REPORT on the implementation of Article 17 of the Common Fisheries Policy Regulation
19.5.2022 - (2021/2168(INI))
Committee on Fisheries
Rapporteur: Caroline Roose
MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
on the implementation of Article 17 of the Common Fisheries Policy Regulation
The European Parliament,
– having regard to Article 3(3) of the Treaty on European Union and to Articles 3, 11, 38, 120 and 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,
– having regard to Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive),
– having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP Regulation), 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, and especially Article 17 thereof,
– having regard to the position of the European Parliament adopted at first reading on 28 April 2021 with a view to the adoption of Regulation (EU) 2021/… of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual management plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, amending Regulations (EC) No 1936/2001, (EU) 2017/2107 and (EU) 2019/833 and repealing Regulation (EU) 2016/1627,
– having regard to Regulation (EU) 2021/1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 July 2021 establishing the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund and amending Regulation (EU) 2017/1004,
– having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Bringing nature back into our lives’ (COM(2020)0380),
– having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2021 on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Bringing nature back into our lives,
– having regard to the Commission communication of 20 May 2020 entitled ‘A Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system’ (COM(2020)0381),
– having regard to its resolution of 20 October 2021 on a farm to fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system,
– having regard to the Commission report of 25 June 2020 on the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Directive 2008/56/EC) (COM(2020)0259),
– having regard to the report of the Commission’s Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) of 30 September 2019 entitled ‘Social data in the EU fisheries sector’,
– having regard to the STECF report of 17 December 2020 entitled ‘Social dimension of the CFP’,
– having regard to the STECF 2021 annual economic report on the EU fishing fleet, published on 8 December 2021,
– having regard to the STECF report of 28 April 2021 on criteria and indicators to incorporate sustainability aspects for seafood products in the marketing standards under the Common Market Organisation,
– having regard to the 2015 study requested by the Committee on Fisheries on the criteria for allocating access to fishing in the EU,
– having regard to the judgment of the Administrative Tribunal of Montpellier of 15 July 2021 in case number 1801790,
– having regard to the New Economics Foundation (NEF) report of September 2021 entitled ‘Who gets to fish in the EU? A 2021 update of how EU Member States allocate fishing opportunities’,
– having regard to the 2018 World Wildlife Fund report entitled ‘Evaluating Europe’s course to sustainable fisheries by 2020’,
– having regard to the report by Low Impact Fishers of Europe and Our Fish of 27 October 2021 entitled ‘How the EU can Transition to Low Environmental Impact, Low Carbon, Socially Just Fishing’,
– having regard to the 2020 report of the Working Group on Electric Trawling of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the ICES Special Advice of 20 May 2020 in response to the request from the Netherlands regarding the impacts of pulse trawling on the ecosystem and environment from the sole (Solea solea) fishery in the North Sea,
– having regard to Article 6.18 of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, concerning the protection of the rights of artisanal and small-scale fishers and their preferential access, where appropriate, to traditional fishing grounds and resources,
– having regard to Rule 54 of its Rules of Procedure,
– having regard to the report of the Committee on Fisheries (A9-0152/2022),
A. whereas the CFP includes the objectives of ensuring ‘that fishing and aquaculture activities are environmentally sustainable in the long-term and are managed in a way that is consistent with the objectives of achieving economic, social and employment benefits, and of contributing to the availability of food supplies’, of applying ‘the precautionary approach to fisheries management, and ... [aiming] to ensure that exploitation of living marine biological resources restores and maintains populations of harvested species above levels which can produce the maximum sustainable yield’, and mentions the objectives of implementing ‘the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management so as to ensure that negative impacts of fishing activities on the marine ecosystem are minimised’, of contributing ‘to a fair standard of living for those who depend on fishing activities, bearing in mind coastal fisheries and socio-economic aspects’ and of promoting ‘coastal fishing activities, taking into account socio-economic aspects’;
B. whereas objective 14.b of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls for parties to provide ‘access of small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets’;
