- Member states can put in place alternative but effective measures to tackle IUU of European eel
- Restrict fishing efforts to ensure species can reproduce
- Member states must inform European Fisheries Control Agency about control and inspections
The revised rules promote equal opportunities among EU fisheries and regulate fishing activities of species such as the European eel, giant red shrimp or red coral more effectively.
With 645 votes in favour, 4 against and 3 abstentions, the European Parliament approved a proposal to restructure the conditions for fishing in the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) Agreement area.
Promoting equal opportunities for EU operators
The aim of the adopted regulation is to ensure that EU vessels outside EU waters abide by the same rules as those fishing in EU waters. At the same time, it envisages equivalent competition conditions for all the members of the area covered by this regional fisheries management organisation.
To improve communication among parties, MEPs included the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) in the recipients list of members states’ and Commission communications on control and inspection activities.
In addition, MEPs agreed that an estimation of catches of recreational fisheries is important for the Scientific Advisory Committee to provide the best advice.
Sustainable exploitation of species and fight against illegal fishing
The adopted text details procedures concerning the catch of specific species, such as the European eel, giant red shrimp, blue and red shrimp, and red coral, in particular the authorisation of vessels, fishing activity, recording of catches, the creation of fishing restricted areas, spatial or temporal restrictions, and designated landing points.
In the case of landing European eel, member states may put in place alternatives to the designated landing points that must nonetheless be effective. These measures should allow EU countries more flexibility in the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (IUU).
When it comes to mixed fisheries in Mediterranean, MEPs note that fishing efforts should be restricted where adults of important stocks reproduce, to guarantee that risks to reproduction are low and ensure a recovery of species.
Moreover, recreational fishers cannot catch and retain on board, tranship or land red coral.
After the vote, the rapporteur Ladislav Ilčić (ECR, Croatia) said: "Today we are putting the decisions made by the Commission five years ago into EU law, which have already entered into force, and that is quite pointless.
In addition to being slow, the Commission often abuses its right to sign intergovernmental agreements. So when the Commission doesn't like Parliament's point of view, it goes to some intergovernmental organisation like the GFCM, makes a decision there that didn't go through in Parliament, and then five years later comes to Parliament to have us transpose the same decision that we rejected five years ago into European legislation.
In this way, the basic principle that decisions in the EU are made through negotiations between Parliament and Council is completely endangered. Let's contribute together to strengthening democracy and the trust of our voters in European institutions".
Recommendations from GFCM on management, conservation and control measures have to be implemented under EU law. They apply to all commercial and aquaculture activities and to recreational fisheries. In the Committee on Fisheries, these revised rules were approved unanimously.
The Council of Ministers have already adopted the legislation. It will now be published in the Official Journal of the EU.
Raquel Ramalho LOPESPress officer