FishFilesLite Newsletter
February 2023

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World Seafood Congress

Common Fisheries Policy

1. Commission publishes Staff Working Document on status of the CFP
2. Commission launches a package of new CFP policy measures
3. Commission sets out a "Fisheries and Oceans Pact" on sustainability
4. Commission proposes strengthened market organisation
5. Commission proposes measures for energy transition in fisheries and aquaculture
6. DG MARE publishes factsheet on sustainable inclusive fisheries management.
7. EU Parliament PECH Committee publishes report on EU subsidy fund implementation
8. DG MARE announces 20 new projects to "Restore our Ocean and Waters" by 2030
9. Stop fishing notices published for several fisheries
10. European Data Protection to be applied in EU Seychelles Agreement on Mayotte
11. Commission publishes red card decision on IUU fishing by Cameroon
12. EUMOFA latest market updates and new EU Country Profiles published
13. EUMOFA publishes study on sturgeon meat
14. DG MARE publishes factsheet promoting Community-Led Local Development
15. Commission publishes examples of energy transition in fisheries and aquaculture
16. EU Parliament visits Ecuador
17. EU support helps produce aquaculture feeds using insects and micro-algae

Fish Hygiene

18. Rapid alerts were notified for 31 consignments of fishery products
19. EU Food Fraud Newsletter reports on cases in Bangladesh, Australia and Italy
20. Commission allows sepiolitic clay in salmon (and other animal) feeds

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The Commission published a Staff Working Document on the State of Play of the Common Fisheries Policy, to accompany the - Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council. The document reports on the functioning of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and how it has been able to respond to the impacts of the triple environmental crisis (biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution) on fisheries and aquaculture management, and other issues. It also analyses the socioeconomic challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the high prices of energy and inputs and the disruptions in trade flows due to the geopolitical context and how these factors have had an impact on implementation of the CFP, as well as the new dynamics in fisheries management created by the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, and how managing fish stocks together with third countries has become the rule rather than the exception.

2. The Commission launched a package of measures with a view to improving the sustainability and resilience of the EU's fisheries and aquaculture sector. They include a new Communication on the Energy Transition of the EU Fisheries and Aquaculture sector; an Action Plan to protect and restore marine ecosystems for sustainable and resilient fisheries; a Communication on the common fisheries policy and a report on the future of the Common Market Organisation for Fishery and Aquaculture products. The initiatives aim to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and move towards climate neutral fisheries and aquaculture sector, implement a marine action plan to reinforce the CFP's contribution to the EU's environmental objectives and reduce the adverse impact of fishing activities on marine ecosystems. The Commission hopes to open a new phase of dialogue and cooperation between the Commission and all fisheries stakeholders.

3. The Commission's Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on the current future status of the Common Fisheries Policy was published. It sets out a "Fisheries and Oceans Pact" with steps towards sustainable, science-based, innovative, and inclusive fisheries management which will provide the framework for policy decisions regarding future CFP measures. It commits the Commission to conducting an EU-wide participatory foresight project on "Fishers of the Future", calls on Member States to use a bottom-up approach enabling local fishing communities to address social challenges and needs through community-led local development, call on Member States to fully implement the measures outlined in the marine action plan and ensure that the MSY objective is reached in all sea basins, develop scientific advice in support of the ecosystem-based approach. It also commits the Commission to issue guidance documents for a more sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture for the period 2021-2030.

4. The Commission has published its report to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of the regulation addressing the common organisation of the EU market in fishery and aquaculture products. The report addresses support for producer organisations and the use of EU intervention measures and official marketing standards in creating an orderly, transparent, and equitable market for fish and fishery products which meets the needs of consumers whilst ensuring a sustainable fishery and aquaculture sector. The report concludes that the common market policy helps achieve the CFP objectives in terms of competitiveness, market stability, transparency and ensuring a diverse supply of seafood to consumers. However, it finds that market standards do not sufficiently promote sustainability, and the Commission therefore plans to propose a harmonised EU approach to sustainable fish production under its Farm to Fork strategy. More specific information is considered necessary to empower the consumer to form a fair idea of a products' sustainability. The Commission will address areas for improvement by cooperating closely with stakeholders and national administrations.

5. The Commission published its Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and The Committee of the Regions on the Energy Transition of the EU Fisheries and Aquaculture sector. It notes that in total, the EU fleet consumed over 1.9 billion litres of marine diesel in 2020 to catch and land 4.05 million tonnes of fish valued at EUR 6.3 billion at the first sale. It sets out a vision for climate-neutral fisheries and aquaculture sector. Transition will require enhanced upfront cooperation among all stakeholders to ensure synergies between: (i) the fisheries and aquaculture sector; (ii) shipbuilders; (iii) infrastructure in ports; (iv) scientists; (v) ocean-based renewable-energy systems and producers; (vi) the waterborne transport sector; and (vii) other alternative energy systems to allow innovative technologies and practices for the energy transition to emerge. This will require a new fisheries and aquaculture regulatory framework for energy transition, as well as investment to overcome technological and financial barriers and to address gaps in knowledge and skills.

