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Parliamentary questions
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30 October 2019
Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: P-002799/2019

Under the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos), coastal States have the right to proclaim an economic exclusive zone adjacent to the territorial sea. The determination of the extent and geographical limits of such areas is a Member State’s competence and it is therefore for Member States to contest jurisdictional claims of other coastal States.

The Commission will continue to work closely with the Member States concerned to assess the consequences that such disputes in the determination of exclusive economic zones may have on fisheries.

However, it is the primary responsibility of the flag Member State to ensure safety at sea, including that of the crew, in accordance with the relevant provisions of international law and in particular the Law of the Sea.

Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets(1) lays down a set of rules concerning the fishing operations of EU fishing vessels outside Union waters.

A number of provisions must be complied with to allow for fishing operations to be conducted by Union vessels in third-country waters, under the auspices of Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) or on the high seas. Similarly, Member States have to ensure that those provisions are being respected.

(1)Regulation (EU) 2017/2403 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008, OJ L 347, 28.12.2017, p. 81.

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