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FISHERIES POLICY AND FISH HYGIENE
TECHNICAL INFORMATION IN FOOD & FISHERIES POLICY & DEVELOPMENT
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Common Fisheries Policy
1. Commission releases open source fisheries management software
2. EU updates recovery plan for bluefin tuna with new control tools
3. Strengthening EU rules for deep-sea fisheries agreed, includes trawl bans
4. EU amends cod recovery plan; no more days at sea limits
5. Baltic Sea multiannual management plan adopted for cod, herring and sprat
6. Stop fishing notices for Latvian, Belgian and Spanish vessels
7. EU ratifies Fisheries Agreement with Liberia
8. European Commission to negotiate Fisheries Agreement with Kenya
9. FAO Port State Measures Agreement enters into force
10. IATTC rejects strengthened tuna management for bigeye, yellow-fin and sharks
11. SIOFA adopts new conservation measures for Indian Ocean non-tuna fisheries
12. Commission recommends lifting the IUU "red card" from Guinea
13. Amended quota tariffs for hake and cusk-eel imports 2016 to 2018
14. EU quota tariffs amended for Icelandic fishery products
15. EUMOFA reports on Bluefin tuna, mussel and flounder
16. Commission hosts public seminar on fish stocks and economics
17. New EU rules for fishery data collection adopted for 2017-2020
18. EU project hosts conference on biotechnological potential of ocean microbes
19. Rapid alerts were notified for 58 consignments of fishery products
20. DG SANTÉ reports on sanitary conditions in Taiwan; many deficiencies
21. Commission proposes mandatory fees for official hygiene controls
22. EU discusses risk assessment with Bosnia and Herzegovina’s food authorities
23. EFSA conducts training of possible future EU member countries
24. Commission clarifies corrections to results of dioxins and PCBs tests
25. EU project to report on non-regulated contaminants in seafood
26. Commission re-starts publication of the TRACES newsletter
27. Commission corrects errors in regulation for histamine in fish sauce
28. EFSA re-assesses malachite green in aquaculture; low levels not of concern
29. EU amends fish health control to account for salmonid alphavirus (SAV)
30. Commission notified of fish disease free compartments
Common Fisheries Policy
1. The Commission decided to release as open source software a suite of programs, which it has developed over the years, known as the Integrated Fisheries Data Management (IFDM) software suite. The suite provides for the electronic exchange of data on fishing activities based on the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) FLUX standard. The open source licensing of the software will benefit the worldwide harmonisation of electronic fisheries data exchanges and allow cost savings, and is to be made available to Member States, third countries, Regional Fisheries Monitoring Organisations as well as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
2. The EU’s Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers adopted a regulation, which updates the multiannual recovery plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, which applies from 2007 until 2022. The new regulation enacts measures adopted by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) between 2012 and 2014, revises control provisions and sets out procedures in relation to the use of stereoscopic cameras, release operations and the treatment of dead fish in the recovery plan. The regulation will enter into force and become applicable by the end of 2016.
3. The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission reached agreement on strengthening the EU rules on deep-sea fisheries. The measures are intended to better protect deep-sea fish, sponges and corals and include a ban on trawling deeper than 800m, and a ban on all bottom gears below 400m in areas with vulnerable marine environments (VMEs), no extension of fishing footprint for deep-sea species fish, and an improved reporting and observers' scheme, along with landings in designated ports. Commissioner Vella welcomed the measures, saying “I believe that we have achieved a balanced compromise that will protect our deep-sea environment and deep-sea fish stocks.”
4. The Council of Fisheries Ministers and the European Parliament reached a political agreement to amend the EU rules defining the cod recovery plan, which has been in force since 2008 and sets out long-term management measures. The new approach will discontinue the present fishing effort limitation regime (based on days at sea), since it prevents the full application of the landing obligation to the areas of the cod plan. The new approach will simplify the rules on allowable catch limits, pending a new set of more permanent management plans that will cover the North Sea and the North Western Waters respectively. In the meanwhile, the measures on selectivity and discard reduction that were developed under the cod plan will be maintained.
5. The EU Regulation on the multiannual management plan for the stocks of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea was formally adopted and published. This is the first of its kind and will be followed by sustainable long-term management plans for fisheries in other marine regions as well. The plans will also facilitate decentralised decision making for technical measures.
6. Stop fishing notices were published by the Commission due to exhaustion of quota by Latvian vessels fishing for redfish, Belgian vessels fishing for sole, plaice, whiting and cod; Spanish vessels fishing for saithe and tusk, and Latvian and German vessels fishing for redfish.
