Key developments in EU fisheries policy in April 2011
Within the framework of the common fisheries policy the following developments have taken place:
Common Fisheries Policy
1. Commission to present detailed CFP reform package on 13 July 2011, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to MegaPesca.Com.
2. Commission approves implementation rules for 2010 fisheries control regulation
3. Commission indicates more than 70 vessels to be on the EU's IUU blacklist
4. DG MARE publishes report on fisheries-dependent communities in EU
5. Fisheries Ministers discuss fishing effort management in Western waters
6. European Commission requests ICCAT to suspend Libyan tuna fishing activities
7. Commission extends bluefin control and inspection programme to 2014
8. Stop fishing notices published for French, Portuguese and Swedish vessels
9. Commission undertakes to publish evaluations of Fishery Partnership Agreements
10. New sanitary regime for imports of fishery products from Greenland
11. New tariff quotas for fishery products originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina
12. France and Ireland face fines for non-compliance with marine environmental regulation
13. World Ocean Review presented to the Commission and European Parliament
14. Commission updates European Atlas of the Seas
15. Rapid alerts notified for 63 consignments of fishery products in April 2011
16. DG SANCO reports on Algeria; live bivalve mollusc controls non-existent
17. DG SANCO reviews controls for smoke carcinogens in smoked fish in Estonia
18. Commission amends heavy metals requirements in crustacean; muscle meat only
19. Commission advice consumers against consumption of "brown crab meat"
20. Commission introduces controls for radiation in Japanese fish and food products
21. Closed aquaculture facilities redefined for alien and locally absent species controls
22. Commission says polyphosphates in salted dried fish to be considered as additive
23. New animal health certification for movement of Pacific oysters
24. Portugal, Denmark and UK notify Commission of changes in fish disease status
25. Commission justifies proposed level for non-dioxin-like PCBs in fish oil.
26. Commission comments on Codex Code of Practice for Fish and Fishery Products
Common Fisheries Policy
1. At a meeting with the European Parliament, Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Mrs. Damanaki, announced that the Commission will adopt the detailed proposals for the first package of Common Fisheries Policy reforms on 13 July, 2011. The first package will include a Communication, a new basic regulation, a new Common Market regulation, and a Communication on the external dimension of fisheries policy, as well as a report and recommendations on fisheries access. A new financial regulation will also be proposed for adoption by the end of 2011. The plan is to implement the reform CFP measures during the course of 2012.
2. The European Commission published the draft regulation setting out the implementation measures for the 2010 fisheries control regulation. The measure includes a new approach to harmonising penalties for infractions against fisheries regulations, to ensure that serious infringements lead to similar consequences in all Member States. It also sets out new controls along the supply chain (from net to plate) as well as procedures to be employed by the Commission to ensure compliance by the Member States, through, independent inspections and audit, administrative enquiries, suspension or withdrawal of EU funds and reduction of quotas and fishing effort in EU countries which do not apply the rules. The Commission has indicated that it will act to ensure that the rules are enforced with zero tolerance.
3. In a speech, European Commissioner Mrs.Damanaki, explained the content and rationale for the new fisheries control regulation and indicated that more than 70 IUU vessels from 11 third countries and 5 Member States are being reviewed for inclusion in the EU's blacklist of vessels engaged in IUU fishing.
4. DG MARE of the European Commission has published the final report of the study "Regional social and economic impacts of change in fisheries-dependent communities". The study describes the trends in the socio-economic characteristics of 24 case study coastal communities dependent on fisheries in recent years, with regard to employment, and income, and dependency on different fisheries activities (fishing, processing and aquaculture). The study found that most sectors are constrained by availability of resource, and that there is an ongoing trend towards reduced employment levels in the catching sub-sector. There has been increased substitution of key demersal species for processing, often in the form of cheaper imports, and the scale of port infrastructure is generally adequate. Subsidies as a percentage of sector turnover varied, and represented significant proportions in some cases (up to 457%). Subsidies were generally higher in the Mediterranean, Baltic and Black Sea regions than in the North Sea and Atlantic regions. Support for aquaculture was generally limited to Mediterranean locations.
5. Fisheries Ministers of EU Member States discussed a Communication from the Commission from November 2010, regarding the regime for fishing effort management in Western waters, established in 1995 to safeguard balances that existed at the time of full integration of Spain and Portugal into the common fisheries policy. The Commission has proposed a modified regime, which is more closely aligned with fisheries conservation objectives.
6. European Commission requested ICCAT to suspend tuna fishing activities conducted by Libyan vessels, since the Libyan Government is not in a position to ensure compliance with ICCAT rules regarding conservation of bluefin tuna.
7. The Commission decided to extend the EU's specific control and inspection programme for bluefin tuna from 15 March 2011 to 15 March 2014, as part of the implementation of the multi-annual recovery plan for this species.
8. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota in respect of French vessels fishing for anglerfish, red seabream and deep-sea sharks, Portuguese vessels fishing for deep-sea sharks, and Swedish vessels fishing for northern prawn in Norwegian waters south of 62° N.
9. In a speech to the European Parliament, Mrs. Maria Damanaki European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, described the renewal of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EC and Comoros, and undertook to make the ex-ante and ex-post evaluations of Fishery Partnership Agreements available to Parliament.
10. In the same speech, Mrs.Damanaki also undertook to ensure that sanitary measures and certification procedures for imports of fishery products from Greenland were simplified to ensure that they can be traded as part of the single European market.