C. whereas the Council is responsible for setting fishing opportunities (total allowable catches or total fishing efforts), which are then allocated to the Member States ensuring the principle of relative stability; whereas relative stability is an important element of the CFP that has proved reliable in the long term and provides visibility to fishers, and that should not be undermined; whereas each Member State distributes these fishing opportunities among its fishers and producer organisations, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity;
D. whereas, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, Member States are responsible for allocating fishing opportunities; whereas there may be large differences between the sectors in different countries, with the result that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not desirable;
E. whereas according to Article 17 of the CFP Regulation, Member States must use transparent and objective criteria, including those of an environmental, social and economic nature when allocating the fishing opportunities available to them, as referred to in Article 16 of the CFP Regulation; whereas those criteria may include the impact of fishing on the environment, the history of compliance, the contribution to the local economy and historical catch levels;
F. whereas Article 17 does not exclude recreational fisheries from its scope, and it is up to Member States to decide how to allocate fishing opportunities at national level;
G. whereas Article 17 states that ‘Member States shall endeavour to provide incentives to fishing vessels deploying selective fishing gear or using fishing techniques with reduced environmental impact, such as reduced energy consumption or habitat damage’;
H. whereas according to Article 16, Member States must decide on the method of allocating the fishing opportunities allocated to them which are not subject to a system of transferable fishing concessions, and each Member State must inform the Commission of the method of allocation;
I. whereas the publication of data regarding fishing quota allocations should be carried out in line the relevant data protection regulations;
J. whereas the STECF assessment of the social dimension of the CFP found that in 2020, 16 out of 23 coastal Member States replied to the Commission’s request to inform it of the allocation method used;
K. whereas the EU has not met the deadline to achieve good environmental status of EU marine waters by 2020, as set out in Article 1(1) of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive; whereas the report that the Commission adopted in 2020 on the first cycle of implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, taking into account its holistic nature, established that the EU system of protection is one of the most ambitious in the world and concluded that it needs to be improved to address problems such as overfishing in some seas and unsustainable fishing practises, plastic waste, excess nutrients, underwater noise, and other types of pollution;
L. whereas the EU did not meet the 2020 deadline to achieve the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) exploitation rate for all fishing stocks; whereas, however, considerable progress has been made towards achieving the MSY target, particularly in the north-east Atlantic and Baltic Sea, where in 2020, 99 % of landings that are managed solely by the EU and for which scientific advice was available, were ‘sustainably managed stocks’;
M. whereas the EU has committed itself to delivering on the UN 2030 Agenda which includes SDG 14: ‘to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development’;
N. whereas in its resolution on the farm to fork strategy, Parliament called on the Commission and the Member States to ‘provide adequate support for the transition to low-impact fisheries’ including ‘by increasing the percentage of the national quotas allocated to small-scale coastal fisheries’;
O. whereas ‘small-scale coastal fishing’ is defined in the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) regulation as fishing activities carried out by marine and inland fishing vessels of an overall length of less than 12 metres and not using towed gear, or by fishers on foot, including shellfish gatherers;
P. whereas the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 includes the objective of reducing the negative impacts of fisheries and extraction activities on sensitive marine habitats and species, including the seabed, with a view to achieving good environmental status;
Q. whereas objectives of the EU biodiversity strategy include the reduction of by-catch of species to a level that allows their recovery and conservation;
R. whereas EU fisheries is a strategic sector of the Union, providing a significant number of direct and indirect jobs in fishing and coastal areas, maintaining a sustainable economy by linking employment and people’s livelihoods to the territory and to the maintenance of cultural traditions;
S. whereas the EMFAF provides financial support for young fishers starting up fishing activities, while there is no subsequent guarantee for acquiring fishing opportunities;
T. whereas fishing makes an indispensable contribution to the Union’s food security;
U. whereas fishing creates jobs both at sea and on land; whereas some regions rely on landings happening locally to ensure the viability of many businesses and to maintain lively coastal communities;
V. whereas there is no comprehensive report on the implementation of Article 17 of the CFP by the Commission, meaning the only available evaluations for this initial implementation assessment are those published by the STECF, charities, the fisheries sector itself, NGOs and stakeholders;
