Procedure : 2005/0014(CNS)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0265/2005

Texts tabled :

A6-0265/2005

Debates :

PV 13/10/2005 - 4

Votes :

PV 13/10/2005 - 6.6

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2005)0376

REPORT     *
PDF 490kWORD 436k
16 September 2005
PE 357.759v02-00 A6-0265/2005

on the proposal for a Council regulation for the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures in the Baltic Sea, the Belts and the Sound and amending Regulation (EC) No 1434/98

(COM(2005)0086 – C6-0094/2005 – 2005/0014(CNS))

Committee on Fisheries

Rapporteur: Zdzisław Kazimierz Chmielewski

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 PROCEDURE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a Council regulation for the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures in the Baltic Sea, the Belts and the Sound and amending Regulation (EC) No 1434/98

(COM(2005)0086 – C6-0094/2005 – 2005/0014(CNS))

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2005)0086)(1),

–   having regard to Article 37 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament,

–   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A6-0265/2005),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty;

3.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

4.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to amend the Commission proposal substantially;

5.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and Commission.

Text proposed by the Commission  Amendments by Parliament

Amendment 1

RECITAL 11

(11) Scientific information indicates that, for cod, towed gears without exit window are less selective than those with the “BACOMA” type exit window. It is therefore appropriate not to allow within Community waters and for Community vessels the use of towed gears without the “BACOMA” type exit window when cod is a target species.

(11) Scientific information indicates that, for cod, towed gears without exit window are less selective than those with the “BACOMA” type exit window or the T90 type in which the mesh in the codend and extension piece is turned 90o. It is therefore appropriate not to allow within Community waters and for Community vessels the use of towed gears without the “BACOMA” type or T90 exit window when cod is a target species.

Justification

In 2004, a codend with mesh turned 90° was positively evaluated by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and subsequently by Resolution XXXI of the International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission (IBSFC) as truly selective gear when cod is defined as the target species.

Amendment 2

ARTICLE 2, POINT (W A) (new)

(wa) 'extension piece' means a separate piece of the trawl, cylindrical in shape and located between the mouth and the end of the net.

Justification

It is essential to include a definition of an extension piece in the Resolution.

Amendment 3

ARTICLE 4, PARAGRAPH 4

4. The percentages of target species may be calculated on the basis of one or more representative samples.

4. The percentages of target species may be calculated on the basis of one or more representative samples. The sample should be accepted by both the ship-owner and the inspector.

Justification

In order to ensure that the sampling process conforms to regulations, it should be under inspection, with the inspector's responsibilities in the matter defined in a separate provision.

Amendment 4

ARTICLE 6, POINT (B)

(b) any extension piece in which the number of meshes, excluding those in the selvedges, in any circumference of the extension piece is less than the number of meshes, excluding those in the selvedges, on the circumference of the foremost end of the codend to which the extension piece is joined;

(b) any extension piece in which the circumference at any point is smaller than the circumference of the foremost end of the codend to which the extension piece is joined;

Justification

An extension piece is often made with a larger mesh than the codend. Keeping the original version of this provision would result in the extension piece being much wider than the codend.

Amendment 5

ARTICLE 6, POINT (C)

(c) any net of mesh size equal to or greater than 32 mm in which any mesh is not quadrilateral;

(c) any codend and extension piece of mesh size equal to or greater than 32 mm in which any mesh is not quadrilateral;

Justification

The selectivity is influenced only by the extension piece and the codend, so the provision should relate only to those portions of the net.

Amendment 6

ARTICLE 6, POINT (D)

(d) any netting material which includes any individual quadrilateral mesh of which any bar differs in length from any other bar in that mesh by more than 10 percent and at least 2 mm;

(d) any codend or extension piece or netting material which includes any individual quadrilateral mesh of which any bar differs in length from any other bar in that mesh by more than 10 percent and at least 2 mm;

Justification

The net material's physical properties allow over 30% relative lengthening of the threads. In working conditions (e.g. under load) the knots move and threads stretch and, in effect, the diamond shape of the mesh is lost.

Amendment 7

ARTICLE 6, POINT (G)

(g)       any codend or extension piece or square-meshed panel each of which is not constructed exclusively of only one type of netting material;

deleted

Justification

These prohibitions exclude the use of the 'BACOMA' type codend, as the exit window is made of a different type of net material than the rest of the bag.

Amendment 8

ARTICLE 6, POINT (H)

(h) any codend and/or extension piece constructed of more than one sheet of netting material such that the stretched linear dimensions of the top half of the codend and/or extension piece are not equal to the stretched linear dimensions of the bottom half or bottom sheet.

