EU fishing sector alarmed by vote on external fishing regulation

EP votes in favour of new proposal EP votes in favour of new proposal

The European Parliament (EP) has voted in favour of the new proposal for a regulation on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets.

This Regulation offers an opportunity to review the existing regulation, in order to promote simplification, increase transparency, improve governance and better monitoring. As well as enforcing rules and ensuring sustainability.

The EP believes the EU fishing industry endorse these objectives and stress the need to strike the right balance between the sustainable management of fishing activities outside Union waters and the need for solid and speedy administrative procedures.

Javier Garat, president of Europêche, said: “The EU long-distance fleet have been playing a key role in creating jobs within and outside the Union and supplying fish to Union and local markets. They are a vital part of the EU fishing fleet which are highly monitored and controlled.”

He added: “More than 700 large vessels and 10.000 direct jobs are now unnecessarily put under threat since a single mislabeling or a box miscount could be considered as a serious infringement by Member States authorities.”

“The cessation of fishing activities for a 12-month period would not only impact the fishing industry but other related industries and services. Fishermen feel frustrated since all their efforts to be at the global forefront on sustainability and best practices are once again disregarded by EU institutions.”

The eligibility criterion established in Article 5.1.d, however, states that the operator and the fishing vessel can only apply for a fishing authorisation if they have not been subject to a sanction for a serious infringement during the 12 previous months.

The EP has slightly restricted the scope of the article to serious infringements committed by fishing vessels and the master of the fishing vessel, which in view of the sector is far from being a viable solution.

Mr Garat continued: “The problem becomes bigger due to the lack of homogeneity on the Control Regulations of the different Member States, as identified by the EP Fisheries committee last semester, which could lead to extremely different penalties for the same infringement only based on the flag of the vessel in question.”

He concluded: “The EU must ensure that all its citizens enjoy the same rights and obligations, rather than exacerbate the differences among them.”

The fishing body concluded that this rule would expose fishing vessels operating in third country waters to the control systems of these countries without any prior democratic validation of these systems in many cases.

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