Connect with us

Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR)

EU Fisheries ministers' all-night debate leads to continued Baltic #overfishing

SHARE:

Published

on

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Light painting of artwork by Belgian street artist Gijs Vanhee, showing fish swimming outside the Luxembourg conference centre where the AGRIFISH meeting was taking place late at night.  

Campaign organization Our Fish this morning (10 October) slammed the decision by EU fisheries ministers to set 2018 western Baltic cod quotas four times higher than cautious scientific advice during an all night AGRIFISH meeting in Luxembourg.

After hours of deliberations that continued until after 6am, EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council ministers agreed to set Total Allowable Catches (TAC) for western Baltic cod at 5,597 tonnes, four times higher than the most cautious scientific advice, despite the stock being critically overfished. Eastern Baltic cod was set at 28,388 tonnes, almost four thousand tonnes higher than scientific advice.

“Despite staying up all night, all EU fisheries ministers accomplished is once again setting Total Allowable Catches for Baltic cod far higher than recommended by scientific advice”, said Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard. “EU citizens would be better served by ministers who understand that quotas need to be a fraction of current levels, so that Baltic cod stocks can recover from decades of overfishing.”

Advertisement

“This is the fourth year in a row that the Council of EU fisheries ministers have set fishing limits for western Baltic cod significantly above scientific advice, despite the stock being severely overfished. Governments are pursuing a downward spiral of these once great fish stocks, which has serious ecological and social impacts, and goes against both EU fisheries law and public sentiment.”

“It is already well established that setting fishing limits based on scientific advice will help ensure healthy fish stocks, and reap greater social and economic benefits for communities”, said Hubbard. “Yet despite this opportunity, fisheries ministers are still unwilling to follow scientific advice. With relative profits of the fishing industry at an all time high and fish stocks severely overfished, fisheries ministers are missing a perfect opportunity to secure sustainable Baltic cod stocks”, concluded Hubbard.

AGRIFISH meets again in December 2017 to discuss and decide on Total Allowable Catches for fish stocks in the North East Atlantic. Deliberations are expected to be even more laborious than for the Baltic stocks, with more than 150 stocks under discussion.

Advertisement

Share this article:

Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR)

Fishing rules: Compulsory CCTV for certain vessels to counter infractions

Published

on

Parliament has adopted its negotiating position on the new Fisheries Control system, which will reform the rules that have governed EU fishing activities since 2010. Plenary session  PECH

By 401 votes in favour, 247 against and 47 abstentions, MEPs agreed to use new technologies to better enforce fishing rules and improve security and transparency. They also insist that consumers must know when, where and how the products they buy are caught.

The use of on-board cameras (CCTV) to carry out checks on landing obligations should be compulsory for a “minimum percentage” of vessels longer than 12 meters and which have been identified as “posing a serious risk of non-compliance”. The equipment will also be imposed as an accompanying sanction for all vessels that commit two or more serious infringements. Vessels that are willing to adopt CCTV on a voluntary basis should be offered incentives such as additional allocation of quotas or having their infringement points removed.

MEPs back the proposal to harmonise sanctions and demand that a “European Union Register” of infringements be set up to centralise information from all member states. They also call for an “appropriate system of sanctions” for infringements committed by recreational fishermen.

Advertisement

Reduce waste, increase security and transparency

In line with the EU’s Farm-to-Fork Strategy, Parliament demands that the origin of fishery and aquaculture products must be traceable throughout the whole food chain, including processed and imported products. Data on the species of fish, the location, date and time it was caught, and the type of gear used should be made available.

lara AGUILERA (S&D, ES), rapporteur, said: “We took important steps towards having common rules. Inspections on fisheries in Spain must not differ from those in Denmark, Poland or Italy. They must be harmonised and more efficient, without resulting in more red tape for the sector.”

Advertisement

In an effort to reduce marine litter, MEPs agree that all vessels should be obliged to notify national authorities when they lose fishing gear and to carry on board the necessary equipment to retrieve it.

All vessels should also be equipped with a geolocation device allowing them to be automatically located and identified, a measure deemed necessary to improve security at sea, according to the adopted text.

Parliament also proposes to increase the margin of error accepted on the weight of some species estimated by fishermen on board (margin of tolerance).