6. The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission published a factsheet on actions for sustainable and resilient fisheries, aquaculture and marine ecosystems. It sets out the need for action on achieving sustainable fisheries in terms of achieving maximum sustainable yield (MSY) in all fisheries basins, reducing fisheries impact on the seabed, and achieving net zero in carbon emissions in fisheries and aquaculture, all being key elements of the Fisheries and Oceans Pact towards sustainable, science-based, innovative and inclusive fisheries management.

7. The European Parliament PECH Committee published a Research Study on the implementation and impact of the shared management component of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund measures (EMFF) on the Common Fisheries Policy, being the EU's financial instrument supporting fisheries and maritime policies for the period 2014-2020. The study found that up to 2018, the EMFF had a low implementation rate (of 7%), due to complex administrative delivery and policy design and uncertainties associated with circumstantial factors. Stakeholders and beneficiaries signalled that cumbersome applications, low co-financing rates and the constraints of the eligibility criteria reduced the attractiveness of the fund. The Report also analyses the legislative proposal for the post-2020 EMFF and finds that Member States are likely to face a reduction in the budget available to deal with an increased list of mandatory tasks, as the current fisheries and maritime policy measures are enriched by including marine spatial planning, coast guard cooperation and the EU marine data network.

8. Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission announced 20 new "blue planet" conservation projects to "Restore our Ocean and Waters" by 2030. The multinational projects (selected following proposals received by 297 partners from 39 countries) will receive over EUR117 million from the Horizon Europe fund to protect and restore biodiversity, cut pollution, and support a sustainable blue economy. Virginijus Sinkevicius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said "It is by joining our efforts that we will regenerate marine habitats, bring back fish populations, and make our blue economy more sustainable".

9. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by Irish vessels fishing for Norway lobster, Belgian vessels fishing for skates and rays all European Union vessels fishing for cod in the Norwegian waters of Areas 1 and 2.

10. The European Data Protection Supervisor welcomed the inclusion of data protection rights under the terms of the EU Seychelles Agreement concerning access of Seychelles vessels to EU waters around Mayotte. The agreement will establish appropriate safeguards, enforceable data subject rights and effective legal remedies. The Supervisor recommends that the Joint Committee under the Agreement be responsible for ensuring implementation.

11. The Commission published the formal Decision concerning the addition of Cameroon to the list of non-cooperating third countries in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (i.e. the issue of the so-called red card). The main shortcomings identified by the Commission were related to failures to implement obligations under international law, in particular the failure to adopt an adequate and updated legal framework, the lack of clear and transparent registration and licensing procedures, and the lack of efficient and adequate monitoring of fishing vessels.

12. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products (EUMOFA) published its latest edition of 2023, containing articles on Common octopus (France, Portugal, Spain) and horned octopus (France, Italy, Spain), Mackerel in Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain and a case study on mussels in the EU. EUMOFA also updated the EU Country Profiles on their website which provide an analysis of the fisheries and aquaculture supply chain in each Member State of the European Union

13. EUMOFA published a study on Sturgeon meat and other by-products of caviar, focusing on production, trade and consumption in and outside the EU. The study was carried out at the request of the Market Advisory Council which drew attention to the need for a specific assessment of the market for sturgeon and sturgeon meat. The study found that the economic viability of a sturgeon farm producing caviar relies on the existence of a market for the meat. Around 20 tonnes of sturgeon meat are produced for each tonne of caviar. Italy is the largest EU producer of sturgeon, producing 1.051 tonnes in 2020. The major global exporters of sturgeon meat are China, Armenia, and Italy. In 2018, these three countries made up 88% of total sturgeon meat exports. In Europe most consumption takes place in Bulgaria, Ukraine, Serbia, and Romania.

14. The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission published a factsheet promoting Community-Led Local Development through Local Action Groups (LAGs) with a particular focus on fostering a sustainable Blue Economy. It sets out how under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF), 2021-2027, LAGs in coastal areas can obtain support to ensure that their communities benefit from the economic opportunities available.

15. The Commission published a report setting out some of the technological possibilities for energy transition in the fishery and aquaculture sectors. It considers options for new maritime fuels, alternative power sources for vessels, funding sources, adaptation of fishing practices and hull modifications.

16. Seven Members of the European Parliament from the Committee on Fisheries (PECH) led by Pierre Karleskind (Chair) were scheduled to visit Ecuadorian ports, factories and meet with representatives of the sector and national authorities from 22 to 24 February. In meetings with shrimp association representatives in Guayaquil, they will also assess quality and production standards in the shrimp sector.

17. An Italian company has commenced the production of aquaculture feed with novel raw ingredients including insects, micro-algae and agricultural by-products, with support from the EU BlueInvest Readiness Assistance Programme. A BlueInvest coach helped the start-up by equipping it with the right skills to participate in fundraising rounds and by facilitating quality introductions to investors, helping to raise EUR625,000 in equity.

Fish Hygiene

18. During February 2022 there were 31 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 10 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 2 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 3 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 16 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 5 consignments of oysters from France and 2 consignments of clams from Italy.

19. The EU published the latest edition of the Food Fraud Newsletter setting out cases from Bangladesh (adulterated shrimp), Australia (where only 11% of fish and chip retailers correctly identified the species sold) and Italy (where authorities seized 4 tonnes of bivalve molluscs, Cephalopods and other fishery products without traceability documentation).


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