FishFilesLite Newsletter
July 2023

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World Seafood Congress

Common Fisheries Policy

1. European citizens' initiative seeks to ban shark fin trade
2. EU's reports only partial progress to UN Sustainable Development Goal 14
3. EU to update fisheries control system; VMS for all
4. Commission gets powers to adopt regulations on ICCAT decisions
5. EU amends TACs and quotas for Northern prawn Pandalus borealis
6. Stop fishing notices published for EU vessels in North Norway
7. EU provisionally applies new SFPA with Madagascar; allocates opportunities
8. Ex-ante study published of possible future EU-Angola SFPA
9. Scientific Committee reports on EU Morocco FPA
10. Commission publishes list of vessels engaged in IUU fishing
11. DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries tenders flags of convenience study
12. EUMOFA publishes latest edition of 2023 (pilchard, horse mackerel clams)
13. Commissioner Sinkevicius calls EU Ministers to "Our Baltic conference"
14. Commission factsheet on fisheries and aquaculture development in Ireland
15. Commission reports on potential of algae production for animal feed

Fish Hygiene

16. Rapid alerts were notified for 48 consignments of fishery products
17. Commission celebrates 40 years Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed
18. Commission finds shortcomings in Israeli fish export controls
19. Commission amends regulation on materials in contact with food
20. Europol operation LAKE prosecutes glass eel operators
21. EFSA reports safety of acetic acid and salts as additives in fish feeds
22. EFSA assesses bacterial safety heat treatment of pork waste for fish feed

Common Fisheries Policy

1. The European Commission announced the successful European citizens' initiative demanding action to stop the trade in shark fins and issued a Communication on the subject. The goal of the petition, which gathered 1.1 million signatures, is to end the trade of shark fins in the EU, by extending Regulation (EU) No 605/2013 to ban the import, export and transit of loose shark fins. The Commission commits to launch, by the end of 2023, an impact assessment of the measure, improve import and export statistics, strengthen the enforcement of traceability measures and take international action to advocate for a worldwide ban of shark finning.

2. The European Commission presented a mid-term review at the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, setting out how well the EU is doing in meeting the objectives of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 "Life below water", halfway through the implementation of its 2030 Agenda. The Commission considers that the EU has made significant progress achieved under the common fisheries policy (CFP), but sustainability levels have yet to be reached for all fisheries. More work is also needed to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPA). Marine ecosystems remain under stress: good environmental status by 2020 has not been reached under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Virginius Sinkevicius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said: "The EU is committed to achieving the United Nations' sustainable development goals. It's all interlinked. We need a healthy ocean for a healthy planet and healthy people."

3. The Council reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on updated rules to revise the EU's fisheries control system. The main changes will require all fishing vessels to be tracked via a vessel monitoring systems VMS (including for smaller vessels from 2029); registration and electronic catch reporting for recreational fisheries; remote electronic monitoring of landing obligation compliance; and EU minimum levels of financial penalties for serious infringements.

4. The Council of the EU provided a positive opinion on a EU draft Regulation revising the multiannual management plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic. The proposals will align EU law with the decisions of ICCAT, and importantly delegate to the Commission the power to adopt acts in respect of decisions concerning a wide range of technical measures, including deadlines for reporting information, time periods for fishing seasons, derogations from the prohibition on the carry-over of unused quotas, minimum conservation reference sizes, percentages and parameters, the information to be submitted to the Commission, tasks for national observers and regional observers, reasons for refusing the authorisation to transfer fish, reasons for seizing the catches and for ordering the release of fish. Measures concerning conditions of transfer of bluefin tuna to aquaculture are also included in the delegation of powers.

5. The EU amended 2023 fishing TACs and quotas for Northern prawn Pandalus borealis in ICES division 3a.

6. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by Member States of the European Union fishing for Greenland halibut, haddock and other species in the Norwegian waters of 1 and 2.

7. The EU adopted a decision to provisionally apply the newly negotiated EU-Madagascar Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and Protocol, pending its ratification. The Agreement and the Protocol should be applied on a provisional basis from 1 July 2023. The President of the Council is authorised to designate the person(s) empowered to sign the Agreement on behalf of the EU. The EU also decided to allocate the fishing opportunities available under the protocol to the new EU-Madagascar Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement to 32 tuna seine vessels from Spain, France and Italy, and 33 surface longliners from Spain, France and Portugal.

8. The Commission published an ex-ante study of the impacts of a possible Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Republic of Angola. The study found that fishing opportunities could be provided under a new Agreement for 20-25 EU tuna vessel (with an indicative reference tonnage of around 5 000 - 7 000 tonnes per year), 11 deep-sea shrimp vessels and 3 cephalopod/demersal vessels, which would secure existing private access arrangements by these segments. Access for EU small pelagic trawlers would not be aligned with sustainability requirements and the principle of surplus resources. Policy options for the parties include a tuna-only and a mixed species SFPA/ Protocol.

