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Chapter 8 - Fisheries
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 December 2004

Background

The Commission's Enlargement Strategy Paper, which was approved by the European Council in Nice in December 2000, foresaw Chapter 8 "Fisheries", as a priority to be discussed under the Belgian Presidency in the second half of 2001.

The main issues addressed in the present stage of the negotiations under this chapter are the administrative capacity, as well as certain specific requests put forward by individual applicant countries concerning the inclusion of further species in the regulation on the common market organisation or concerning the definition of specific management regimes in certain waters.

The determination of the access to resources will be determined towards the end of the negotiations, on the basis of general principles (relative stability, exclusive Community competence) and of a general methodology which are being agreed with applicant countries at this stage.

Compliance with the acquis - horizontal remarks

Regarding the legislative alignment, it ought to be noted that the acquis under chapter 8 consists of regulations, which do not require transposition as such into national legislation. However, the applicant countries are encouraged to introduce legislation before accession, firstly to prepare the administration and the operators to their eventual participation into the Common Fisheries Policy ahead of accession, and secondly to provide for the eventual implementation of the acquis provisions as from accession. Account is also taken of the participation of applicant countries in fisheries agreements or conventions, as well as in regional fisheries organisations.

An assessment of the administrative capacity of the candidate countries to manage the Common Fisheries Policy should take into account the existence of a central administration able to manage the policy. The "acquis" under chapter 8 does not prescribe any particular organisational pattern of the administration. However in the areas of market policy and of resources conservation, inspection and control, and fleet registration, it lays down very detailed requirements both in terms of tasks to be fulfilled and in terms of means and methods to be used. This covers:

  • Resources management, inspection and control : administrations that carry out inspection, management of TACs (Total Allowable Catch), fishing quotas and effort, licenses, implementation of technical measures; inspectors that can control fishing activities in national waters as well as fishing activities exercised by national fishing vessels outside EC waters; equipment to ensure control, such as surveillance vessels, aircraft, land vehicles; efficient application of the satellite surveillance system for the fishing vessels concerned; database allowing cross-checking of catch data with other sources and that can connect with that of the Commission;

  • Structural actions (including fleet registration): an administration that can implement and manage the structural policy for fisheries and aquaculture, in particular structural programmes co-financed by the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG), and the multi-annual guidance programmes (MAGPs); measurement of fishing vessels; establishment of a fishing vessel register from which data are regularly communicated to the Community register.

  • Market policy: administrations that control the implementation of common marketing standards as well as the withdrawal of quantities from the market, that collect and transmit market and reference price information, and that - to the extent the candidate country wish to establish producers' organisations--an administration that can apply the recognition conditions for producers' organisations.

  • The specific Community State aid rules in the fisheries sector, which should also be complied with.

Important remark: It should be noted of course that the acquis on resources management, inspection and control is only very marginally applicable to land-locked countries, and that the acquis on fleet registration only applies to those countries that have fishing vessels under their flag. It should also be noted that the acquis on resources management varies in content depending on the fisheries areas involved (e.g. Atlantic, Baltic Sea, Mediterranean).

State of play

Negotiations on chapter eight were opened with Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia in April 1999. The chapter was provisionally closed with the Czech Republic in April 1999, with Hungary and Slovenia in May 1999. The chapter was provisionally closed with Cyprus and Estonia in April 2000.

Negotiations with Latvia, Malta and Slovakia were opened in October 2000. The chapter was provisionally closed with Slovakia in October 2000 and with Latvia in October 2001.

Negotiations with Bulgaria and Lithuania were opened in March 2001 and with Romania in May 2001. The chapter was provisionally closed with Bulgaria and Lithuania in May 2001, with Romania in June 2001 and with Poland and Malta in June 2002.

Negotiations were concluded with Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia in December 2002 and with Bulgaria and Romania in December 2004.

Compliance with the acquis

The latest assessment of each candidate country’s compliance with the acquis under this chapter heading, can be found in the 2004 Regular Reports and in the Comprehensive Monitoring Reports, available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/archives/key_documents/reports_2004_en.htm.

Country by country

Bulgaria

  • Chapter opened: March 2001
  • Status: closed in December 2004 (provisionally closed in May 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements: none

Cyprus (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in April 2000
  • Transitional arrangements: none - Cyprus committed itself to reduce the number of fishing vessels operating outside the Mediterranean Sea in accordance with agreed objectives and timetable

Czech Republic (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in May 1999
  • Transitional arrangements: none

Estonia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in April 2000
  • Transitional arrangements: none

Hungary (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in April 1999
  • Transitional arrangements: none

Latvia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: October 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in October 2001
  • Transitional arrangements:

 - Latvia has requested a derogatory regime for certain waters (a specific conservation regime in the Gulf of Riga);

 - Requests other than transitional arrangements: Latvia has requested the inclusion of further species in the regulation on the common market organisation (Baltic sprat).