W. whereas according to the latest STECF assessment on the social dimension of the CFP, the Commission’s 2020 request to Member States to provide information on their allocation system included a question on impact assessment and only two Member States (Sweden and Denmark) reported conducting such an assessment; whereas the same report found that in 2020, only 16 out of 23 coastal Member States replied to the Commission’s request to inform it of the allocation method used; whereas several of those responses were of limited use as they contained only broad descriptions of the national fishing fleet or simply emphasised the intent of their allocations without outlining the ‘transparent and objective’ criteria;
X. whereas for the 2020 fishing season, the allocation of the quota of bluefin tuna to small-scale vessels was 3.03 % in Italy, 11.6 % in Croatia, 11.89 % in France, 13.68 % in Portugal and 36.93 % in Spain;
Y. whereas most stocks are mainly targeted by different fleet types, but some of them are targeted by both small-scale and large-scale fleets;
Z. whereas by implementing Article 17 of the CFP and allocating fishing quotas based on transparent and objective criteria of an environmental, social or economic nature, the EU can achieve a just transition to a low-carbon, low-impact fishing fleet; whereas, this objective must go hand in hand with the objective of achieving economic, social and employment benefits, and of contributing to the availability of food supplies;
AA. whereas the Commission is developing an action plan to conserve fishery resources and protect marine ecosystems, which must contribute to one of the main objectives of the European Green Deal by ensuring sustainability of fisheries and adequate protection of marine ecosystems and their biodiversity;
AB. whereas on 10 November 2020, Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached an agreement on the Regulation establishing a multiannual management plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean; whereas this agreement was then voted down by the Council, contradicting a decision already agreed with the other two institutions;
AC. whereas Brexit has also had an impact on the distribution of fishing rights in the EU;
1. Recalls that fish stocks are a natural public resource, that fishing activities and management are an asset based on this resource and belong to our common heritage, and that fish stocks should be managed in a way that guarantees the highest long-term benefits for society, minimises the impact on ecosystems and guarantees food security by providing healthy food; recalls that the economic profitability of the European fleet should be ensured through environmentally, economically and socially sustainable exploitation and based on reliable scientific advice and the precautionary principle;
2. Stresses that in fisheries under quota management the problem of choke species has the potential to shut down fishing operations before the end of the season with potentially significant economic implications for fishers; underlines in this regards that a good quota system should include a fair degree of flexibility as it would allow fishers who need extra quotas for a choke species and fishers who have available quotas to arrive at a mutually beneficial outcome;
3. Stresses that it is up to the Member States to determine the criteria they use when allocating fishing opportunities;
4. Notes that the Commission has not initiated infringement proceedings against any Member State regarding compliance with Article 17 of the CFP;
Use of objective and transparent criteria
5. Stresses that there is no Commission study analysing the application of the criteria for the allocation of quotas under Articles 16 and 17 of the CFP; notes that there is a lack of transparency and that several Member States are not making public what criteria they apply when distributing fishing opportunities and encourages them to make those criteria public and easily accessible, recalls that an objective allocation method entails the clear and unambiguous description of well-defined allocation criteria including a clear description of the relative weightings of criteria or the conditions for their use in case of multiple criteria for allocation;
6. Encourages the Commission to draw up, if necessary, a report on the application of the criteria of Articles 16 and 17 of the CFP by each of the Member States;
7. Calls on the Commission to start infringement procedures against Member States that are not respecting their obligations in terms of transparency on the allocation of fishing opportunities;
8. Emphasises that transparent allocation criteria is one the parameters that provides stability and legal certainty for operators; underlines that it is desirable to make progress on transparency across the Union with regard to the criteria and their practical application; stresses, therefore, that information on the functioning of the system of fishing opportunities, including the method of allocation, should be easily accessible and capable of being understood by everybody, and in particular by operators and stakeholders so as to facilitate a consistent, rules-based allocation method that allows for better scrutiny, equal opportunities for all interested parties and more predictability for fishers;
9. Calls on the Member States to make their respective methods of distributing fishing opportunities publicly available, in line with the applicable data protection legislation;
