The EU has proposed a series of improvements to Common Fisheries Policy enforcement mechanisms, to increase the long-term viability of the EU fishing sector.
As part of its aim to strengthen compliance, modernise data management and increase the ongoing sustainability of fishing in the EU, the commission will modernise Common Fisheries Policy enforcement mechanisms and intensify efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
The proposed reforms were announced ahead of the entry into force of the EU’s landing obligation next year, which will require fishermen to land and report all catches, to cut down on the practice of throwing unwanted catches back into the sea.
What improvements will be made?
The commission’s proposal includes a number of reforms to Common Fisheries Policy enforcement mechanisms, including new criteria for what qualifies as a serious infringement, as well as listing corresponding sanctions.
The commission will also take advantage of digitisation to develop a more comprehensive fisheries data system, with digital reporting of catches to apply to all EU fishing vessels, an electronic tracking system for all vessels, improved weighing procedures for catches and landings and new rules for recreational fisheries.
To support all of these improvements, European authorities will revise the mandate of the European Fisheries Control Agency, to ensure its objectives are fully aligned with the Common Fisheries Policy, and will provide the agency additional inspection powers.
Why are improvements to the Common Fisheries Policy needed?
The Common Fisheries Policy is being modernised as part of a suite of improvements to commission regulations, and overlaps with several of these, including the recently announced measures to combat marine litter from plastic products and abandoned fishing gear.
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs Karmenu Vella welcomed this effort: “The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy has already gone a long way towards making sure our seas are healthy, while building a strong fishing industry and thriving coastal communities. At the same time, we need to keep up the work and make sure the commonly agreed rules are enforced across the EU. This is why we are proposing improvements to modernise the existing control system to make it more efficient and ensure that all operators in the fishing industry in the EU are treated equally.”