate the effects of the market disruption on the supply chain of fishery and aquaculture. Member States may use finance under EMFF, including the compensation of recognised producer organisations.
12. The Commission has updated the list of invasive alien species of concern to the EU following revies of the available evidence and risk assessment.
13. During July 2022 there were 29 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 2 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 4 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 5 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 18 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of chilled shortfin squid from Spain, 2 consignments of shrimp from the Netherlands, 2 consignments of shrimp from Ecuador, and 3 consignments of sardine from Morocco.
14. The Commission has updated its annual RASFF report format to an EU Alert and Cooperation Network Report, which also now includes non-compliance notifications and fraud notifications. The latest report, published in July 2022 sets some of the main food safety issues during 2021. Listeria monocytogenes accounted for 16% of the notifications related to pathogenic microorganisms in food, with fish and fishery products accounting for 33 out of 105 notifications. In terms of fraud, fish and fishery products accounted for 10% or reports, most frequently in relation to illegal colour-stabilizing treatments in tuna, often in products intended for canning but treated for direct sale instead. Thirty-nine percent of the fraud notifications on fishery products involved suspicions of illegal treatment of tuna (carbon monoxide, nitrates and nitrites), abuse of additives (ascorbic and citric acid) and labelling deficiencies. A foodborne outbreak was also reported in RASFF with 12 persons poisoned after consuming tuna illegally treated with a high dose of nitrites. Other suspicions of fraud concern regarded the undeclared addition of water in frozen pangasius fillets and shrimps.
15. The Commission has published updated guidance for third countries interested in exporting farmed products of animal origin intended for human consumption to the European Union (EU). The guidance concerns the requirements for official controls on residues and contaminants in such products and sets out the latest guidance on how to design a residue monitoring plan which will satisfy the requirements for listing the third country, including for aquaculture products. The measures apply during an interim period until a new legal framework on the monitoring of residues of veterinary medicinal products enters into force on 15th December 2022. Although Directive 96/23/EC is no longer in force, each third country continues to be required to submit a plan setting out the guarantees which it offers as regards the monitoring of the groups of resides and substances referred to in Annex I that Directive.
16. To promote the responsible use of antimicrobials in animals and to reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance to public health Member States have indicated support for the Commission's proposal to establish a list designating those antimicrobials to be reserved exclusively for treating certain infections in people and prohibiting their use in animals under any circumstances. The aim is to preserve the efficacy of antimicrobials that are of paramount importance for human health by limiting the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in pathogenic bacteria. The antimicrobials listed are based on scientific advice provided by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in February 2022.The Commission will formally adopt the list in the coming weeks to be in force 6 months after publication. Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said: "The list voted today, the first of its kind in the EU, and a landmark worldwide, is a major step forward in our One-Health policy".
17. The Commission and Member States agreed to adopt a 2021 Commission Recommendation on an elevated level of monitoring of mercury in fish, crustaceans and molluscs during 2022 to 2024, with a view to improving the understanding of the risks associated with consumption (SANTE/2021/10856). Member States are also to report to the Commission or EFSA on the effectiveness of their consumption advice for fish, crustaceans and bivalve molluscs by 30 March 2025.
18. Rapid alerts were notified for failure to comply with health conditions for bivalve molluscs and products thereof from Spain (chilled shortfin squid, thawed tuna loins, anchovy fillets, frozen shark, frozen swordfish), Netherlands (shrimp. frozen smoked salmon, Mackerel), Denmark (common ling), and Malta (scabbard fish).
19. The EU's Food Fraud Newsletter for June 2022 contained reports of fraudulently marketed fishery products in: Italy: Bluefin tuna without catch documentation and Bivalves with incorrect packing dates; Romania: Illegal caught carps and catfish (using electro-fishing and other banned gears)
20. The Commissions Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed Section Controls and Import Conditions discussed changes to the list of third countries in the lists of third countries or regions thereof authorised for the entry into the Union of certain fishery products. The Committee agreed to amendments to the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/405 (not yet published).
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