11. Following the signature of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement in 2008, the EU has opened up tariff quotas for a range of fishery products originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina, including trout, carp, seabass and seabream, and prepared and preserved sardines and anchovies (all at 0% apart from the last two).
12. The Commission asked France and Ireland to comply with EU legislation requiring Member States to draw up legislation to implement the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC). National measures should have been notified by 15 July 2010. France and Ireland were given two months to comply or face action in the Court of Justice, and possible financial sanctions.
13. Mrs. Maria Damanaki European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries gave a speech to the European Parliament on the occasion of the Presentation of the World Ocean Review. She hopes that the 21st century is a time of renewal for the state of the world's oceans.
14. The Commission announced that it has updated and improved the European Atlas of the seas, an online database of marine and fisheries-related information, available at: http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs/atlas/index.html
15. Rapid alerts were notified by the Commission in respect of failure to comply with health conditions for 10 consignments of bivalve molluscs, 3 consignments of cephalopods, 6 consignments of crustaceans, and 44 consignments of fish and fish products, including 5 consignments of scallops from the United States, 3 consignments of frozen squid and shrimps from Albania, 2 consignments of white dogfish from Senegal, 9 consignments of various fishery products including anchovies and frozen fish from Morocco and 4 consignments of frozen tilapia and haddock fillets from China.
16. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to Algeria in November 2010, with regard to sanitary conditions for fishery products and live bivalve molluscs, following up from a previous mission in 2009. The mission found that 7 out of the 12 recommendations from the previous mission had been implemented. Although controls were generally satisfactory, there were some deficiencies in the monitoring of heavy metals, and a lack of sanitary controls on fishing vessels. With regard to controls on bivalve molluscs, these were found to be non-existent. Previous recommendations of the Commission, made in 2003, had not been implemented. The controls could not therefore be considered equivalent to those set out in EU legislation. The mission made recommendations to be addressed, in the form of a plan of corrective actions to be submitted by the Competent Authority (Direction des Services Vétérinaires).
17. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO reported on a mission to Estonia in February 2010 to gather data on the production and official controls of smoked fishery products with special regard to their levels of contamination with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). The mission was conducted in the context of ongoing discussions on a possible amendment of Commission Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 to reduce the maximum limit for PAH and to include markers other than benzo(a)pyrene. Estonian smoked fishery products (principally smoked sprat in oil) have in the past been associated with a number of RASFF notifications. The mission found that the smoking techniques and the official control system presently in place are able to ensure compliance with the currently established PAH maximum levels and that the reduction of the levels of PAH for smoked fishery products produced from species other than sprat would not have an impact on the overall production of smoked fishery products in Estonia.
18. The Commission amended the regulation regarding contaminants in fishery products, to specify that the maximum permissible levels of heavy metals in crab and other crustacean applies to muscle meats from the appendages and body only (not as previously "edible portions", since the levels of cadmium in some parts such as such "brown meat" can be significantly elevated). The regulation also sets new levels for cadmium in dried bivalve powder and seaweed.
19. The Commission published advice to consumers indicating that consumption of "brown crabmeat" should be discouraged or limited" due to the presence of elevated levels of cadmium. In the EU, consumers' exposure to cadmium is already at or above the tolerable weekly intake level recommended by the European Food Safety Authority.
20. The Commission passed a regulation establishing strengthened controls on food and fishery products from certain regions of Japan where production could be affected by the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Each consignment of food from these regions should be accompanied by a declaration by the Japanese authorities - attesting that the product does not contain radioactive elements above the maximum permissible levels. The levels were adjusted to ensure consistency with action levels currently applied in Japan. At least 10% of consignments must undergo laboratory analysis.
21. The Commission passed a Regulation amending the definition of ‘closed aquaculture facilities' which have certain exemptions with regard to controls on the holding, production and transport of alien and locally absent species of fish. The new definition follows the findings of the Community-funded concerted action ‘Environmental impacts of alien species in aquaculture' (IMPASSE). Member States are also required to draw up a list of closed aquaculture facilities located in their territory.
22. The Commission discussed the (currently prohibited) use of polyphosphates in the preparation of salted dried fish. Industry and Member states have made representations to permit this use to stabilise colour and help prevent oxidation. The Commission was of the opinion that this application should be considered via the process for approval of additives (not processing aids).
23. The Commission approved a Regulation setting out new animal health certification requirements for consignments of Pacific oysters intended for farming or relaying areas, or for dispatch or purification centres to ensure that they originate from an area with an equivalent health status in terms of ostreid herpesvirus-1 OsHV-1 μνar. The measures follow findings from epidemiological investigations undertaken in 2009 which suggested that a newly described strain plays a major role in increased mortality.
24. Portugal notified the Commission of nine VHS and IHN free areas and Denmark four VHS free areas in accordance with Article 50 of Council Directive 2006/88/EC. The British Government informed the Commission and the other Member States of the detection of Bonamia exitiosa in a flat oyster in Great Britain. Further investigations are underway.
25. The Commission provided Member States with more information to justify the proposed level for non-dioxin-like PCBs in fish oil.
26. The Commission provided extensive comments on the draft Codex Code of Practice for Fish and Fishery Products, on the occasion of the meeting of the Codex Committee on Fish and fishery products at Tromsø in April 2011.