10. Considers that the Commission, in its capacity as guardian of the Treaties, has the obligation to guarantee the full respect of the prescriptions enshrined in Article 17 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013; calls on the Commission, in this regard, to ensure the correct application by all Member States of the binding transparency provision of Article 17 with regard to national quota allocation processes through active and constant monitoring activity and, if necessary, to open an infringement procedure against Member States that fail to comply with that requirement;
11. Takes the view that producer organisations (POs), cooperatives and quota owners may disclose their quota allocation on a voluntary basis, but can in no way be obliged to do so, owing to data protection legislation;
12. Recalls that POs and fisher guilds play an essential role in the distribution and management of fishing quotas among the different vessels; notes that, in many Member States, relatively few small-scale fishers belong to POs, and even fewer small-scale fishers have their own dedicated POs, limiting their capacity to exploit this channel to access fishing quotas; encourages the Commission and the Member States to facilitate the creation of POs for and by small-scale fishers;
13. Considers that the allocation methods should be developed with the involvement of fishing communities, regional authorities and other relevant stakeholders, making sure all fleet segments, POs, fisheries Cofradias and workers’ organisations are fairly represented, based on the best available scientific advice, and that they should include safeguards such as notice periods to allow fishers to adapt in case Member States decide to change their allocation method;
14. Calls on the Member States to design allocation systems so as to guarantee simplicity, avoid burdensome bureaucratic processes and, ultimately, allow operators and stakeholders to monitor the allocation criteria and process;
15. Calls on Member States to ensure a level playing field and equal opportunities for all fishers to allow for fair access to marine resources;
Use of environmental, social and economic criteria
16. Notes that there are no reports of the Commission nor recorded instances of member states changing their allocation methods since the reformed CFP and Article 17 came into force, suggesting that the reform of the CFP in 2013 did not have a great impact on allocation methods; notes that the STECF, in its report on the social dimension of the CFP, points out that although Member States in general have not drawn a direct line between Article 17 and their national quota allocation systems, they do use or have used criteria in the allocation process which could be labelled as social criteria;
17. Notes that historic catch levels are currently the most common criteria applied by Member States to distribute fishing opportunities; considers that such criteria offer stability and recognises the dependence of the fleet and fishing communities on fishing resources and the importance for the fleets and fishing communities of having stable and predictable access to fishing resources;
18. Notes that available data shows that only some Member States use criteria of an environmental, social or economic nature to distribute fishing opportunities and that, if used, they do not have much weight in the final distribution;
19. Recalls that Article 17 of the CFP states that ‘When allocating the fishing opportunities available to them, as referred to in Article 16, Member States shall use transparent and objective criteria including those of an environmental, social and economic nature’; notes that the English version includes the word ‘shall’ ; notes that there are discrepancies between the different language versions which may lead to different interpretations of the legally binding imperative of this element; notes, however, that the Court of Justice of the European Union, in its ruling in the Spika case (C-540/16), concludes that Member States must use ‘transparent and objective criteria’ when allocating the fisheries opportunities available to them under Article 16 of Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013; calls on the Commission to address this issue in its next report on the functioning of the CFP;
20. Welcomes the fact that the current allocation methods based largely on historical rights allow for a certain level of economic stability in the fishing sector, which can be a condition enabling operators to innovate and adopt more sustainable techniques, but recognises that, in some cases, they happen to contribute to reinforcing trends such as economic concentration in the fishing sector which distort competition, erect barriers to new entrants and make the sector unattractive for new young fishers; considers, furthermore, that these methods, in some cases, do not provide sufficient incentive to fishers who implement fishing practices with a reduced environmental impact and do not provide fair opportunities to all fishers, including small-scale fishers; encourages Member States, in this regard, to adequately guarantee a fair distribution of quotas between the different fleet segments, taking into account the needs of all fishers;
21. Notes that for stocks for which the total allowable catches are increasing, for example in the case of good stock management or a successful recovery plan, Member States could consider distributing the additional quotas based on economic, social and environmental criteria, in line with Article 17;
22. Stresses that artisanal and traditional fisheries and their associations, such as fisheries Cofradias, are a fundamental feature of the local society, economy, culture and tradition in many coastal areas and islands across the EU and believes, therefore, that they should receive special attention and treatment;