(h) any codend and/or extension piece constructed of more than one sheet of netting material such that the stretched longitudinal dimensions of the top half of the codend and/or extension piece are not equal to the stretched longitudinal dimensions of the bottom half or bottom sheet, with the exception of "BACOMA" type gear.

Justification

The original version of this provision excludes the use of BACOMA type gear as the exit window is made of a different type of netting material than the rest of the codend.

Amendment 9

ARTICLE 12, PARAGRAPH 1

1. From 1 January 2008, it shall be prohibited to keep on board, or use for fishing, driftnets.

1. From 1 January 2008, it shall be prohibited to keep on board, or use for fishing, driftnets. An assessment of the effects of using driftnets and other entangling gear on the sea mammal population is to be completed by 1 January 2008 at the latest.

Justification

The problem dealt with in this Article needs to be thoroughly evaluated in the near future. Over the last 50 years in the southern section of the area, barely a handful of sea mammals have been caught in this equipment. Furthermore, technical doubts have been expressed as to whether said salmon driftnets are especially dangerous to porpoise. According to ASCOBANS, all entangling equipment, and therefore also cod fishing nets, can cause death. This is not dealt with in Article 12.

Amendment 10

ARTICLE 19

Article 19

deleted

Closure of Bornholm Deep

 

Fishing shall be prohibited from 15 May to 31 August in the Bornholm Deep, in the maritime area defined by the lines connecting the following co-ordinates:

 

- latitude: 55° 30' N, longitude: 15° 30' E

 

- latitude: 55° 30' N, longitude: 16° 30' E

 

- latitude: 55° 00' N, longitude: 16° 30' E

 

- latitude: 55° 00' N, longitude: 16° 00' E

 

- latitude: 55° 15' N, longitude: 16° 00' E

 

- latitude: 55° 15' N, longitude: 15° 30' E

 

- latitude: 55° 30' N, longitude: 15° 30' E.

 

Justification

In accordance with IBSFC provisions, fisheries where spawning takes place must be protected. In the Baltic, these are mainly the Bornholm, Gdansk and Gotland Deeps. There are also known spawning grounds in the Western sectors of the Baltic. Why is only one of the three spawning grounds recommended for fishing restrictions?

Amendment 11

ANNEX II, TABLE, NOTE 2

2. Applying Bacoma exit window with mesh size and specifications as laid down in the Appendix.

2. Applying Bacoma exit window or T90 codends with mesh size and specifications as laid down in the Appendix.

Amendment 12

ANNEX II, APPENDIX, TITLE

Specifications of top window codend "BACOMA"

A. Specifications of top window codend "BACOMA"

Amendment 13

ANNEX II, APPENDIX, PARAGRAPH 1, INTRODUCTORY PART

1. In order to guarantee the selectivity of trawls, Danish seines and similar nets with special mesh openings as referred to in Annex II, only the "BACOMA" exit window model as described below shall be authorised.

1. Description

Amendment 14

ANNEX II, APPENDIX, PARAGRAPH 1, POINT (B) (I)

i. The codend shall be constructed of two panels of equal size, joined together by selvedges one on each side of equal length.

i. The codend shall be constructed of two panels joined together by selvedges one on each side of equal length.

Justification

If the BACOMA window is to be fitted in the upper panel, the upper and lower panels cannot be of equal size.

Amendment 15

ANNEX II, APPENDIX, PART B (new)

B. SPECIFICATION OF A T90 CODEND

1. Description

a. Identification of T90

A codend of turned meshes (T90) of trawls, Danish seines or other towed nets is produced from diamond knotted netting turned 90° from its usual orientation. Contrary to the main direction of the run of the netting twine in a diamond mesh codend which is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the fishing gear (A), in a turned mesh codend the main run of the netting twine is parallel to this axis (B).

                                  A                                                B

b. Mesh size measurement

The mesh size shall be at least 110 mm and must be measured perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the codend. The meshes of the codend and extension must not be obstructed in any way by either internal or external attachments.

c. Twine thickness

The diameter of the netting twine used in a T90 codend or extension shall be no more than 5 mm for a single twine. In the codend the use of double twine with a maximum thickness of 4 mm is allowable.

2. Construction

           a. A T90 codend and its extension shall be constructed from two panels of equal dimensions, with the same number of meshes in width and length, and with the mesh orientation described above, joined by two lateral selvedges. Each panel shall be constructed with non-slip knots and in such a way that the meshes remain fully open at all times when in use.

           b. The number of open meshes in any circumference must be constant from the front part of the extension to the rearmost part of the codend.

           c. At the point of attachment of the codend or extension piece to the tapered part of the trawl, the number of meshes in circumference of the codend or extension piece must be 50% of the last row of meshes of the tapered part of the trawl. A codend and extension piece is illustrated below (figure 1).