7. The EU Council formally ratified the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement between the EU and Liberia and adopted the Implementation Protocol. The Agreement has applied a provisional basis since 9 December 2015. The Decision delegates to the joint committee of the parties the power to agree on modifications to the Protocol in respect fishing opportunities and, associated financial contribution, experimental fisheries, the modalities of the sectoral support, fisheries management measures, and certain technical provisions of the Protocol.
8. The EU’s Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers also authorised the Commission to open negotiations with Kenya regarding a Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement and Protocol, to provide for fisheries access for EU vessels to the Kenyan zone.
9. The FAO's Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (COFI) celebrated the entry into force of the FAO Port State Measures Agreement at its meeting in Rome on 11-15 July. The Committee also adopted decisions on sustainable small-scale fisheries, gear marking and tackling ghost gear. However, proposals supported by the EU, on new guidelines regarding catch document schemes, were not adopted. The EU called on FAO to improve cooperation and coordination with other international bodies.
10. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission held its annual meeting in La Jolla, California. The parties rejected proposed measures for the strengthened management of tunas, which would have extended the fishing closures for bigeye and yellow-fin tunas and addressed over-fishing of bluefin tuna. They also could not agree on the EU's proposals for shark fins to remain naturally attached, and for strengthened port state measures. However, measure were adopted to ban shark lines, limit fishing of silky sharks and improve data collection and management, including data concerning Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs).
11. Members of the South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA) adopted a series of conservation measures at a meeting in La Reunion, which should lead to better managed fisheries resources in the Indian Ocean region. The conservation measures adopted will restrict the expansion of fisheries, regulate bottom fishing activities, protect vulnerable marine ecosystems, and contribute to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Current members include Australia, the Cook Islands, the European Union, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mauritius, and the Seychelles. The EU provides the SIOFA interim secretariat.
12. The European Commission recommended the lifting the "red card" and the associated trade measures for fisheries products from the Republic of Guinea, following significant improvements to its national fisheries governance to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Since the red card was imposed in November 2013, Guinea has strengthened its fisheries governance, including revision of the legal framework to combat IUU fishing, upgraded the sanction system, improved monitoring and control of its fleet and waters, and ratified the Port State Measures Agreement under the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) that prevents illegal fish from being landed in the country's ports, which entered into force in June 2016.
13. The EU amended the autonomous quota tariffs generally available for quantities of certain fishery products which may be imported free of duties into the EU during the period 2016 to 2018. Slicing may now be regarded a qualifying operation for the import of frozen hake and pink cusk-eel.
14. The EU has adjusted the annual quota tariffs available for quantities of certain fishery products (herring, a range of chilled and frozen fish species, and Nephrops) which may be imported from Iceland free of duties into the EU. This is to account for the Additional Protocol to the Agreement between the European Economic Community and Iceland.
15. The European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products published its latest edition of 2016, containing articles on Atlantic Bluefin Market in the EU and mussel and flounder consumption.
16. The Commission hosted a public seminar on the status of European fish stocks and on the economic situation of European fishing fleets. Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, opened the seminar. Presentations were made on the stock status situation in the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and the North-East Atlantic and nearby waters, as well as the economic structure of the EU fishing fleet. Presentations were made by the fishing sector, scientific organisations, NGOs, national administrations. The seminar concluded with the Commission setting out the measures being applied under the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to improve the sustainability of EU fisheries.
17. The European Commission adopted new, simpler rules for data collection in the fisheries sector for the period 2017-2020, making it easier for fishermen and Member States to comply with EU regulations. The streamlined rules will also facilitate future data collection on fish stocks and their exploitation. They will give scientists and decision-makers a better idea of how fisheries are affecting marine and maritime ecosystems, while also providing more data on the Mediterranean and long distance fisheries.
18. The EU funded MaCuMBA project hosted a conference in Berlin on the ‘Marine Microbiome – Discovery & Innovation’ to discuss the untapped biotechnological potential of the ocean’s microorganisms. The project participants, led by the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), presented the results of their four-year study on the isolation of marine microorganisms using novel high throughput techniques for improved isolation efficiency and cultivation of marine microorganisms, and screening for bioactive compounds and biotechnological applications.
19. During July 2016 there were 58 rapid alert notifications for fishery products. There were 6 rapid alert notifications for bivalve mollusc products, 3 rapid alert notifications for cephalopod products, 9 rapid alert notifications for crustacean products, 40 rapid alert notifications for other fishery products and no rapid alert notifications for gastropod products. These included 2 consignments of live mussels from France, 2 consignments of shrimp from Vietnam and 8 consignments of swordfish from Spain.
