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Procedure : 2002/2001(COS)
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23 May 2002
PE 309.204 A5-0176/2002
on the Commission report on the monitoring of the implementation of the common fisheries policy
(COM(2001) 526 – C5‑0008/2002 – 2002/2001(COS)
Committee on Fisheries
Rapporteur: Niels Busk


By letter of 28 September 2001, the Commission forwarded to Parliament its report on the monitoring of the implementation of the common fisheries policy (COM(2001) 526 – 2002/2001(COS).

At the sitting of 16 January 2002 the President of Parliament announced that he had referred the report to the Committee on Fisheries as the committee responsible (C5‑0008/2002).

The Committee on Fisheries had appointed Niels Busk rapporteur at its meeting of 20 November 2001.

The committee considered the Commission report and the draft report at its meetings of 24 January, 21 February, 15 April and 22 May 2002. .

At the last meeting it adopted the motion for a resolution by 19 votes to 1, with 0 abstentions.

The following were present for the vote: Struan Stevenson, chairman; Brigitte Langenhagen vice-chairwoman; Marit Paulsen (for the rapporteur), Elspeth Attwooll, Brian Crowley, Arlindo Cunha, Nigel Paul Farage, Ilda Figueiredo, Michael John Holmes, Ian Stewart Hudghton, Salvador Jové Peres, Heinz Kindermann, Carlos Lage, Giorgio Lisi, Patricia McKenna, James Nicholson, Camilo Nogueira Román, Juan Ojeda Sanz, Neil Parish, Manuel Pérez Álvarez, Fernando Pérez Royo, Catherine Stihler and Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna.

The report was tabled on 23 May 2002.

The deadline for tabling amendments will be indicated in the draft agenda for the relevant part-session.


European Parliament resolution on the Commission report on the monitoring of the implementation of the common fisheries policy ((COM(2001) 526 – C5‑0008/2002 – 2002/2001(COS))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission report (COM(2001) 526 – C5‑0008/2002(1)),

–   having regard to Council Regulation (EEC) No 2847/93(2) establishing a control system applicable to the common fisheries policy, as last amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 2846/98(3),

–   having regard to its resolution of 17 January 2002 on the Commission's Green Paper on reform of the common fisheries policy,

–   having regard to Rule 47(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A5‑0176/2002),

A.   whereas successful implementation of the common fisheries policy calls for an effective system of control, enforcement and reporting,

B.   whereas there must be confidence in the validity and fairness of the management and control system,

C   whereas fishermen's support and respect for fisheries regulations will improve by involving fishermen's organisations in the decision-making process,

D.   whereas, in accordance with Community principles, responsibility for monitoring the application of Community legislation lies primarily with the Member States,

E.   whereas in order to achieve a level playing field, greater power must be allocated to Community inspectors, who must be able to operate independently,

F.   whereas the Community has overall responsibility for the satisfactory implementation of the common fisheries policy,

G.   whereas, at present, there are wide variations in the efficiency of fisheries control; many fishing activities are subject to effect control while others are subject to no control at all or demonstrably inadequate control,

H.   whereas an effective control system should imply a high degree of probability of being subjected to control,

I.   whereas experience and training in fisheries control is an important basis for efficient fisheries control,

J.   whereas the disparities in the practical application of the Control Regulation in the Member States are so great that they result in unequal treatment of fishermen in different parts of the Community and undermine the overall legitimacy of the CFP management regime,

K.   whereas there continue to be great disparities between the Member States in complying with the requirements to report catches to the Commission,

L.   whereas some Member States have totally failed to comply with the obligation to notify the Commission of their vessels' fishing effort or have only done so intermittently throughout the period covered by the report,

M.   whereas the MAG programmes have not enabled effective monitoring of the number of fishing vessels, have not secured the necessary reduction in the fleet and have not ensured effective control of the real capacity of the fleets,

N.   whereas there are wide variations in Member States' sanction procedures,

1.   Regrets the fact that the Member States do not comply to a greater extent with their obligations under the common fisheries policy, i.e. reporting of data, implementation of common decisions and use of adequate resources to ensure full compliance with the common fisheries policy;