9. The Commission published a report of the Scientific Committee of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Morocco. The report reviews the catches made by each fleet segment operating under the Agreement, and the state of the stocks in each case. It considers small scale pelagics, deepwater longline, pole and line, demersal trawl and industrial seine fishing.

10. The Commission published its updated list of vessels engaged in IUU fishing. Listed vessels are mostly of unknown flag. Sri Lanka, India and Oman flagged vessels are also present.

11. The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has issued an open call for tender for study on the dynamics and effects of open registers (often referred as 'flags of convenience') for fishing vessels registration. The study is financed with EUR 400,000 under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) and aims to shed light on the business models of operators using open registers, and the various actors involved, as well as to propose solutions to address the problems identified.

12. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2023, containing articles on European pilchard (France, Portugal, Spain) and Mediterranean horse mackerel (France, Italy, Spain), Clams in Italy and Portugal and Case Studies on fisheries and aquaculture in Hungary and pollack in the EU.

13. Commissioner Sinkevicius responsible for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries has called on Ministers to attend an "Our Baltic conference", to be held in Palanga (Lithuania) in September, to decide on further measures to improve the environmental situation of the Baltic Sea. The conference will be attended by eight EU coastal countries concerned: Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Finland and Sweden. The main topics on the agenda will be environment & fisheries, economic activities linked to the sea ("blue economy") and how to deal with unexploded munitions.

14. The Commission has published a factsheet on Community-led Local Development under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) in Ireland. It sets out some of the initiatives implemented by the seven fisheries Local Action Groups which create employment and economic activity in fisheries and aquaculture coastal areas.

15. The Commission published a report on the potential of 10 aquatic microalgae and macroalgae production systems in contributing to animal feed requirements in the EU. It summarizes the current state of knowledge in terms of biomass, nutritional yields, costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and compares production systems against land-based crops (e.g. soya) with similar nutritional properties. It also assesses the EU potential for algae production to be supported by current CO2 point-source emissions. Ot concludes that more R&D is required on additional, land-based production systems, post-harvest processing, and nutritional values in animal feeds.

Fish Hygiene

16. During July 2022 there were 48 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 4 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 1 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 11 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 31 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of clams from Italy, 7 consignments of shrimp from Ecuador, 3 consignments of swordfish from Spain, and 4 consignments of Fish oil in gelatine capsules from the USA.

17. The Commission issued a press release to celebrate 40 years of the operation of the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) system. As well as describing the evolution of the system, the Commission sets out some of RASFF's main achievements in the past 40 years.

18. DG SANTÉ of the European Commission has reported on a remote assessment of the control systems in place in Israel governing the production of fishery products intended for export to the European Union. The study found that since the previous Commission audit in 2009, the responsibility for the official controls has been extended from Israel Veterinary Services and Animal Health under the Ministry of Agriculture to also include the Ministry of Health. Generally, the assessment found a sound legal framework and a robust competent authority structure. However, a number of shortcomings were identified, notably the lack of hygiene checks and controls on aquaculture farms. Imported fish oils used in the manufacture of fishery products exported to the EU were not subject to checks on the EU eligibility of the raw materials. and the inadequate verification of the EU-eligibility of imported raw materials. These defects were considered to impact on the competent authorities' ability to attest reliably to the guarantees set in the EU model official certificates. The Competent Authorities were requested to provide a guarantee to implement a plan of corrective actions.

19. The European Commission has amended its regulation on plastic materials and articles intended to come into contact with food. Untreated wood fibre and salicylic acid are no longer authorised to be used in materials in contact with food, and a number of new plasticizer authorisations are made (phthalic acid and a range of esters). In some cases restrictions apply (e.g. temperature limitations).

20. In the Commission's monthly roundup of food fraud events, it reported findings in Italy (various shellfish) and Brazil (illegal shark fins). It also reported on Operation LAKE, coordinated by Europol, which led to the arrest of 256 persons responsible for the trafficking of 25 tons of glass eels (total value of EUR 13 million).

21. Following a request from the European Commission, EFSA reported on a risk assessment of the safety of the feed additives acetic acid, calcium acetate and sodium diacetate for fish. The additives are already authorised for use for all animal species other than fish. Considering all the available information, the FEEDAP Panel concluded that acetic acid (and its salts by analogy) is considered safe for fish up to the maximum recommended supplementation level of 2,500?mg acetic acid/kg complete feed.

22. EFSA conducted an assessment on the level of inactivation of pathogens that could be present in processed animal protein of porcine origin intended to feed poultry and aquaculture animals when various regulatory treatments were conducted. The study used Salmonella senftenberg, Enterococcus faecalis, spores of Clostridium perfringens and parvoviruses as target indicators, and estimated the certainty of achieving targeted reduction of spores under different treatments, which were found to vary between 25 and 99% efficacy.


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