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Parliamentary questions
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11 June 2019
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001503/2019

1. Since 1 January 2019, the landing obligation (LO) is fully in force. Several total allowable catches (TACs) have been increased from landings based TACs to total catches, allowing previously discarded fish to be landed as part of the overall quota. The Commission proposes the fishing opportunities based on the scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), including an advised level of total catches, to ensure stocks are fished sustainably. In case of exemptions to the LO allowing limited discards to continue, these are deducted from the total catches so that the fishing mortality does not exceed the one advised by ICES.

2. The Commission works closely with Member States and stakeholders to overcome any difficulties in implementing the LO. The Common Fisheries Policy and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) offer flexibilities and potential measures to reduce unwanted catches. Improvements in changes of mesh sizes and selectivity devices are occuring. The committment of EMFF measures by Member States is increasing but overall implementation remains low. Effective control and enforcement is key for the succesful implementation of the LO, which Member States have the responsibility to ensure. Remote Electronic Monitoring(1) tools have proved to be the most effective and cost efficient means to control the LO obligation at sea, and are supported by the Commissions’ proposal for a new Control Regulation(2).

3. TAC adjustments are done at Union TAC level(3), not at vessel level; that degree of allocation is an internal matter for Member States. Control, inspection and compliance with the LO is ensured through the same procedures and reporting requirements as for any other EU fisheries regulation.

(1)Such as Closed-Circuit television and sensor data.
(3)For 2019: Council Regulation (EU) 2019/124 of 30 January 2019 fixing for 2019 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters.

Last updated: 13 June 2019Legal notice