23. Considers that using all types of criteria referred to in Article 17 (economic, social and environmental) when allocating fishing opportunities is an important element to fully achieve the objectives set out in the CFP, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the biodiversity strategy for 2030; recalls that it is the Member States that are responsible for developing and implementing the allocation criteria;
24. Recalls that quality data on the environmental, social and economic impacts of recreational fisheries is often lacking or incomplete, meaning that criteria of an environmental, social and economic nature cannot be developed as required under Article 17;
25. Urges the Commission to improve and strengthen the collection of such data for recreational fisheries through an improved data collection framework and other policy instruments;
26. Calls on the Commission to ensure that each Member State concerned allocates fishing opportunities in accordance with the CFP and particularly Article 17, using transparent and objective criteria including those of an environmental, social and economic nature; considers that each Member State, in line with the principle of subsidiarity, should make sure the criteria are sustainable and balanced to take into account local specificities and challenges that need to be tackled;
27. Considers that the types of fisheries and the realities they face vary greatly across the EU and that there are therefore no one-size-fits-all criteria of an economic, environmental or social nature that can be applied uniformly throughout the EU;
28. Recalls that Member States and POs have in several countries created quota reserves which could be distributed to fishers on the basis of environmental, economic and social criteria;
29. Calls on the Member States to incentivise fishers to use the most sustainable and environmentally friendly fishing practises, methods and innovations; believes that such incentives should be considered while designing the allocation method in accordance with Article 17 and encourages Member States to take into account climate and ecosystem considerations in their allocation processes, on the basis of a set of transparent criteria; recalls that, according to Article 17, Member States must endeavour to provide incentives to fishing vessels deploying selective fishing gear or using fishing techniques with reduced environmental impact, such as reduced energy consumption or habitat damage;
30. Calls on the Member States to incentivise operators, through their allocation processes, to establish and strengthen social dialogue with unions and workers’ organisations as well as to fully apply collective bargaining agreements in order to promote social sustainability and fair working conditions within the fisheries sector;
31. Recalls that Member States must endeavour to provide incentives to fishing vessels deploying selective fishing gear or using fishing techniques with reduced environmental impact; notes that some Member States are providing such incentives; calls on other Member States to provide such incentives;
32. Emphasises that the allocation of fishing opportunities using criteria such as a lower environmental impact and considering an operator’s history of compliance can contribute to restoring fish populations to a sustainable level and improving biodiversity protection;
33. Calls on the Members States, in line with Article 17 of the CFP Regulation, to support the entry into the business of young and new fishers by considering using age criteria to allocate a fair share of the fishing opportunities available to them, in order to lower barriers to entry, correct market failures, and ultimately facilitate much-needed generational renewal in the fisheries sector; calls on the Member States, furthermore, to use all the opportunities within the EMFAF to address the issue of generational renewal;
34. Calls on the Commission to engage in more proactive work with the Member States concerned on the implementation of the provisions laid down in Article 17 of the CFP Regulation; calls on the Commission to continue to assist Member States in fully making use of transparent and objective criteria including those of an economic, social and environmental nature when designing their methodology for allocating fishing opportunities, for example by publishing guidelines; emphasises that consideration must be given to offering fishers economic stability and prospects for the future;
35. Calls on the Commission, in its upcoming action plan, to preserve fishery resources, protect marine ecosystems, ensure the livelihood of fishers and include a voluntary fishing opportunity target that can be distributed according to environmental criteria and developed based on an impact assessment;
36. Calls on the Commission, in its upcoming report on the functioning of the CFP, to analyse the implementation of Article 17 by the Member States and make proposals on how it can be improves;
37. Stresses that the EU is still missing a legislative tool in order to implement the decisions taken by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas during its latest sessions; stresses with deep concern that such a normative void risks endangering the allocation of important quotas for the EU fisheries sector; urges the presidency of the Council, therefore, to come up with an alternative proposal to the agreement already reached between the parties that aligns with the position of Parliament;
38. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission.
With this implementation report on Article 17 of Regulation No. 1380/2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), my aim as a rapporteur was to look at how Member States are distributing fishing opportunities that are allocated to them at the EU level and to see if this is in line with their obligations under the CFP and in coherence with the wider objectives of the CFP.
The Common Fisheries Policy aims to achieve various objectives of both an environmental and socio-economic nature. Among the objectives enshrined in Article 2 of Regulation No. 1380/2013 on the CFP are, in particular, the objective that “the negative impacts of fishing activities on the marine ecosystem are minimised”, that of “achieving economic, social and employment benefits”, “contribute to a fair standard of living for those who depend on fishing activities, bearing in mind coastal fisheries and socio-economic aspects” and “promote coastal fishing activities, taking into account socio-economic aspects”.
In this regard, the distribution of fishing opportunities (catch quotas or fishing effort quotas) is a particularly powerful tool. The European Union is responsible for setting the annual Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and total fishing effort with the objective of achieving a level of sustainable exploitation of marine biological resources. These quotas are then distributed among Member States according to the principle of relative stability, which implies that each Member State receives a stable share of the agreed fishing quotas. It is then within each Member State that these fishing possibilities are distributed among the different fishers and producer organisations. Whilst the allocation of fishing opportunities remains a competence of the Member States, Article 17 of the Regulation 1380/2013 lays down a number of obligations that Member States must follow.Use of transparent and objective criteria
The first obligation imposed on Member States by Article 17 is to use transparent and objective criteria while allocating fishing opportunities. However, it is often difficult to know exactly how those opportunities are being distributed. In many Member States very little official information explaining methods of quota allocation is publicly available. Member States rarely publish the details of their adopted systems or have public registers showing the quota shares held by vessels/owners.
Article 17 states that the allocation criteria should be ‘transparent’ which implies that the information is publicly accessible. However, according to a 2015 study from the Policy department of the European Parliament, 40 % of EU Member States failed to answer survey questions on transparency. Still in 2017, a NEF’s report found out that many Member States do not facilitate access to consistent information to the public which makes it difficult holding the governments accountable for the implementation of the Article. At the same time, some countries perform relatively well in terms of system transparency but only two countries (Denmark and Estonia) have a publicly available quota register.
Further, despite the fact that it is up to Member States to decide how the fishing opportunities are allocated to vessels flying their flag, Article 16.6 of the CFP requires Member States to inform the Commission of the allocation method and thus how Article 17 is being implemented. However, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) assessment of the social dimension of CFP finds that in 2020 only 16 out of 23 Member States had submitted their responses to the Commission’s respective request. STECF points out the vagueness of the responses which hinders scrutinising Member States’ progress in the implementation of Article 17.Use of environmental, social and economic criteria
The second obligation for Member States enshrined in Article 17 of the CFP regulation is to use criteria of an economic, social and environmental nature to allocate fishing opportunities available to them. The article also lists types of criteria which Member States may use to fulfil this obligation: “the impact of fishing on the environment, the history of compliance, the contribution to the local economy and historic catch levels”.
In that context, it is noteworthy that since the adoption of the last CFP reform, only a few Member States have changed their fishing opportunities allocation system to introduce such criteria. Historic catch levels remain the most common criteria applied by Member States to distribute fishing opportunities, whereas vessel size (length, power and weight) is the second most applied criteria. Such allocation systems provide very few incentives for fishers who are implementing low-impact fishing techniques as foreseen in the CFP, such as deploying selective fishing gear or using fishing techniques with reduced environmental impact (such as habitat damage).
In 2018, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) evaluated the systems used for distributing fishing opportunities and considered that 69% of EU Member States (16 countries out of 23) had “no implementation yet” regarding the criteria “implementing just and sustainable allocation of fishing opportunities”. In its 2021 report “Who gets to Fish”, New Economics Foundation (NEF) notes that, out of 22 Member States, only 12 use social criteria (e.g. fisher age, employment contracts) and only 11 use environmental criteria (e.g. gear type, pingers).
Article 17 also states that Member States shall endeavour to provide incentives to fishing vessels deploying selective fishing gear or using fishing techniques with reduced environmental impact, such as reduced energy consumption or habitat damage. Yet, most systems within EU Member States do not take such criteria into account and cannot be described as incentive-based.
As rapporteur, I consider that the lack of implementation of Article 17 makes it more difficult for the EU Member States and fishers to reach the objectives of the CFP and of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). A lot more can be done, within the current European legal framework, to use the allocation of fishing opportunities as a tool to reach the objectives of the CFP, the MSFD and the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
To address the issue of transparency, I’m calling on Member States to make publicly available their respective method of distributing fishing opportunities and to make public the final quota allocation of each producer organisation and each vessel, in line with applicable data protection legislation.
To address the issue of the lack of implementation concerning the use of criteria of an economic, social and environmental nature, I’m calling on the Commission to ensure that each Member State allocates fishing opportunities by using a combination of environmental, social and economic criteria, while making sure criteria are balanced depending on the local specificities. The Commission should engage in more pro-active work with Member States to investigate ways to distribute fishing opportunities in line with Article 17 recommendations, and should publish guidelines on the use of social and environmental criteria for allocating fishing opportunities.
New allocation methods should be elaborated in consultation with fishing communities and other relevant stakeholders, based on the best available scientific advice, and should include notice periods for fishers to be able to adapt. I believe that most criteria can’t be applied indistinctly throughout the EU due to the specificities of each fleet. Since the issue of generational renewal is a challenge faced across Europe, I’m calling on Member States to use criteria related to age when allocating the fishing opportunities available to them, in order to support the entry into business of young fishers.
INFORMATION ON ADOPTION IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
Result of final vote
Members present for the final vote
Clara Aguilera, Pietro Bartolo, François-Xavier Bellamy, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Maria da Graça Carvalho, Rosanna Conte, Rosa D’Amato, Giuseppe Ferrandino, Søren Gade, Francisco Guerreiro, Anja Hazekamp, Niclas Herbst, Jan Huitema, Ladislav Ilčić, France Jamet, Pierre Karleskind, Predrag Fred Matić, Francisco José Millán Mon, Grace O’Sullivan, João Pimenta Lopes, Manuel Pizarro, Caroline Roose, Bert-Jan Ruissen, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Peter van Dalen, Theodoros Zagorakis
Substitutes present for the final vote
Nicolás González Casares, Ivo Hristov, Ska Keller, Gabriel Mato, Emma Wiesner
FINAL VOTE BY ROLL CALL IN COMMITTEE RESPONSIBLE
François-Xavier Bellamy, Niclas Herbst, Francisco José Millán Mon
Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Søren Gade, Pierre Karleskind
Clara Aguilera, Pietro Bartolo, Giuseppe Ferrandino, Ivo Hristov, Predrag Fred Matić, Manuel Pizarro
Rosa D'Amato, Francisco Guerreiro, Grace O'Sullivan, Caroline Roose
Ladislav Ilčić, Bert-Jan Ruissen
Maria da Graça Carvalho, Peter van Dalen, Annie Schreijer-Pierik, Theodoros Zagorakis
João Pimenta Lopes
Key to symbols:
+ : in favour
- : against
0 : abstention
-  OJ L 164, 25.6.2008, p. 19.
-  OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 22.
-  Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0142.
-  OJ L 247, 13.7.2021, p. 1.
-  OJ C 67, 8.2.2022, p. 25.
-  OJ C 184, 5.5.2022, p. 2.
-  Judgment of 12 July 2018, UAB ‘Spika’ and Others v Žuvininkystės tarnyba prie Lietuvos Respublikos žemės ūkio ministerijos, C-540/16, EU:C:2018:565.