- MEPs say international obligations should become EU law through delegated acts
- Rules need to be easily understood
- New rules go beyond requirements defined by Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement
On Wednesday the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries rejected the Commission’s proposal for managing fishery resources in the Indian Ocean.
MEPs rejected new rules on the management, conservation and control measures in the area covered under the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA) by 24 votes to 3 and no abstentions. They also asked the Commission to withdrawal its proposal.
The Commission has proposed the implementation of measures adopted by this regional fisheries organisation since 2016. MEPs, however, disagree with the Commission’s choice of transposition instrument, called “dynamic references”. This, they say, links new obligations such as updating forms necessary to operations in the sea, to the online SIOFA archives. For MEPs, these new SIOFA-linked obligations do not have any legal value because they have not been published in the Official Journal of the EU.
MEPs stress that new rules will have to be applied by fishing communities and should be easy to understand and available in all EU languages. New rules should also avoid introducing additional conservation and management requirements in comparison with SIOFA measures.
The rapporteur João Pimenta Lopes (The Left, Portugal) said: “With this proposal to transpose the SIOFA recommendations into EU law, as in previous transposition processes, the European Commission is insisting on the use of the so-called 'dynamic references', which this Parliament has repeatedly rejected. The use of this legal instrument undermines the right of citizens and operators to be aware of the full scope and content of their obligations in their own language.
“Parliament rejects this proposal and calls on the Commission to present a new proposal avoiding the use of ‘dynamic references’ and safeguarding the right of citizens and operators to be informed of decisions affecting them and imposing obligations on them in their own language.”
SIOFA is the regional fisheries management organisation responsible for managing fishery resources in the Southern Indian Ocean. All SIOFA measures are binding if participating countries do not object.
The EU has been a “Contracting Party” to the SIOFA since 2008. Currently, there is only one EU vessel operating under SIOFA agreement.
The plenary will vote this proposal in July 2023.