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Parliamentary questions
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27 February 2015
Joint answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission
Written questions :E-010864/14 , E-010866/14
Question references: E-010864/2014, E-010866/2014

Deep-sea sharks are highly vulnerable to exploitation as they are long-lived, late maturing and low fecundity species. There is an urgent need to protect deep-sea sharks from fishing even if taken as by-catches in relative small quantities.

Council Regulation (EU) No 1367/2014(1) lists a number of deep-sea sharks subject to zero TACs. The main commercial species are considered depleted while the stock status of other species is unknown. Considering the nature of these stocks and comparable advice(2) for less vulnerable elasmobranches, where scientists have advised that any permitted landings will probably generate additional mortality compromising stock recovery, for precautionary reasons the measures currently in place are deemed appropriate. To improve the scientific knowledge on these vulnerable stocks, better estimates by Member States of discards and fishery-independent data under the data collection framework(3) are required.

A Commission study on the reduction of deep-sea sharks' by-catches in the Portuguese longline black scabbard fishery(4) gives useful information of possible measures to improve further the selectivity on this fishery.

The landing obligation does not yet apply to fisheries targeting deep-sea species. Exemptions to the landing obligation, for example to cater for unavoidable by-catches of deep-sea sharks, may only be considered under the conditions established in Article 15 of the common fisheries policy basic regulation(5)

(1)Council Regulation (EU) No 1367/2014 of 15.12.2014 fixing for 2015 and 2016 the fishing opportunities for Union fishing vessels for certain deep-sea fish stocks.
(2)Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) — 44th Plenary Meeting Report (PLEN-13-03). 2013. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, EUR 26332 EN, JRC 86096, 124 pp.
(3)Council Regulation (EU) No 199/2008 of 25.2.2008 concerning the establishment of a Community framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice regarding the common fisheries policy.
(5)Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11.12.2013 on the common fisheries policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No 1954/2003 and (EC) No 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No 2371/2002 and (EC) No 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC.

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