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Big Brother EU turns to fishing

Agreement reached between EU Council and Europarliament on revision of control system

07, Jun 2023

CCTV cameras for large fishing vessels: electronic tracking for all from 2030, data collection for recreational fishing, common criteria for penalties. These are just some of the new features of the EU regulation on technical rules for fishing. The agreement was reached between the EU Council and Europarliament.

“The Commission”, stresses an official EU communiqué, “welcomes the provisional political agreement reached today between the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on the revision of the fisheries control system proposed by the European Commission exactly five years ago, with a view to better implementing the Common Fisheries Policy”.

To ensure enforcement of obligations on unwanted catches, EU vessels of 18 meters or more will have to be equipped with remote electronic monitoring systems, including CCTV cameras. EU countries will have to ensure systems to track the position and movement of all fishing vessels, with possible exemption of small vessels until 2030.

To overcome differences between EU countries on penalties, the minimum level of fines will be calculated from the value of fisheries products caught: the margin of tolerance will also be common, up to 20 percent of the catch for small-scale fishers.

States will have to have a data collection system for noncommercial fishing, from tourist events or sport competitions: selling recreational fishing catches over 10 kg or worth more than 50 euros will be serious violations. A digital system, called Catch, will help identify and reject illegal fishing products.

“The revised rules”, the note adds, “modernize the way fishing activities of both EU vessels and those fishing in EU waters are monitored. The new rules help prevent overfishing, create a more effective and harmonized fisheries control system, and ensure a level playing field between different sea basins and fleets”.

The agreement, according to the Union, updates much of the existing standards for monitoring fishing vessels by “taking full advantage of modern digital technologies”. The new rules, the note points out, “ensure better monitoring and tracking of catches by using the best available technologies, for example by installing monitoring systems on board most fishing vessels”. They also ensure “electronic recording of catches, using remote electronic monitoring tools on board larger fishing vessels to improve monitoring of compliance with the landing obligation (i.e., that catches are brought ashore), improving traceability of fresh fishery and aquaculture products”.

«By reviewing and updating the fisheries control system, we are ensuring more effective control over the use of our precious marine resources and better enforcement in the future» emphasizes Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius. «With today's agreement, we are also adapting fisheries control to the future through greater use of digital technologies. Our result today shows that the long and difficult discussions over the years were worth every effort».

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Brussels, Belgium, 01/06/2023 07:17 AM
EFA News - European Food Agency

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