2.   Welcomes the openness of the Commission's report;

3.   Stresses that if fishermen perceive the monitoring and control regime as fair and equitable, there is more reason to believe that they will follow the rules;

4.   Notes that an effective control system necessarily implies a high degree of probability of being subjected to controls;

5.   Calls for more resources for training administrators and inspectors, and the designation of contacts for the exchange of experience between the Member States;

6.   Calls on the Commission to draw up a list of sanctions which Member States' experience has proved to be effective and deterrent as guidance for the Member States, and to propose better procedures for reciprocal exchange of proof and other judicial cooperation, owing to the transboundary nature of fisheries;

7.   Awaits with interest the Commission's proposals to amend the Control Regulation as part of the reform of the common fisheries policy;

8.   Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.

(1)Not yet published in OJ.
(2)Not yet published in OJ.
(3)OJ L 358 of 31.12.1998.


Council Regulation (EEC) No 2847/93 of 12 October 1993 establishing a control system applicable to the common fisheries policy (referred to as the Control Regulation), together with several specific regulations containing, notably, control provisions adopted by regional fisheries organisations (RFOs), defines the legal framework of minimum requirements applicable throughout the Community and beyond Community fishing waters to fishing activities by Community fishing vessels. In other words, the Control Regulation is a framework for control covering the entire fisheries production process from net to consumer table.

The Commission's report and working documents entitled 'Fisheries control in Member States' comply with the obligations laid down in Community legislation by providing a detailed description of fisheries monitoring, inspection and surveillance activities in the period 1996-1999, and an assessment by the Commission of the state of implementation of Community legislation in this field.

The Member States have established legal frameworks for control and designated competent authorities within the traditions of their legal and administrative systems. Member States have also invested fisheries inspectors with legal powers of control and the power to initiate sanction procedures.

This forms a basis to enable national authorities to enforce Community legislation but the differences between the Member States are so significant that they may result in unequal treatment of fishermen in different parts of the Community.

The Commission claims that the cooperation and coordination arrangements established by the Member States do not adequately match the requirements of transboundary fishing activities.

In accordance with Article 4 of the Control Regulation, Member States shall carry out monitoring on their own account with the aid of a system of inspection established by the Member State itself. This entails a possible conflict of interests in the Member States between control per se and the funding of control.

Only one country has centralised responsibility for monitoring, inspection and surveillance of fisheries in a single authority. In other Member States, these tasks have been distributed among a number of different authorities and form, on many occasions, only one of many other duties. The priorities of those authorities, which are also responsible for tasks other than fisheries control, do not necessarily coincide with the need for efficiency of the control system applicable to the common fisheries policy.

The scope and substance of the powers of control vary considerably within the Community. Some of the applicable national requirements that fisheries inspectors must meet make it difficult for them to carry out their tasks. Moreover, the follow-up of infringements is not always linked closely enough to the powers and mandates of fisheries inspectors to allow them to complete their work.

There have been improvements in the national control systems but it is still in fisheries that effective control cannot be guaranteed owing to the lack of human resources allocated for monitoring and inspection purposes. In some cases, shortcomings in control are not attributable to a lack of human resources but a lack of experience and training in fisheries control. The Commission's inspectors have observed in a number of cases a blatant lack of training and experience as to how to conduct basic checks on compliance with applicable rules. Thorough basic knowledge of the technical background of fisheries (for example, the recognition of species and familiarity with the design of fishing gear) together with a detailed knowledge of the legislation to be applied are indispensable for performing fisheries inspection duties adequately. In view of the fact that the training of inspectors is partly funded by the EU, your rapporteur finds that the Member States' waste of resources is totally unacceptable.

In summary, your rapporteur would conclude that there is no common control system within the EU. Fishermen are aware of the common fisheries policy but not the common control policy and fisheries policy is, therefore, felt to be unjust. The Commission has initiated infringement procedures against several countries for failure to implement the provisions of the Control Regulation fully. Unfortunately, there is nothing new in the Commission's power to bring Member States before the Court of Justice to enforce compliance with Community legislation. Your rapporteur would, therefore, suggest that the Commission devise a 'carrot- and-stick' system whereby Member States which comply with Community legislation are rewarded for doing so.

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