3. Circumference

           The number of meshes in any circumference in the codend and the extension piece, excluding joinings and selvedges, shall be no more than 50.

4. Joining rounds

The forward edge of the panels composing both codend and extension shall be fitted with a braided row of half meshes. The rear edge of the codend panel shall be fitted with a full row of braided meshes able to guide the codline.

5. Length of the codend

The codend shall have a length of at least 50 meshes.

6. Lifting strap

The length of the lifting strap at the point at which it is attached to the codend shall not be less than the stretched length of the meshes in circumference of the codend multiplied by a factor of 0.6.

7. Codend buoy

           A codend buoy shall be spherical in shape and have a maximum diameter of 40 cm. It shall be attached to the codline by the buoy rope. The length of the buoy rope shall be not less than two and a half times the square root of the depth.

Figure 1

(1)

Not yet published in OJ.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

This proposal for a Council regulation requires special attention, as it represents a kind of codification of existing regulations for the conservation of fishery resources in the Baltic Sea through the application of appropriate technical measures. It brings together the rules drawn up before 2004, i.e. before the accession of the 10 new Member States to the EU. It was, therefore, primarily the 'old 15' that took part in the extensive negotiations held on the regulation in 2004. The possibility for the other European countries concerned to be involved was limited, as Parliament's new elected representatives were of course unable to participate in the talks.

Although originally drafted in the above manner, the document is now before the new-look European Parliament, which now includes the EU-10. In practice, this means that the four existing EU Baltic partners have been joined by four more (which are at the same time direct neighbours of Russia, which remains outside of the integrated structures). In view of the Baltic's specific environmental characteristics and the significant differences between its western and eastern parts, it was imperative that the new Member States had a strong say on this regulation. The rapporteur on this subject, a Member representing a region in the southern Baltic, faced an inordinately difficult task in examining numerous proposals for amendments and some more or less specific suggestions. What is worse, he had to deal with the need to combine these opinions with the position adopted in the 1990s by members of the Committee on Fisheries. Many of those members are still part of the committee.

The authors of the regulation generally concentrate on simplifying existing regulations by reducing the number of categories of fishing equipment, standardising the dates for closed seasons and establishing minimum landing sizes. There is good reason to believe that their consultations with the new Member States were restricted in the main to those involved in fisheries administration. The rapporteur, however, believes that consultations with representatives of the fishing and processing sectors are also necessary. Experts in these sectors have repeatedly painted a black picture of the situation for fishermen in the southern Baltic, and part of the proposal for a regulation has been firmly rejected.

The suggestions from Parliament's Committee on Fisheries, on the other hand, appear to tend towards the adjustment to Baltic conditions of equipment used in other seas. Although the premise is generally sound, in some cases serious doubts arise, as some of the proposed solutions would hit fisherman too hard (and not entirely justifiably). The suggestions gave rise to differences in interpretation and disputes, becoming a source of conflict between old and new Member States.

Both sides' persistence in their stances was unfortunately reflected in the rapporteur's amendments to the regulation presented at the Committee on Fisheries' meeting of 11 July 2005, when some articles or parts thereof were explicitly questioned. The dispute, though skirted around in the course of the official discussion, was very real, or at least that is how it appeared to your rapporteur.

Following the meeting, it was then time for other Members to table amendments and for further rapporteur's amendments, and to seek a final and satisfactory resolution of the matter. Fortunately, the fresh negotiations opened up clear possibilities for resolving the fundamental disagreements. They allowed the rapporteur and his advisers – with due regard for the main intentions of the authors of the regulation and the interests of the directly affected Baltic fishing community – to interpret some of the articles in a more flexible manner, encouraging committee members to look at them in a new light. The negotiations also made it possible to make a new attempt to meet the expectations of many Members.

The undoubted weakness in the regulation was the failure to define an extension piece, which is referred to in several articles. This omission was pointed out during one of the meetings of the Committee on Fisheries. The authors' decision to correct this error is to be welcomed. The rapporteur drafted a definition of the extension piece, treating it primarily as a part of the trawl increasing the capacity of the codend. This approach automatically improved the situation for many of the provisions concerning the extension piece, freeing them all controversy as to their meaning. This meant that Amendment 16 could be withdrawn completely and that the restrictive Amendments 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 could be toned down, reducing them to appropriate fine-tuning of the proposal for a regulation. At the same time, the 'restrictive' Article 6, a source of worry for the entire fishing sector, takes on a different meaning and becomes less of an 'irritation'. The rapporteur also saw that it was possible to withdraw his Amendments 12, 13, 14 and 17.

