In its efforts to ensure that fisheries rules are respected across the EU, the European Commission has today adopted an action plan to help upgrade the Portuguese fisheries control system to European standards. This plan was prepared in partnership with the Portuguese authorities to ensure that Portugal complies fully with the requirements of the EU's 2009 Fisheries Control Regulation and the new Common Fisheries Policy to achieve sustainable fishing.
A new European Directive to support Member States in their coordination of various activities that compete for space at sea takes effect today. Since many activities at sea – from fishing grounds, aquaculture farms and marine protected areas to maritime infrastructure such as wind farms, cables and shipping lanes - run across national borders, the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive will help Member States co-operate better, involve stakeholders in the process and avoid potential conflicts between the diverse uses of sea space.
After a break of more than 2.5 years, European fishing boats can again take up their fishing activities in Moroccan waters. A new four-year protocol of the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) entered into force on 15 July, after which the Moroccan authorities have started to issue licences that allow European vessels to return to Moroccan waters.
Commissioner Damanaki welcomes protection of shark and ray species threatened by unsustainable trade
Since 14 September 2014, eight shark and ray species have received extra protection from unsustainable trade. They have been listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and now have to be accompanied by export or import permits issued by EU countries when they enter or leave the EU market. The eight species - porbeagle, oceanic whitetip shark, scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead shark, smooth hammerhead shark and manta rays – were earmarked for protection in March 2013 and join three shark species - basking shark, great white shark, whale shark – already on the CITES list.
Speech at the Scientific Council of the International Centre of Maritime Research and Tradition, Maria Tsakos Foundation
Commissioner Damanaki visited the island of Chios and participated in the Scientific Council of the International Centre of Maritime Research and Tradition, Maria Tsakos Foundation on Thursday September 11th. Read below Commissioner's speech on the potential of the Blue Growth strategy and the achievements of the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.
Russian trade ban: Commissioner Damanaki ready to support EU fisheries sector with financial help, quota flexibility
In the light of Russia’s trade ban on certain fisheries products which hit the European fisheries sector this summer, Commissioner Damanaki has today reassured the Council and the European Parliament that the European Commission stands ready to support the European fisheries sector. In a letter addressed to Italian Minister Maurizio Martina and the Chair of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, Alain Cadec, Commissioner Damanaki outlined that the EU can provide financial support to the sector as well as the possibility of shifting unused fishing quotas to 2015.
Commissioner Damanaki met in Athens with the representatives of Europa Nostra in Greece on September 4. The meeting was held in the company the President Mr. Costas Stamatopoulos and the Vice-President Mr. Yannis Michail of Elliniki Etairia as well as with Mr. Miltos Lazoglou, country planner on the Sustainable Aegean Programme.
Together they raised issues on the delineation of the coastline, the implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning as well as on the strategy on Coastal and Maritime Tourism. They also discussed further the importance of safe and environmentally friendly aquaculture.
The European Commission has strengthened its commitment to sustainable fishing by issuing a new set of guidelines to help Member States strike the balance between fishing capacity and fishing opportunities. The guidelines recommend to Member States a set of standardised indicators (biological, economic and vessel-use indicators) to determine if the size of their fishing fleets are in line with the amount of fishing opportunities allocated to them.
Commissioner Damanaki said on this occasion: "Too many powerful boats chasing too few fish inevitably leads to overfishing and ever dwindling stocks. Balance is the key to sustainable stocks and today's guidelines show our commitment to helping Member States keep their fleets' capacity in line with the amount of fish they can catch."
Russian trade ban on fishery products: Commission in contact with EU governments; financial support possible for storage
Following Russia’s announcement on 7 August to ban imports of certain fisheries products from the European Union, the European Commission is working closely with Member States authorities to gather evidence on the impact of the Russian trade measures in the fisheries sector and to outline the available support to the sectors affected by the ban. In 2013, the total export value of the banned EU fisheries products was close to EUR 144 million, which represents 2% of total value of the EU's fish and aquaculture annual product.
PHOTOS - A week after the EU lifted its trade measures against the Faroe Islands on herring and mackerel, Commissioner Damanaki received the Minister of Fisheries of the Faroe Islands, Mr Jacob Vestergaard, in Athens.
At a press point held after their meeting, Commissioner Damanaki made clear that “the herring dispute is over” which was “good news for all sides”. She stated that she agreed with the Minister that sustainable fisheries in the North-East Atlantic was a “common objective” of both sides.
Future catch limits would have to be agreed among all five coastal states involved in this fishery in the North-East Atlantic. Read her full statement:
"Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thanks for being with us today. I very much welcome Minister Vestergaard here in Athens.
We discussed a challenge that we are facing in all European sea basins, be it here in the Mediterranean region or in the North East Atlantic: we need to get back to healthy fish stocks in Europe. Whereas the situation in the Mediterranean is alarming, with more than 90% of the stocks overfished, a lot of work also needs to be done in the Atlantic where fish stocks are slowly recovering.
Until recently the EU and the Faroe Islands had disagreements about the sustainable management of mackerel, Atlanto Scandian herring and blue whiting in the North East Atlantic. But the Faroe Islands agreed this summer to end their unsustainable fishery. So I am very happy to say that the EU last week lifted its trade measures that were imposed in reaction to the unsustainably high catch limits.
In today's discussions, Minister Vestergaard and I were in full agreement on three things:
First, we agreed that the herring dispute between the EU and the Faroe Islands is over. Faroese fishermen are back in EU waters and European fishermen have taken up their traditional fisheries in Faroese waters. This is good news for all sides.
Second, we agreed that we had a common objective: sustainable fisheries in the North-East Atlantic. If we want to continue fishing in these waters, we need to stick to the advice of our scientists on the state of the fish stocks.
Third, we agreed that we needed to work hand in hand to reach this objective. We need to agree among all five coastal states in the North East Atlantic on our quotas: the European Union, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway and Russia. And the resolution of the bilateral dispute between the EU and the Faroe Islands is without prejudice to the outcome of our upcoming talks about the 2015 catch limits this autumn.
I look forward to a strategic partnership that the EU and the Faroe Islands could develop with these three points in mind.
Find here the EU – Faroese Joint Statement following today's meeting.
For background information: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-931_en.htm ; http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-668_en.htm