Lack of public debate jeopardises new rules to control fishing activities and seafood traceability in EU | WWF

Lack of public debate jeopardises new rules to control fishing activities and seafood traceability in EU

Posted on 30 May 2018    
Currently, the Commission's proposal does not ensure that all necessary information to prove the legal origin of imported seafood products is available to EU import authorities
© Quentin Bates / WWF
Brussels, Belgium - 30 May 2018

Today, the European Commission has proposed new fisheries monitoring and control rules to ensure that EU fishing activities comply with sustainable practices, as outlined in the Common Fisheries Policy. Regrettably, today’s proposal is the outcome of a deficient process, initiated in the last quarter of 2017, where the standard 12-week public consultation was replaced by a one-day meeting with selected stakeholders. 

This rushed and non-inclusive process has resulted in a considerable lack of evidence to support the legislative measures outlined in the proposal, as well as a failure to build consensus amongst the relevant players. Going forward, the proposal will undergo review and debate at the European Parliament and Council, where this lack of evidence gravely jeopardises the robustness of the final legislative package to keep EU fishing activities within sustainable parameters and ensure that seafood products brought to market are fully traceable.

Key positive elements of the proposal which are at risk of being degraded or dropped from the final legislative package include:
  • increasing control of small (less than 12 metres in length) fishing vessel activities, a necessary measure as smaller vessels also significantly contribute to (over) exploitation of fish stocks;
  • the obligation for recreational fishers to obtain a licence and to report their catches, an essential measure to obtain data on the amount of fish caught by the recreational sector; 
  • promoting the installation of cameras on high risk vessels to control the wasteful practice of discarding fish at sea.
Samantha Burgess, Head of Marine Policy at WWF European Policy Office said: “Due to the rushed process, key aspects of the control system such as the traceability of imported seafood products have not been thoroughly thought through. Currently, the Commission's proposal does not ensure that all necessary information to prove the legal origin of imported seafood products is available to EU import authorities. The European Union and its Member States have the largest, most profitable seafood market globally and have a responsibility to European citizens to prevent the sale of illegal seafood products in this market.”

WWF calls upon the European Parliament and Council to take time to deliberate on today’s proposal and ensure that the revision of the EU control system effectively enforces sustainable fisheries governance and seafood consumption in the European Union.


Notes to editors:

Altogether, today’s proposal impacts five different pieces of existing legislation that regulate the EU’s fishing control system. These include:
  • The Control Regulation, a critical regulation which outlines the control rules for EU fishing and seafood traceability practices and;
  • the EU IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing) Regulation, which prevents illegal seafood from entering the EU market.

Contact:

Larissa Milo-Dale
Marine Communications Officer
lmilodale@wwf.eu
+32 483 26 20 86

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