The awareness that the renewal of intensive efforts by the Commission and Council to improve the regulation was already producing results (thanks in part to their consideration of the Committee on Fisheries' criticisms) allowed the rapporteur to concern himself once again with the issues that had so far provoked the most discussion. Within the Committee on Fisheries, the amendment by the rapporteur to Article 12 proved particularly controversial. It should be acknowledged that the salmon driftnets used in the southern Baltic pose a minimal threat to porpoise, which are now extremely rare in the area. It is also true that the abolition of this sort of equipment, as proposed in the regulation in line previous resolutions of the Committee on Fisheries, would prevent around 60 Polish shipowners from fishing for salmon. However, the worrying reports over the last few days of the declining porpoise population calls for particular prudence and a thorough examination of this problem.

In his amendments, the rapporteur endeavoured, therefore, to take into account the intentions of the regulation's authors. Nevertheless, the issue of the Baltic fishermen's justifiable fears about their future requires remedial action, and in particular serious attempts to establish the real state of affairs. An evaluation of the effects on sea mammals of using driftnets and other entangling equipment should be carried out up to 1 January 2008. The results of this thorough evaluation would then determine the final decision as to the continued use or withdrawal of driftnets.

The possibility of a compromise solution to the issue of cod-fishing gear is also emerging. The Commission and Council seem increasingly to favour the possibility of using the tried and tested T90 codend, in addition to the BACOMA-type exit window (for young fish) recommended in the regulation. The rapporteur included the technical specifications of this equipment in the relevant amendment, confident that the proposal will find support in the Committee on Fisheries.

In summary, it should be stressed that the proposal for a Council regulation dated 14 March 2005 is in the process of being extensively altered. After the Commission had completed the groundwork, the Council began the task of making changes and is holding extensive negotiations with the countries concerned. The opinion of the Committee on Fisheries will be of key importance for the work ahead. The continued participation of MEPs in the consultations would also be advisable. In conclusion, I should like to stress that the importance of the proposal, its special nature and its significance to the development of Baltic fishing (particularly in maintaining fish stocks) all require thorough recognition of the problem and sound judgment when the final decisions are made. These decisions will be useful only if they properly reflect the spirit and the letter of the Baltic situation.


PROCEDURE

Title

Proposal for a Council regulation on the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures in the Baltic Sea, the Belts and the Sound and amending Regulation (EC) No 1434/98

References

COM(2005)0086 – C6-0094/2005 – 2005/0014(CNS)

Legal basis

Article 37 EC

Basis in Rules of Procedure

Rule 51

Date of consulting Parliament

11.4.2005

Committee responsible
  Date announced in plenary

PECH
14.4.2005

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)
  Date announced in plenary

 

 

 

 

 

Not delivering opinion(s)
  Date of decision

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced cooperation
  Date announced in plenary

 

 

 

 

 

Rapporteur(s)
  Date appointed

Zdzisław Kazimierz Chmielewski
30.3.2005

 

Previous rapporteur(s)

 

 

Simplified procedure
  Date of decision

 

Legal basis disputed
  Date of JURI opinion

 

 

 

Financial endowment amended
  Date of BUDG opinion

 

 

 

European Economic and Social Committee consulted
  Date of decision in plenary



Committee of the Regions consulted
  Date of decision in plenary

 

Discussed in committee

24.5.2005

11.7.2005

30.8.2005

 

 

Date adopted

15.9.2005

Result of final vote

for:

against:

abstentions:

unanimously

Members present for the final vote

Elspeth Attwooll, Iles Braghetto, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos, David Casa, Paulo Casaca, Zdzisław Kazimierz Chmielewski, Carmen Fraga Estévez, Alfred Gomolka, Pedro Guerreiro, Ian Hudghton, Heinz Kindermann, Rosa Miguélez Ramos, Seán Ó Neachtain, Neil Parish, Willi Piecyk, Bernard Poignant, Margie Sudre, Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna

Substitutes present for the final vote

Dorette Corbey, María Isabel Salinas García

Substitutes under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Eugenijus Gentvilas, Grażyna Staniszewska, Kyösti Tapio Virrankoski

Date tabled – A6

16.9.2005

A6-0265/2005

Comments

...

Last updated: 6 August 2006Legal notice