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Europarliament: fishing vessels obliged to have tracking devices

All catches will be recorded and digitised to ensure full traceability

19, Oct 2023

Under the European Union's renewed fisheries control system, all fishing vessels will be monitored and all catches will be recorded to ensure full traceability. The new measures on the control of fishing activities were definitively approved yesterday with 438 votes in favour, 146 against and 40 abstentions. Under the new rules, all vessels will have to have a tracking device on board that allows national authorities to locate and identify them at regular intervals. Some small vessels may be exempt from this obligation until 2030, while small fishing fleets will have four years to adapt to the new requirements.

The new EU legislation will help collect more precise data also to allow better management of marine resources. All EU fishing vessels, without exception, will have to record and report their catches in a digital way. This will apply in particular to fishing logbooks, transhipment declarations and landing declarations. Commanders of fishing vessels less than 12 meters in length will be able to complete and submit a simplified declaration at the end of the fishing day, once they arrive in port and before disembarkation. For the first time, vessels fishing for recreational purposes will also have to declare their catches through electronic systems set up by the national authorities or the Commission.

The regulation also addresses legislative disparities between EU countries regarding sanctions and provides that the value of fishery products caught by a fishing vessel defines the minimum level of fines that will be applied in the event of a serious violation of the rules. The so-called margin of tolerance - the difference between the estimated fish caught and its weight at the port of landing - will be set at 10% per species, with some exceptions for catches of small volumes and for some particular species.

To ensure compliance with the so-called landing obligation (which requires all fishermen to land all their catches), EU fishing vessels of 18 meters or more, which may pose a high risk of non-compliance, will have to have remote electronic monitoring systems on board , including closed-circuit television, at the latest four years after the entry into force of the legislation.

Operators will need to maintain information across the entire supply chain, including the first retail sale of fishery and aquaculture products. Full digital traceability of fish and fish products should help strengthen food security, ensure fairer competition and combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

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Brussels, Belgium, 10/18/2023 10:28
EFA News - European Food Agency

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