As regards Latvia's request for a specific management regime in the entire Gulf of Riga, and in the light of the scientific information provided by Latvia concerning the particular situation of that area, the EU has proposed to include Regulation (EC) 88/98 in the list of acts requiring adaptation by reason of accession. The adaptation to Regulation (EC) 88/98 shall be drawn up during the interim period in conformity with the following guidelines to be specified in the relevant Annex to the Accession Treaty:

  • the engine power of the vessels authorised to fish in the Gulf of Riga must not exceed 221 kW;
  • the vessels authorised to fish in the Gulf of Riga will be included on a list;
  • the list shall be established in order to ensure that the overall fishing capacity, measured in engine power (kW), shall not exceed that observed in a period representative of the current level of activity in the Gulf of Riga.

These technical measures for conservation will be non-discriminatory and will be applied in the entire Gulf of Riga. The general principles (relative stability, exclusive Community competence) and a general methodology for determining the access to resources still have to be agreed.

Lithuania (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: March 2001
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in May 2001
  • Transitional arrangements: none

Malta (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: October 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in June 2002
  • Transitional arrangements:

As regards Malta's request for a specific management regime within 25 nautical miles of baselines of Malta, the EU underlines that such a regime should be established within the Community framework and correspond to genuine conservation needs. In the light of the scientific information provided by Malta concerning the particular situation of that area, the EU could envisage to include Regulation (EC) 1626/94 in the list of acts requiring adaptation by reason of accession. The adaptation to Regulation (EC) 1626/94 shall be drawn up during the interim period in conformity with the following guidelines to be specified in the relevant Annex to the Accession Treaty:

    • fishing in the 25-mile management zone should be limited to small scale coastal fishing, meaning fishing vessels of an overall length of less than 12 metres and not using gears towed with the power of the engine, with the exceptions set out below. The total effort exerted by vessels under 12 metres shall not exceed the level of recent years;
    • however, trawlers not exceeding an overall length of 24 metres shall be authorised to fish in the 25-mile management zone within certain trawlable areas. The overall fishing capacity of trawlers, measured in engine power (kW), shall not exceed that observed in a period representative of the current level of capacity in the area of the 25-mile management zone, and the engine power of each individual trawler fishing in waters of less than 200 metres depth shall not exceed 185 kW (250 HP). These limits may be revised in the light of new qualified scientific evidence as recommended by relevant scientific bodies. The EU notes that the coordinates of trawlable areas and the 200 metres isobath have been provided by Malta;
    • the number of vessels that can participate in the lampuki (Coryphaena hippurus - dolphin-fish) fishery shall be limited to a maximum of 130. Currently there are 45 vessels between 12 and 24 metres fishing for lampuki, while the remaining vessels are less than 12 metres in length. The allocation and laying down of FADs (fish aggregating device) in the fishing season, which usually extends from August to December, shall be open for all Community fishermen on a non-discriminatory basis, but only starting from outside 12 miles for non-Maltese fishermen;
    • all vessels exceeding an overall length of 12 metres which are authorised to fish in the 25-mile management zone and which comprise bottom trawlers, vessels fishing with "lampara" purse seines, vessels fishing for lampuki with FADs and vessels fishing with large pelagic purse seines and industrial longlines for tuna and other highly migratory species will be included on a list. Any possible increase in fishing effort has to ensure the sustainable conservation of the zone.

The detailed rules for establishing the above-mentioned list, for a fishing effort monitoring system and if necessary for the lampuki fishery in the 25-mile management zone will be adopted in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 18 of Regulation (EEC) 3760/92. Effective monitoring methods will be decided upon in accordance with the acquis.
The conditions of this fishing effort management scheme will be re-evaluated, on the basis of new qualified scientific evidence as recommended by relevant scientific bodies, upon accession of Malta, in order to evaluate their effects on conservation of stocks.
Upon accession of Malta, the problem of possible conflicts among different fishing gear, and possible measures to reduce them, will be addressed at Community level.
In conformity with Regulation (EC) 1239/98 it is prohibited to use drift nets in the 25-mile management zone. These conservation measures will be non-discriminatory and will be applied in the entire 25-mile management zone.

As regards Malta's request for the addition of a number of species of fish to the list contained in Annex I.A of Regulation (EEC) 3759/92 (as replaced by Regulation (EC) 104/2000) on common market organisation, the EU can accept the inclusion of dolphin-fish (Coryphaena hippurus) in Annex IV of Regulation (EC) 104/2000.

Poland (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in June 2002
  • Transitional arrangements agreed: acceptance of inclusion of sprat (Sprattus sprattus) of the Baltic region in Annex IV of Regulation (EC) 140/2000.
    Poland has withdrawn all other requests, including a derogation regime in the entire Polish exclusive economic zone in the Baltic Sea.

Romania

  • Chapter opened: May 2001
  • Status: closed in December 2004 (provisionally closed in June 2001)
  • Transitional arrangements: none

Slovakia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: October 2000
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in October 2000
  • Transitional arrangements: none

Slovenia (New Member State)

  • Chapter opened: April 1999
  • Status: Closed December 2002 (provisionally closed in April 1999
  • Transitional arrangements: none
-  updated: 17/12/2004
 
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