Next Steps

With today’s vote, Parliament is now ready to start negotiations with Council. According to the current proposal, operators would have four years following the entry into force of the rules to equip vessels with the new technologies required.

Background

On 5 February, the Committee on Fisheries adopted its position regarding the EU’s Fisheries Control system. The proposal updates five existing regulations and harmonise control and inspection systems, as well as sanctions, across EU countries.

More information 

Share this article:

Continue Reading

Brexit

Britain secured a good deal on fish, says senior member of negotiating team

Published

on

By

A trade deal between Britain and the European Union is a good agreement for the fisheries industry, allowing it to rebuild itself during a five-and-a-half year transition, a senior member of the UK’s negotiating team said on Tuesday (29 December), write Elizabeth Piper and Paul Sandle.

Fisheries groups have criticized the deal, saying the industry had been sacrificed in the post-Brexit trade talks.

“The deal we’ve got recognises UK sovereignty over our fishing waters, it says that up front,” the senior member of the negotiating team said.

“We think this is a good deal. This enables the fishing industry to rebuild itself during the transition, we are investing £100 million into programmes to help modernize the fish processing industry over this period,” he said.

Advertisement

Share this article:

Continue Reading

Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR)

AGRIFISH Council: Ministers decide fishing opportunities for 2021 in the North-East Atlantic and for deep-sea stocks

Published

on

On 17 December, the Council agreed on fishing opportunities for 2021 for the fish stocks managed by the EU in the North-East Atlantic, based on a proposal made by the Commission. As regards stocks that will be shared with the UK, The Council also decided as a transition measure to proportionally roll over the 2020 total allowable catches (TACs), with a few limited exceptions, as proposed by the Commission. This will ensure fishing opportunities in the exceptional circumstances surrounding the still ongoing negotiations on the future relationship between the EU and the UK. These measures complement the Commission's contingency proposal from last week, which provides for the possibility of reciprocal fishing access by EU and UK vessels to each other's waters, if and when agreed between the EU and the UK, and all conditions for the continuation of the EU fishing operations have been met.

Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “I am very pleased that for the stocks the EU is managing on its own, we have brought eight total allowable catches in line with the levels that guarantee the maximum sustainable yields from those stocks. EU ministers have followed my proposals on the precautionary approach for nine fish catch quotas. This is a step in the right direction. The Commission proposal was very ambitious and I welcome today's overall good outcome. We have also managed to respond to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, and secure continued fishing for all EU fishermen and women. Vessels can take to the sea on 1 January 2021 and the fishing sector can be reassured that their business is recognized as a priority for the EU.”

The Council has also decided on sustainable catch limits for southern seabass (Bay of Biscay) in line with maximum sustainable yield (MSY). The Council has continued the protection of the vulnerable deep-sea sharks through a prohibition of fishing of this species. In line with the Commission proposal, the Council has agreed to set very limited bycatch for cod in Kattegat (123 tonnes), and roundnose grenadier in Skagerrak and Kattegat (5 tonnes), and a scientific TAC for nephrops in the southern Bay of Biscay (2.4 tonnes). More information is available Commissioner Sinkevičius' press statement and online.

Based on the Commission's proposal, EU ministers agreed fishing opportunities for 2021 for the Mediterranean and the Black Seas. Sinkevičius said: “In line with our political commitments made in the MedFish4Ever and Sofia Declarations, we implemented in EU law ambitious measures taken in the context of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). On the Western Mediterranean multiannual plan, I regret that ministers were not ready to agree on higher effort reductions, which would have allowed us to restore the fish stocks to sustainable levels faster and to ensure the long-term social and economic viability of the fishermen and women operating in the region. I welcome, however, that the effort reduction will be accompanied by additional national measures to protect the stocks."

For the Mediterranean, the regulation agreed by ministers continues the implementation of the EU multiannual management plan for demersal stocks in the Western Mediterranean, adopted in June 2019, by reducing the fishing effort by 7.5%. The Regulation also introduces measures adopted by the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean in 2018 and 2019, in particular measures for eel, red coral, dolphinfish, small pelagic species and demersal stocks in the Adriatic and deep water shrimps stocks in the Ionian Sea, Levant Sea and the Strait of Sicily. For the Black Sea, the quotas for turbot and sprat are maintained at the 2020 level. More information is available Commissioner Sinkevičius' press statement and online.

Share this article:

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending