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Giovedì 17 novembre 2011 - Strasburgo Edizione rivista

4. Lotta contro la pesca illegale a livello internazionale (discussione)
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  President. − The next item is the report by Isabella Lövin, on behalf of the Committee on Fisheries, on combating illegal fishing at the global level – the role of the EU [2010/2210(INI)] - (A7-0362/2011).


  Isabella Lövin, rapporteur. − Mr President, at this very moment around the world at least one out of every five fish that is eaten has been taken out of the sea illegally. Some of these fish perhaps is the result of fishing a little bit over the quota by basically legal operators that may stretch the rules – which of course is not acceptable – but a lot of that fish is also taken by large-scale operators that premeditate and organise their crimes in a very skilled manner, who deliberately hide between flags of convenience, hide behind shell companies registered in tax havens, operators that bribe and corrupt coastguards and customs officers, operators that steal fish from sensitive unprotected areas and put the billion-euro profit directly into their own pockets, organised crime that now operate with a minimal risk of detection and sanction all over the world, especially in developing countries’ waters and in the high seas in international waters.

It is estimated that illegal fishing accounts for between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish a year, making illegal fishing the world’s second largest fish producer in the world.

The EU last year put in place its new IUU and control regulations and this was indeed a major step forward in the fight against IUU globally.

One of the main elements was the new catch certification document that now has to accompany all the fish that enters the EU. This is important, since over 60% of all fish that is consumed in the EU today is imported. Why is this the case? Because we have overfished our own waters, consciously and with large contributions from subsidies, and this has led to a 40% decrease of catches since 1995. So our increasing dependency on fish from the outside, and with the EU fleet itself fishing all over the planet, our own responsibility to see to it that this fish is not illegally or irresponsibly caught is very evident.

In my report I point to some of the dangers to the world that overfishing, and illegal fishing in particular, poses. They are not small. It threatens food security in developing countries, but also for future generations. It is one of the major causes of loss of biodiversity on the planet today, and the emptying of the world’s oceans of its living creatures is also degrading marine ecosystems so the oceans to a lesser extent are capable of doing their job as carbon sinks absorbing CO2.

We, the EU, have signed up to a lot of international obligations to eradicate hunger, halt the loss of biodiversity and fight against climate change – and fighting against the very concrete threats to the ocean that international illegal fishing represents is one of the most evident steps that the EU can take to try to achieve all of these objectives.

In my report, I point to a number of concrete actions that the EU must take. We cannot wait for the UN to move, we have to take unilateral actions in order to form alliances with the world’s largest fish markets. We need global certification schemes. But documents are not enough. We need global databases of fish DNA, we need global electronic traceability systems and we need advanced police cooperation between states.

We cannot forget that two thirds of the world’s oceans are beyond national jurisdiction, and that the control, management and conservation of these areas today is largely lacking. I am therefore very happy that the European Parliament states the need to enlarge the regional fisheries organisations, both extend their geographical extension but also their mandate. They have to become more of management and conservation authorities, and less of exploitation clubs.

I would like to express my thanks to all the shadows, of course, and a last comment is about the amendment about the introduction of a common European coastguard dealing with migrants, etc. I believe this is an issue far too politically sensitive to be included in my report, and therefore I recommend to delete those words from paragraphs 12 and 13.


  Maria Damanaki, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I very much welcome the report on combating illegal fishing at the global level, and I would like to congratulate the rapporteur, Ms Isabella Lövin, on the excellent way in which she brought together different opinions into a report. I know this is a controversial issue. I would like to congratulate her because her report deals with all the relevant issues. I would also like to thank all Members of the Committee on Fisheries for their outstanding work on this report, and of course Members from other relevant committees.

In general, I fully agree with Ms Lövin’s analysis. Illegal fishing is a global problem and a very difficult problem to handle since a lot of countries are involved in each operation. This is the great problem about illegal fisheries. You could have a Greek vessel, a French captain, a Korean crew, and they go to the Canaries to land what they have caught, so it is very difficult to tackle the problem.

That is why – after the implementation of the IUU Regulation – we are trying to have a consistent stance inside the European Union and outside the European Union. This is a very important parameter if we want to fight illegal fishing. We have to behave the same way inside and outside EU waters, otherwise we cannot be reliable.

I think two issues are very important here: better governance and transparency. We must also solve the problem of subsidies. We need to increase cooperation among market States, develop new tools at international level, and pursue the development of a global catch documentation system.

I would like to highlight two issues; firstly on cooperation among market States, I have already taken the first step. We have signed the Joint Statement with the United States pledging bilateral cooperation to combat illegal fisheries. But we have to implement this agreement and we also have to have further cooperation and sign similar agreements with other very important countries. Here we are planning to work with Japan, Canada and other countries – including China of course – because if we really want to combat illegal fishing worldwide we have to cooperate with everybody.

Secondly, I want to highlight the issue of subsidies where we have shared views. The Regulation provides that subsidies can no longer be granted to operators involved directly or indirectly in illegal fishing. My services will now look closely into allegations relating to incidents that happened after the rules entered into force. For the previous period we cannot do much, but after the entry into force of this Regulation we can do something, and that is what we are trying to do now.

To make our framework even stronger, I plan to introduce two specific elements in the future European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. First, conditionality. No subsidy can be granted to operators involved in illegal fishing. This will be a rule: absolute conditionality. Second, financial correction. Subsidies granted to such operators will be withdrawn. We need these clear rules to fill the existing gaps.

I also subscribe to Ms Lövin’s views that illegal fishing activities by their very nature are in fact criminal activities. Countries need to cooperate with each other in investigations, proceedings, and ultimately prosecutions if we want to actively combat these ‘pirate’ actions.

As a final point, the EU as the biggest player in this market has a moral obligation to take the lead in this fight. I am looking forward to continue working with Parliament and all stakeholders in order to best shape our role. I would like to emphasise that we are doing our best, but you need to bear in mind that we have just started. We have limited resources and we cannot be everywhere in the world, but we are going to use taxpayers’ money in the best way in order to have concrete results.


  Maurice Ponga, rapporteur pour avis de la commission du développement. − Monsieur le Président, je tenais tout d'abord à féliciter la rapporteure, Mme Lövin, pour son excellent travail.

En tant que rapporteur pour avis de la commission du développement, je suis heureux que la commission de la pêche ait repris les éléments contenus dans notre avis, car il est crucial que la dimension développement soit prise en compte dans les mesures visant à lutter contre la pêche illégale au niveau mondial au nom de la cohérence politique et des liens étroits avec la politique de développement.

En effet, la lutte contre la pêche illégale nécessite des solutions globales et une implication de l'ensemble des États, y compris en développement. Cependant, il est nécessaire que les capacités techniques et financières des États soient aussi prises en compte dans les actions à mener. En effet, on ne peut imposer les mêmes contraintes sans mesure d'accompagnement à des pays développés ou en développement.

Les petits États insulaires ont par exemple des capacités très limitées. Il faut donc les accompagner dans leur démarche visant à lutter contre la pêche illégale. C'est pourquoi l'Union devra renforcer l'enveloppe financière en faveur du secteur de la pêche lorsqu'elle conclut des accords dans ce domaine dans des États en développement.

En outre, il est crucial que les mesures visant à lutter contre la pêche illégale soient appliquées, car cette pratique porte atteinte au développement des pays dans la mesure où elle réduit les ressources financières que ces pays pourraient tirer de l'activité économique de pêche. Or, ces ressources sont nécessaires aux pays en développement pour mettre en place des politiques sociales, économiques et d'éducation.

Enfin, il est important que l'Union européenne promeuve, lors de la mise en place de ces mesures de lutte contre la pêche illégale dans les pays en développement, l'implication de la société civile et des entreprises à côté des États bénéficiaires des aides. Avoir une approche holistique est nécessaire pour endiguer ce fléau qu'est la pêche illégale.


  Barbara Matera, a nome del gruppo PPE. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, il fenomeno della pesca illegale, non dichiarata e non regolamentata è molto diffuso a livello internazionale, tanto che non si può fare una stima precisa di quante tonnellate di pesce vengono illegalmente pescate ogni giorno.

Come già riconosciuto dalla FAO nel 2001 con l'adozione di un piano d'azione contro la pesca illegale, la lotta contro questo fenomeno rappresenta una priorità per la comunità internazionale. Questo fenomeno, infatti, causa gravi danni ambientali, economici e sociali e, come testimoniato anche dal rapporto delle Nazioni Unite su droga e crimine, è spesso attuato da vere e proprie organizzazioni criminali che attuano crimini come evasione fiscale, frodi doganali, riciclaggio di denaro sporco, corruzione e ricettazione.

L'Unione europea, con i suoi regolamenti sulla pesca non dichiarata e non controllata e su regimi di controllo comunitario, si è dotata di strumenti efficaci per combattere questo fenomeno attraverso la definizione di obblighi e opportunità sia per gli Stati membri che per i paesi terzi. È quindi importante attuare un'azione congiunta a livello mondiale da parte di tutti gli Stati e non solo di quelli europei. Per raggiungere questo traguardo è necessario che l'Unione europea per prima tenga un comportamento esemplare, non esitando a prendere tutti i provvedimenti necessari, anche contro gli Stati membri stessi, per combattere queste azioni illegali.

Ritengo utile continuare, anzi migliorare, i diversi programmi di sorveglianza nei paesi in via di sviluppo. È necessario attuare tutte quelle misure ben individuate dalla relazione della collega Lövin, a cui faccio i complimenti, che portino a una più stretta collaborazione, sia a livello legislativo che a livello operativo, nelle diverse organizzazioni regionali della pesca.

Signor Presidente, concludo dicendo che è fondamentale che l'Unione europea assuma iniziative necessarie a livello multilaterale e globale perché, come è ben chiaro a tutti, è un problema che l'Unione europea non può risolvere da sola.


  Ole Christensen, for S&D-Gruppen. – Hr. formand! Tak til ordføreren, Isabella Lövin, for arbejdet med denne betænkning og tak for samarbejdet. Det er ved at være tid til at bekæmpe ulovligt fiskeri på verdensplan. Det burde ikke være muligt at lande ulovligt fiskede fisk i nogen havn i verden. Vi skal selvfølgelig også se på os selv i Europa, således at vi har orden i eget hus. Hvis der ikke er nogen havn, hvor man kan lande sine fisk, og hvor man kan sælge sine fisk, fjerner man også incitamentet til at fiske ulovligt.

Jeg har den opfattelse, at ulovligt fiskeri er noget svineri, og at grove overtrædelser burde sanktioneres på samme niveau som økonomisk kriminalitet. Ulovligt fiskeri er nemlig dårligt for alt og alle. Det er dårligt for fiskebestandene og gør det vanskeligt at vurdere deres bæredygtighed. Det er dårligt for økosystemet i verdens have, fordi man ikke ved, hvor mange fisk der fanges. Endelig er det selvfølgelig også dårligt for de fiskere, der opfører sig ordentligt og holder sig inden for lovens rammer. Betænkningen giver nu et godt grundlag for at stramme op på reglerne, hvilket har manglet i kampen mod ulovligt fiskeri. Og ulovligt fiskeri skal stoppes. Det er en af de største trusler mod et bæredygtigt fiskeri i fremtiden.


  Raül Romeva i Rueda, en nombre del Grupo Verts/ALE. – Señor Presidente, quiero empezar también por agradecer y saludar el magnífico trabajo que ha hecho la colega Lövin en ese aspecto tan fundamental que es la lucha contra la pesca ilegal.

Porque, efectivamente, éta es una de las peores amenazas que tienen no solamente la biodiversidad sino también aquellas partes del sector que dependen precisamente del buen estado de los recursos y que quieren hacer bien las cosas.

Pero, para ello, necesitamos más coherencia. Lo que es inaceptable es que –como se ha dicho– barcos y empresas que han estado pescando ilegalmente reciban fondos públicos, institucionales, de la Unión Europea o de los Estados miembros, como ocurre en España con el caso de Vidal Armadores. Esto es inadmisible.

Necesitamos, por lo tanto, medidas que garanticen más investigación, mayor capacidad de control y, sobre todo, sanciones que sean disuasorias y que sean ejemplares. Y para ello tenemos una magnífica oportunidad ahora con la reforma de la política pesquera comunitaria.

Es por eso que yo saludo no solamente el informe, sino también las palabras de la Comisaria, y espero que aprovechemos esa oportunidad, lo que, lamentablemente, no hemos hecho en el pasado.


  Marek Józef Gróbarczyk, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Chciałbym serdecznie podziękować pani poseł Izabelli Lövin za tak dobre, doskonałe przygotowanie sprawozdania z zakresie eliminacji nieuczciwych, nielegalnych połowów. Wobec stanu zasobów mórz i oceanów sprawozdanie to ma kluczowe znaczenie dla przyszłej wspólnej polityki rybołówstwa. To niezwykle ważne, aby standardy obowiązujące w Unii Europejskiej zaczęły obowiązywać na całym świecie. UE to największy importer produktów rybołówstwa, a to daje nam prawo do wdrożenia wymogów i zasad eliminacji nielegalnych połowów. Wspólna polityka rybołówstwa jest niezwykle wymagająca dla europejskiego rybołówstwa. Nielegalne połowy to najczarniejszy element nieuczciwej konkurencji, degradujący środowisko naturalne oraz niszczący europejskie rybołówstwo.

Wyrażając aprobatę dla sprawozdania warto odnieść się również do tego, że musimy go wspierać wspólnie, nie tylko w Komisji Europejskiej, ale i również we wszystkich komisjach Parlamentu. Dziękuję bardzo.


  João Ferreira, em nome do Grupo GUE/NGL. – Senhor Presidente, Senhora Comissária, como bem refere a relatora, a pesca é uma actividade global, tal como o é, necessariamente, a sua componente ilegal. A pesca ilegal não regulamentada e não declarada acarreta prejuízos significativos para um património comum da Humanidade: os oceanos e os seus imensos, embora finitos, recursos. Estima-se, no mínimo, que ela corresponda a 15 % do volume total de capturas, embora possa corresponder na verdade a um valor bem superior.

A conservação deste património não pode ser senão uma tarefa e uma responsabilidade comum da Humanidade. Por esta razão, o combate à pesca ilegal deve prioritariamente ser considerado no âmbito da cooperação internacional, no quadro de organizações multilaterais como a FAO.

Assim, ganham particular premência o acordo da FAO relativo às medidas a implementar pelos Estados de porto, o Acordo das Nações Unidas sobre as Populações de Peixes, o Acordo da FAO para a Promoção do Cumprimento e a Convenção das Nações Unidas sobre o Direito do Mar. É igualmente importante o reforço do papel e da cooperação internacional no quadro das organizações regionais de gestão de pescas.

Queremos aqui reconhecer e valorizar o esforço desenvolvido pela relatora para promover uma discussão ampla, que incluiu vários documentos de trabalho intermédios, e elaborar um relatório abrangente e completo.

Queremos também reconhecer a disponibilidade para acolher todos os contributos pertinentes. O consenso que foi possível alcançar, não obstante naturais divergências pontuais, será reflexo não apenas da natureza do tema, mas também do método de trabalho seguido.

Lamentavelmente, as alterações apresentadas pelo PPE, relativas à criação da guarda costeira europeia, vêm pôr em causa este consenso. São alterações que claramente extravasam o âmbito do relatório e a discussão tida durante a sua preparação. São, além disso, alterações que, consabidamente, estão longe de ser consensuais, ao contrário da generalidade das restantes medidas – algumas delas inovadoras – propostas no relatório.

Apelamos por isso à rejeição destas alterações, sem o que o relatório, na nossa opinião, sairá claramente enfraquecido.


  Derek Roland Clark, on behalf of the EFD Group. – Mr President, the CFP was only introduced in 1973, when the UK joined the common market. Up to then, UK fishermen had looked after their fisheries so well, without all these regulations, that other profligate Member States wanted a slice of our action. The result? Illegal fishing.

Any system of complex rules and regulations produces cheats – that is human nature. Now you want to duplicate our coastguard and to consider more rules to combat possible illegal recreational fishing. Does the EU never stop meddling? To preserve fish stocks, Member States must be responsible for their own fishing waters up to the 200-mile limit or the median line. Bilateral arrangements would be up to them and they would have to protect their own fish stocks in their own interests, under their laws and their enforcement.

Norway does just that. Stocks have recovered, especially the spawning stocks of several species – but then Norway is not in the EU and does not have to obey its crazy rules. It bans discards, requiring that all fish caught be landed. Meanwhile, EU stocks are seriously depleted. I know thought is being given to discards, but after 38 years of waste, will our stocks recover?

As to combating illegal fishing globally, the EU’s discard policy is the greatest illegal fishing scandal of all! That – and licensing European fleets to raid the waters of the third world, reducing those people to poverty – is what I call illegal.


  Diane Dodds (NI). - Mr President, I would like to thank my colleague Ms Lövin for the report and to assure her of my support for it.

Last week, I presented the Commission with details of an innovative project being launched by marine scientists in Northern Ireland, who are about to begin work on an ecosystem approach to management within the Irish Sea. That process is far from simple. However, in the meantime, annual decisions will soon be made that will have far-reaching consequences for our fishermen.

The Commission has proposed significant cuts in a range of fishing opportunities for 2012, on the basis that the stocks concerned are ‘data poor’. We are told that the failed long-term cod recovery plan has to stay in place for at least another year, either because of a lack of resources to fix it or because the Treaty denies us the flexibility to do so. The development of an Integrated Maritime Policy is sensible but will take time, and in the meantime we risk ignoring the problems that are impacting upon my constituents and our seas today.

Turning to the question of combating illegal fishing on a global level, I will again highlight a problem on the EU’s doorstep; namely the illegal catches of mackerel by Iceland and the Faroe Islands, as well as further dramatic autonomous increases in their catches during 2011. The Faroe Islands have issued mackerel licences to a number of third-country vessels, some of which are blacklisted by the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission. A solution must be found – but not one that rewards Iceland and the Faroes with a further substantial share of that stock.


  Josefa Andrés Barea (S&D). - Señor Presidente, ¡enhorabuena a la señora Lövin y al señor Christensen por sus aportaciones! Desde mi Grupo hemos llegado a enmiendas de transacción.

Este informe da un mayor papel a la Unión Europea respecto a la pesca ilegal. Europa puede asumir el liderazgo mundial. Existía un reglamento que, al parecer, ha sido insuficiente.

Esta norma nos va a dar más garantías, porque existe el mismo tipo de inspecciones para todos los países de la Unión, la verificación de datos y las mismas sanciones. Esto supone que vamos a identificar al infractor, no vamos a culpabilizar a un sector, señor Romeva, sino al infractor.

Y habrá una dimensión externa muy importante, las importaciones de pescado de terceros países, introducir obligaciones para la importación de pescado, documentos acreditativos para las autoridades de terceros países. Los acuerdos van a jugar un papel prioritario como medio de cerrar la puerta a la flota que no sea respetuosa.

Todos debemos trabajar contra la pesca ilegal, pero, en este momento, la Unión Europea puede liderar esta actuación contra la pesca ilegal en todo el mundo.


  Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE). - Mr President, my Green Group colleague Ms Lövin has contributed her expertise and commitment to this report and that is one of the reasons why – unusually for a Fisheries Committee report – it is being greeted with unanimity across this Chamber.

The report says that the EU, at least on paper, has armed itself with tools to combat illegal fishing, but we have to do more than that to persuade other regimes and other states. We have to be above reproach, and it further calls on the review of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to be used to create incentives for legal fishing. This is very important. Incentives are absolutely crucial to successful fisheries management policy, and the current CFP has singularly failed to provide them.

By contrast, the conservation credit scheme that is operating in Scotland has government, industry and environmental NGOs all working together to devise and implement successful management measures which, among other things, are radically reducing the wastage of discards. In my view, a CFP which threatens equal access to waters and resources will not help to encourage such initiatives, nor will it provide the necessary incentives to report illegal activity.


  Elie Hoarau (GUE/NGL). - Monsieur le Président, je voudrais dire qu'en grande partie, grâce à ses régions ultrapériphériques, l'Union européenne est la première puissance maritime mondiale. C'est là un atout majeur pour l'Europe, aussi l'élaboration et la mise en œuvre d'une grande politique de la mer, des océans et des fonds marins sont essentielles pour demain. Mais je crains que, avec 20 ou 50 millions d'euros, cela ne soit pas suffisant pour réaliser ce grand défi. La lutte contre la pêche illégale fait partie de cette grande politique et il est urgent, au niveau européen, de trouver une solution adéquate à ce problème, notamment dans le cadre d'une coopération internationale.

Je signale, par ailleurs, que les zones maritimes de la Guadeloupe, de la Guyane, de la Martinique, de Mayotte et de la Réunion sont régulièrement violées et pillées. Comme le rapport n'en fait pas état, je profite de cette occasion pour attirer l'attention de mes collègues et de la Commission sur ce problème particulier.


  Francisco Sosa Wagner (NI). - Señor Presidente, el informe de la colega Lövin apunta bien a la cuestión fundamental de aunar esfuerzos en la lucha contra la pesca ilegal.

Los objetivos de una política común de pesca sostenible, de defensa del medio marino y de la promoción de una pesca sin competencia desleal se ven truncados si no se lucha de manera comprometida contra esta pesca ilegal.

Los océanos no conocen fronteras, así que los esfuerzos deben hacerse tanto a nivel europeo como a nivel internacional. Por ello, la Unión Europea debe ser creíble en sus políticas y debe sancionar prácticas, como las recientemente publicadas, en las que buques de bandera comunitaria operan ilegalmente en aguas protegidas por medidas de conservación.

El problema de la pesca ilegal no solo es una cuestión de buques con bandera de terceros países sino también un problema de los operadores europeos. Además, no podemos avanzar sin contar con un instrumento financiero fuerte, que condicione el acceso al dinero público a la estricta realización de controles efectivos y a la aplicación de todas las normas de pesca.


  Κρίτων Αρσένης (S&D). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, κύριε Επίτροπε, κύριοι συνάδελφοι, καλωσορίζω πραγματικά αυτή την έκθεση και δίνω τα συγχαρητήριά μου στην εισηγήτρια κ. Lövin για την εξαιρετική δουλειά της.

Η παράνομη και μη καταγεγραμμένη αλιεία είναι μια μορφή οργανωμένου εγκλήματος και μια απειλή για τις θάλασσές μας και για όλους μας. Το 19% της παγκόσμιας αλιείας είναι παράνομη και μη καταγεγραμμένη και εμείς, στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, επιδοτούμε αυτή τη δραστηριότητα με 1,1 δισ. ευρώ κάθε χρόνο.

Καλωσορίζω τις προτάσεις αυτής της έκθεσης για τεχνικά μέτρα που είναι απαραίτητα για να καταπολεμήσουμε την παράνομη αλιεία και πραγματικά να καταφέρουμε να έχουμε και την ιχνηλασιμότητα στα αλιευτικά προϊόντα. Χρειάζεται διεθνής συνεργασία, όπως είπε η κ. Δαμανάκη, ιδίως για να εντοπίσουμε και να καταγράψουμε τα πλοία που συμμετέχουν σε παράνομες δραστηριότητες.

Τέλος, θέλω να επισημάνω το θέμα της ευρωπαϊκής ακτογραμμής: θεωρώ ότι, εάν δεν προχωρήσουμε σε αυτό το μέτρο, δεν θα καταφέρουμε ν' αλλάξουμε την κατάσταση, δεν θα καταφέρουμε να καταπολεμήσουμε την παράνομη αλιεία.


  Guido Milana (S&D). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signora Commissario, anche in questo caso lei ha un forte sostegno da parte del Parlamento. Il lavoro fatto dalla collega Lövin è un lavoro straordinario, è un buon lavoro istruttorio anche se, per alcuni versi, su alcune questioni si poteva anche osare qualcosa in più. Io ho un'opinione diversa, anche se sosterrò la sua tesi, sull'opportunità e l'occasione di fare una Guardia costiera europea. Ho un'opinione diversa, ma sosterrò comunque la sua posizione.

Signora Commissario, il dato vero è uno, è che occorre che la Commissione svolga un ruolo globale. Lo abbiamo detto in tutte le salse e credo che qui ci sia la chiave vera, cioè costruire una vera e propria politica estera di questa attività. Il rapporto con Stati Uniti, Cina e Giappone è fondamentale in questo senso, perché dentro a questo rapporto, dentro la costruzione di regole comuni e di comportamenti conseguenti, si ha l'essenza di questa attività. Quindi, l'obiettivo vero è che cresca la consapevolezza che il pesce, come tale, è un bene comune ed è un bene comune globale.


  Richard Howitt (S&D). - Mr President, I rise as MEP for East Anglia to protest that the objectives discussed in the earlier debate on Integrated Maritime Policy, as well as those in paragraph 12 of this report on combating illegal fishing, are fatally undermined by the UK closure of coastguard stations, including both Walton and Great Yarmouth in my constituency.

By definition, the sailing community travels between the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands and thus relies on adequate coastguard services on both sides of the Channel and the North Sea. From an East Anglian perspective – given the need to serve the busy shipping routes to the ports of Yarmouth, Harwich, Felixstowe and Tilbury, as well as the economic importance of seaside tourism and the mass development of offshore wind farms – this is a disaster waiting to happen on a level with the Gulf of Mexico.

Britain has already withdrawn four rescue and fire-fighting tugs from the Channel and has put the responsibility on France; a step which, according to my colleague Ms Grelier, is causing widespread anger in Northern France.

I call on the Commission to investigate whether the British closure of coastguard stations breaches the principles of EU maritime policy and our country’s obligations to protect European marine protection sites in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex; and I call on the British Government to think again, or it will have lost lives on its conscience.


  Gesine Meissner (ALDE). - Herr Präsident! Wir haben gerade eben über die integrierte Meerespolitik gesprochen und da spielt natürlich auch die Fischerei eine Rolle. Ich weiß, da ich eben dieses Thema schon längere Zeit behandele, dass Fischerei normalerweise immer als letzte Politik kommt. Aber die Fischer spielen natürlich bei uns eine wichtige Rolle für die Nahrungsmittelversorgung. Und es ist auch für kleine und mittelständische Unternehmen wichtig, dass sie in einem abgesicherten Bereich arbeiten und dass es keine illegale Fischerei gibt, die ihnen ihre Arbeit oder auch die Stellung am Markt erschwert.

Es ist richtig, was gesagt wurde: Es betrifft nicht nur die Zusammenarbeit mit Entwicklungsländern. Natürlich spielt das eine Rolle, weil die dort auch importieren. Es spielt auch eine Rolle bei uns, dass wir illegale Fischerei bekämpfen. Ich möchte darum ein Punkt aufgreifen, den mein Kollege Milana und auch Frau Lövin gerade angesprochen haben. Ich weiß, die europäische Küstenwache wird nicht von allen gleichermaßen gewollt. Ich glaube aber, dass wir da zumindest in Europa eine bessere Zusammenarbeit brauchen. Das ist schon 2008 in einem Bericht unseres Parlaments über die integrierte Meerespolitik gefordert worden. Ich habe es wiederholt aufgegriffen, und die Kommission muss in diesem Bereich einen Vorschlag machen.


  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D). - Având în vedere evoluţiile tehnologice şi investiţiile necesare în politica spaţială a Uniunii Europene, subliniez rolul important pe care utilizarea sistemelor de navigaţie prin satelit îl au în monitorizarea, controlul şi supravegherea activităţilor de pescuit. România şi Bulgaria au devenit membre ale Uniunii Europene în 2007, lucru care a extins în Marea Neagră politica comună în domeniul pescuitului. Din păcate, cu excepţia unor acorduri bilaterale, nu există niciun acord global cu privire la gestionarea regională a stocurilor de peşte din Marea Neagră.

Este necesar sprijinul Comisiei pentru dezvoltarea dialogului regional în vederea elaborării unei strategii marine comune în zona Mării Negre, la care să participe şi celelalte state riverane Mării Negre. Consider oportună înfiinţarea unui consiliu consultativ pentru Marea Neagră, care să reprezinte o formă de comunicare şi colaborare la nivel tehnic a actorilor din domeniul pescuitului. Dacă un acord de partajare de bază continuă să rămână în suspensie, există riscul de colaps al resurselor, iar daunele economice care au avut loc deja în cazul pescuitului pe anumite resurse se vor răspândi pe scară largă.


  Andrew Henry William Brons (NI). - Mr President, the eagerness with which the UK was bundled into the EU’s predecessor in 1973 had nothing to do with our collective charm and charisma and everything to do with access to our fishing grounds.

The EU is not content to have ruined our fishing fleet and halved our number of fishermen, but it is now turning its attention to criminalising our recreational sea anglers. The Commission will decide by the end of 2012 whether recreational fishing can be regarded as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Recreational anglers catch a minuscule percentage of the total catch but, most important of all, recreational anglers are much more likely to return immature fish safely to the sea.

The report calls for an end to flags of convenience. However, the 1991 ECJ decision legalising quota-hopping legalised just that – a form of flags of convenience.


  Ulrike Rodust (S&D). - Herr Präsident, Frau Kommissarin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Illegale Fischerei ist eine ernsthafte Bedrohung für das Wohlergehen unserer Fischbestände, aber auch für alle ehrlichen Fischer, die um einen Teil ihres Einkommens betrogen werden. Ich möchte an dieser Stelle einmal ausnahmsweise den Ministerrat loben, der es geschafft hat, eine IUU-Verordnung zu verabschieden, und zwar vor Inkrafttreten des Lissabon-Vertrags, also ohne unser Mitwirken. Das war ein wichtiger Schritt.

Aber Isabella Lövins sehr guter Bericht macht deutlich: Es gibt noch viel zu tun. Die illegale Fischerei ist ein typisches Beispiel für Probleme, die so groß sind, dass die Europäische Union alleine sie nicht bewältigen kann. Wir brauchen globale Lösungen. Und für globale Lösungen brauchen wir handlungsfähige globale Institutionen.

Als Berichterstatterin für die Reform der Gemeinsamen Fischereipolitik möchte ich abschließend hinzufügen: Der beste Schutz vor illegaler Fischerei sind Fischer, die die Regeln kennen und von deren Sinn überzeugt sind. Das muss unsere Leitlinie für die neue Reform sein.


  Phil Prendergast (S&D). - Mr President, it is difficult to estimate the extent of IUU fishing. It has a direct economic impact on countries, especially developing countries, and these countries are losing the value of the catches that could be taken by local fishermen if IUU fishing was not taking place. This fishing is facilitated by a lack of access to information about vessel names and the identity of their owners. We must ensure Member States fully enforce rules obliging ships to carry this information.

Of equal concern is the role of organised crime in IUU fishing. Criminal organisations have been dipping their feet into the world of this criminal activity, and they have a strong economic incentive. Many species of fish, particularly those that have been over-exploited, are in short supply and are therefore of high value. Some of the more traditional criminal techniques are now being put to use to support IUU fishing; techniques such as human trafficking, slave labour, tax evasion, money laundering, customs fraud, corruption and handling of stolen goods, etc.


  Maria Damanaki, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I would like to thank all the speakers. Let me start by giving you some clarification on recreational fisheries. Recreational fisheries is not, I repeat not, an EU competence. So the European Commission is not responsible, and the national governments have to tackle all these problems. So please, do not come back again and again here to recreational fisheries. The Commission’s only responsibility is to ensure, when we are talking about recreational fisheries, that the product cannot be sold. Everything else comes under the competence of national governments.

Let me now turn to our main point. This report was broadly supported and deserves it, because it is a good report, is well-balanced and also refers to all the relevant issues. However, I would like to answer some of your remarks and would mainly like to raise two points. I would like to try to convince you that we are improving, and I would like to convey to you this positive message.

We have done a lot since this IUU regulation was put in force. We have achieved much and sometimes we have solved some problems. That has to be recognised. For example, you have mentioned our obligation to be responsible in our waters. Well, we have been responsible. The Commission is doing its job. I should mention the last case of the use of drift nets in the Mediterranean. The national governments have been pushed and been obliged to take all the necessary measures, and we are going further on this case.

Secondly, Mr Romeva Rueda referred to a Spanish enterprise. Well, I can tell you that we have had some news today: the owner of that enterprise himself was sanctioned by a court in Las Palmas, and now he is facing a prison sentence because of fishing illegally in the Antarctic. So we are improving here, and not only on paper as somebody said.

Regarding international cooperation, we have done much in the last year. Let me just give you some figures. To date, the Commission has finalised ten evaluation missions to Panama, Belize, Sri Lanka, Mauritania, Thailand, China, Guinea-Conakry, Senegal, Korea and Indonesia. So we have done a lot of work. Referring to other countries and our cooperation, I would like also to mention that since July 2011 we have gone through 120 procedures of requests to flag states because their vessels have fished illegally. Up to now, the flag states concerned have put sanctions on 19 vessels. We are talking about Belize, China – 13 vessels were punished by the Chinese authorities themselves – the Comoros, Guinea and others. We are doing a lot, bearing in mind our limited resources, but I do agree that we have to do more and I really rely on you in order to take that exercise further.


  Isabella Lövin, rapporteur. − Mr President, thank you so much to all the colleagues for your support. I am really proud that there is such a consensus about this report.

I would like to thank the shadows, of course, for their excellent work and all the opinion-makers in the Committee on Development and the Committee on the Environment as well.

I would like to say a few words on the European coastguard, which was raised a couple of times. I am very much in favour of more cooperation between different coastguards, and we also have the Fisheries Control Agency in Vigo, which I think should be reinforced in their work so that is out of the question, but I think that the European coastguard is going too far in this report.

I am extremely proud that this Parliament would endorse the notions that also are included in this report: the creation of a global body to fill the void that is actually right now very, very evident in this world and that is the governance of our world’s oceans and the international waters, and that we support the creation of a body, possibly under the auspices of the UN, and that the RFMOs should go from being exploitation clubs to actually management bodies of the world’s oceans. That is also something that I am very glad that this Parliament supports.

Finally, this report also calls for the international oceans governance to be made a priority at the next world summit on sustainable development in Rio – the Rio+20 next year. As Mrs Rohde said, we need global solutions and I think we need global institutions, perhaps, to tackle this problem and, given the challenges of a shrinking planet, we need to think boldly and very urgently as well. So thank you, colleagues. Thank you, Mr President.


