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Parliamentary questions
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15 March 2019
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-000085/2019

Article 8(4) of Regulation (EU) 2016/2336(1) prohibits the use of bottom trawl gear below 800 metres. The Commission is responsible for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the regulation, as per Article 19, based on data submitted by the relevant Member States and scientific advice. The Commission continues to pursue bilateral contacts with the relevant Member States to ensure a comprehensive monitoring and implementation of the prohibition.

The Commission is also analysing the Member States’ recent submissions on the implementation of observer programmes and will continue working with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the prevention systems put in place to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs).

Regarding the VMEs protection, Article 9 provides for a rule to move-on when fishing vessels with bottom gears encounter a VME area. Reporting on these encounters is also part of Member States’ obligations. The Commission is in contact with Member States and ICES in order to continue identifying and assessing areas where VMEs occur or are likely to occur.

Further to Article 9(6), the Commission sought the best scientific information available from ICES on likely locations of VMEs in EU waters based on data submitted by Member States in July 2017. Due to an incomplete first submission of data sets by the Member States, a second data call to Member States was necessary in order for ICES to be able to deliver technical advice on 30 November 2018. The Commission is currently analysing this scientific information with a view to informing the preparation of relevant implementing acts in 2019.

(1)Regulation (EU) 2016/2336 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2016 establishing specific conditions for fishing for deep-sea stocks in the north-east Atlantic and provisions for fishing in international waters of the north-east Atlantic and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 2347/2002.

Last updated: 18 March 2019Legal notice