20. The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANTÉ reported on their November 2015 mission to Taiwan, to assess the sanitary conditions applicable to the export of fishery products and bivalve molluscs to the EU. The mission found that the Central Competent Authority (the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection) cannot fully guarantee that fishery products exported to the European Union comply with all relevant provisions of EU regulations. The legislation was not fully in line with EU requirements in relation to hygiene conditions at landing sites and auctions and on freezer vessels. Correct procedures were not carried out impartially by external bodies delegated to carry out official controls. Controls did not adequately cover landing sites and auctions, HACCP plans were not correctly assessed, and the CA could not guarantee the eligibility of imported raw materials for the EU market, and in particular concerning the use of reefer vessels for the transport of frozen fishery products in bulk. Deficiencies were noted in relation to organoleptic examinations and histamine testing. A laboratory used for water testing was not accredited against ISO 17025. The CAs could not demonstrate that the testing results of bivalve mollusc for biotoxins were reliable. Nine recommendations were made, and the Taiwanese CA guaranteed to apply corrective actions in each case.
21. As part of its comprehensive review of the rules on official controls announced in May 2013, the Commission published a proposal to revise the approach to control fees charged to producers and food and feed business operators. The recommendation is to extend mandatory fees to most official controls performed on operators, to guarantee full cost recovery and ensure adequate resources to Member States for their control activities. The proposal exempts microenterprises to ensure that their competitiveness is not adversely affected. Competent Authorities will be required to consult with operators, publish the way in which fees are calculated and ensure transparency in their efficient use.
22. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and EFET, the Hellenic Food Authority of Greece held a meeting with representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s food authorities in Mostar. The parties discussed risk assessment methodologies, data collection and analysis, risk communication and the benefits of joining scientific network and working groups, as well as future collaboration on food safety.
23. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a report on a training event for 36 technical staff from prospective future EU member countries in the Balkan region (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo) and Turkey. The two-day training was organised under the EFSA Pre-Accession Programme 2015-2017, financed by the European Commission (EC) and aimed to cover the risk assessment methodology used in EFSA and Member States (MS) and to explain the differences between various risk assessment concepts (chemical, microbiological).
24. Following concerns expressed by Member States regarding measurement uncertainty for analysis of dioxins and PCBs in animal feeds, the Commission confirmed that analytical results should be corrected for moisture content of the feed, to a level of 12%.
25. The European Union-funded ECsafeSEAFOOD project announced that it will hold an International Stakeholder Event & Open Science Meeting in January 2017, in Brussels, entitled ‘Seafood Safety: New Findings & Innovation Challenges’. The event will present advances in understanding of the food safety issues related to non-regulated contaminants present in seafood as a result of environmental contamination and evaluated their impact on public health. The event will mark the closure of the research project and is open to policy makers, food safety authorities and industrial associations as well as the broad scientific public. Environmental Research will publish the proceedings of the conference in a Special Issue.
26. The European Commission re-started publication of the TRACES newsletter, after an absence of 6 months due to internal re-organisation. A new module on certification of organic produce has been added to the TRACES system. Changes to the RASFF response form are also planned. New TRACES members include Australia, Moldavia and Myanmar.
27. The Commission amended the regulation expressing histamine limits in fish sauce, to correct a typographical error. The limit remains the same at 400mg/kg tested by the HPLC method.
28. On the request of the Commission, the European Food Safety Authority undertook a new risk assessment on the use of malachite green, which is widely used globally in aquaculture as a disinfectant, but is not permitted for use in food-producing animals in the European Union. The EFSA CONTAM Panel concluded that it is unlikely that exposure to food contaminated with Malachite green (or its metabolites) at or below reference point for action of 2 µg/kg would represents a public health concern.
29. The EU amended its fish health control regime to account for the need to control salmonid alphavirus (SAV). Consignments of fish of species susceptible to SAV intended for farming, relaying areas, put and take fisheries, open ornamental facilities and restocking, which are introduced into Member States should originate from areas with an equivalent health status, and the EU’s fish health certification requirements are amended accordingly.
30. The Commission and Member States were notified of a declaration from France on disease free status for infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN), koi herpesvirus disease (KHVD) and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) for the Frontignan aquaculture compartment, from Germany on disease free status for infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) of the compartment "Bruthaus Feldmann" in and of declarations from Slovenia regarding the disease free status for infectious haematopoietic necrosis (IHN) and viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) for the compartments "Rižana" and "Koligar".
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