Written statements (Rule 149)


  Luís Paulo Alves (S&D), por escrito. – A protecção contra a pesca ilegal, não declarada e não regulamentada assume também uma importância decisiva para a sustentabilidade dos recursos e da actividade das comunidades piscatórias açorianas. Nós vivemos numa região com a maior Zona Económica Exclusiva da Europa, mas toda esta enorme extensão, por inexistência de plataforma continental, tem muita água, muito profunda, mas pouco peixe. A exploração equilibrada destes frágeis ecossistemas é decisiva para contrariar a sua degradação, mas a sua protecção contra a pesca não declarada, não regulamentada e ilegal é difícil, pela extensão das nossas águas e pela insuficiência e inadequação dos meios que Portugal tem utilizado no controlo dos acessos e da pesca das nossas águas. Impõe-se por isso que a União Europeia seja envolvida e que seja dada prioridade aos meios de vigilância e controlo adequados, capazes de contrariar esta ameaça e proceder à vigilância e ao controlo das actividades ilegais que delapidam os nossos recursos, colocando-os em risco e ameaçando a sobrevivência das nossas comunidades piscatórias.


  Béla Glattfelder (PPE), írásban. – Számos kutató szerint a világ tengereinek háromnegyede túlhalászott, azaz az érintett halállomány már nem képes újratermelni magát. Mivel az óceánok közel kétharmada nem tartozik egyetlen ország kizárólagos fennhatósága alá, hanem nemzetközi vizeknek számítanak, ezért nemzetközi összefogás és nemzetközi szintű szabályozás szükséges az illegális halászat visszaszorítására. A világ növekvő népességének ugyanakkor egyre nagyobb szüksége van a tengerekből származó fehérjére. Ezért az illegális halászat elleni küzdelem mellett szükség van az édesvízi haltenyésztés, mint a halászat legfenntarthatóbb formájának a fejlesztésére, támogatására.


  Pavel Poc (S&D), písemně. – Nadměrný rybolov představuje vážnou hrozbu pro biologickou rozmanitost a udržitelné mořské prostředí. Tato situace je ještě umocňována nezákonným rybolovem, který dále zhoršuje sociální a hospodářské dopady úbytku rybích populací. V neposlední řadě dále rostou případná rizika spojená se zabezpečením potravin vzhledem ke skutečnosti, že pro více než miliardu obyvatel planety Země představují ryby a další mořské plody primární zdroj proteinů. Problém ilegálního rybolovu přitom není ani tak v tom, že by neexistovaly prostředky k dohledu nebo k zajištění důkazů v případě porušení pravidel. Problém je v tom, že se neustále všichni na něco vymlouvají a zatím je ročně do EU ročně dovezeno půl milionu tun ilegálně nalovených ryb v hodnotě přes miliardu EUR. Nedostatek politické vůle poškozuje jak evropské rybáře, tak rybí populace. Testy původu s využitím světové databáze DNA dnes stojí kolem 8 EUR za vzorek a není třeba jich dělat nijak moc, postačí je dělat namátkově. A jestli můžeme platit kdekoho za to, že pomocí satelitů fotografuje nebo odposlouchává kdekoho na zeměkouli, můžeme občas tuto techniku také využít k něčemu rozumnému. Ani zde už náklady nejsou ve srovnání se ztrátami způsobenými ilegálním rybolovem nijak ohromující. Proto je nezbytné přezkoumat dostatečnost kontrolních mechanismů a jejich uplatňování v praxi.


  Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (PPE), na piśmie. – Sprawozdanie posłanki Lövin przedstawia, jak istotny problem stanowi tzw. „NNN”, czyli nielegalne, niekontrolowane i nieuregulowane rybołówstwo. Aby to sobie uświadomić, wystarczy porównać wartość 6,4 milionów ton ryb wyławianych przez kraje Unii Europejskiej w ciągu roku z szacowanymi, podkreślam, dolnymi widełkami procederu nielegalnego rybołówstwa, stanowiącego wartość 11 milionów ton rocznie, co przekracza prawie dwukrotnie wielkość rocznych połowów całej Unii Europejskiej. Moim zdaniem kraje UE powinny nie tylko walczyć z NNN, ale również podjąć praktyczne kroki zapobiegawcze, między innymi zunifikować ustawodawstwo w takim stopniu, aby stało się możliwe efektywne działanie organów wykonawczych w eliminowaniu NNN.

Prawie połowa mieszkańców UE jest związana bezpośrednio lub pośrednio, ekonomicznie lub społecznie z szeroko pojętym rybołówstwem, dlatego poprawa sytuacji w tym sektorze stałaby się istotnym katalizatorem wzrostu gospodarczego. Ważnym aspektem działania wspierającego rybołówstwo jest współpraca z krajami spoza UE. Pomimo silnej pozycji UE w sektorze rybołówstwa uważam, że współpraca z takimi krajami jak Japonia, Chiny, czy Stany Zjednoczone ma bardzo duże znaczenie dla efektywnego wdrażania regulacji. Zjawisko NNN nie ma granic i powinno być kontrolowane, a następnie likwidowane zgodnie z tematem powyższego sprawozdania, tj. we współpracy międzynarodowej na całym świecie.


  President. − The debate is closed.

The vote will take place shortly.

(The sitting was suspended at 11.55 and resumed at 12.00)



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