Please read the 'Introduction' in the Main Page before starting.
European Union is member of the GFCM since the 25th of June 1998. The organization is party to the UN Law of the Sea Convention (1 Avril 1998) and to the UN Fish Stock Agreement of 1995 (19 December 2003). The European Union has also ratified the FAO Compliance Agreement of 1993 (6 August 1996) and the FAO Port State Measures Agreement of 2009 (7 July 2001).
The conservation of marine biological resources under the common fisheries policy is an exclusive competence of the EU (Article 3 of the TFUE), while fisheries, excluding the conservation of marine biological resources, is a shared competence (Article 4 of the TFUE). In 2013, the EU adopted a new common fisheries policy, which entered into force on the 1rst January 2014.
The Council Regulation (ECC) No 170/83 of 25 January 1983 establishing a Community system for the conservation and management of fisheries resources, established for the first time an exclusive economic zone in the EU waters. This zone represents nowadays nearly 25 millions square meters.
Access regime to fisheries resources
Within the scope of the common fisheries policy, Member States of the EU control the access to the fisheries resources through the issuance of fishing licenses, which confer to its holder the right to use a certain fishing capacity for the commercial exploitation of living aquatic resources. This document contains minimum information concerning the identification, technical characteristics of the vessel, in addition to the national measures applicable Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art.6; Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011, Art. 3, Annex II). Regulation (EU) No. 1380/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Common Fisheries Policy, amending Council Regulations (EC) No. 1954/2003 and (EC) No. 1224/2009 and repealing Council Regulations (EC) No. 2371/2002 and (EC) No. 639/2004 and Council Decision 2004/585/EC.
A fishing authorization is also issued to Community fishing vessels operating in the Community waters to carry out specific fishing activities during a specified period, in a given area or for a given fishery under specific conditions, especially when the fisheries or fishing zones are subject control Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art.7; Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011, Art. 4): COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2015/1962 of 28 October 2015 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy.
- a fishing effort regime;
- a multiannual plan;
- a fishing restricted area;
- fishing for scientific purposes;
- other cases laid down in Community legislation.
A fishing authorization is issued for one vessel only, article 4 Regulation 1224/2009.
A minimum of information have to be included in the fishing authorization regarding the identification of the fishing vessel and the fishing conditions (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011, Annex III). EU fishing vessels of less than 10 metres LOA which fish exclusively in the territorial waters of their flag Member States are excluded from the obligation to have a fishing authorization. (Article 4.5 of the Commission Reg No 404/2011)
Only Community fishing vessels for which a fishing authorisation has been issued are entitled to engage in fishing activities outside Community waters within the framework of agreements (Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008, Art. 3-10). Any operator of a Community fishing vessel, intending to conduct fishing activities on the high seas in waters not falling within the scope of an agreement or a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation, must inform the authorities of the flag Member State and be authorized in accordance with national provisions (Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008, Art. 11).
Third country fishing vessels are also entitled to engage in fishing activities in Community waters provided that they have been issued with a fishing authorisation and to land, tranship in ports or process fish provided that they have been issued with a prior authorisation from the Member State in whose waters the operation will take place (Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008, Art. 18).
Fishing opportunities (total allowable catches): Council Regulation (EU) 2017/127 of 20 January 2017 fixing for 2017 the fishing opportunities for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks, applicable in Union waters and, for Union fishing vessels, in certain non-Union waters ; Annex IL (maximum level of catches (anchovy and sardine): 112 700 t, limited to Croatia, Italy and Slovenia.
Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject
- Recommendation -GFCM/40/2016/2 on the progressive implementation of data submission in line with the GFCM Data Collection Reference Framework (DCRF)
Conservation and management measures
Community-level management plans are adopted for specific Mediterranean fisheries in areas totally or partially beyond the territorial waters of Member States. These plans may include: fishing effort management measures, specific technical measures, extension of compulsory use of vessel monitoring systems or similar systems for vessels betwen 10m and 15 m LOA; temporary or permanent restrictions to zones, reserved to certain gears or to vessels having undertaken obligations in the framework of the management plans (Council Regulation (EC) No. 1967/2006, Art.18). These management plans must be adequatly scientifically monitored, by both Member States and the Commission (esp. revision of the measures adopted for fisheries exploiting short life species in order to take into account their recruitment evolution).
National management plans are also to be drawn up by Member States have on the basis of the precautionary approach to fisheries management, taking into account limit reference points recommended by relevant scientific bodies Council Regulation (EC) No. 1967/2006, Art. 19; Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002, Art. 6). They must ensure the sustainable exploitation of stocks and that the impact of fishing activities on marine eco-systems is kept at sustainable levels, having regard to the conservation status of the stock(s), the biological characteristics of the stock(s), the characteristics of the fisheries in which the stocks are caught, the economic impact of the measures on the fisheries concerned. For the Mediterranean, these management plans concern in particular the fisheries conducted by trawl nets, boat seines, shore seines, surrounding nets and dredges within the territorial waters of Member States. The management plans may include harvesting rules which consist of a predetermined set of biological or fishery parameters to govern the implementation of management measures.
These management plans have to be notified to the Commission six months in advance of the foreseen date of entry into force. Where a management plan is likely to affect the vessels of another Member State, it shall be adopted only after consultation of the Commission, the Member State and the Regional Advisory Council for the Mediterranean in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 8(3) to (6) of Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 (hereinafter the "Common Fisheries Policy Regulation").
Area and time restrictions
The Mediterranean Regulation foresees some measures for keeping certain fishing gears further offshore Council Regulation (EC) No. 1967/2006, Art. 13). For example, it stipulates that bottom trawlers shall not operate at depths of less than 50m unless such low depths are reached beyond 3 nautical miles from the coastline. Moreover trawlers cannot operate less than 1,5 nautical miles from the coast even if a depth greater than 50 m is reached.
It is also prohibited to fish with trawl nets, dredges, purse seines, boat seines, shore seines or similar nets above seagrass beds, in particular over Posidonia oceanica (unless expressly authorized, subject to certain conditions, see Council Regulation (EC) No. 1967/2006, Article 4, par.1 and 2)]]. This prohibition also applies in all Natura 2000 sites, all special protected areas and all specifically protected areas of Mediterranean interest (SPAMI) designated for the purpose if the conservation of these habitats under either Council Directive 92/43/EEC or Council Regulation (EC) No. 1967/2006, Article 4, par.4)]]. The use of towed dredges and trawl nets fisheries at depths beyond 1 000 m is prohibited Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, Article 4, par.3).
Specific fishing protected areas are also to be designated within territorial waters of Member States ("national fishing protected areas") or beyond ("Community fishing protected areas") in which fishing activities may be banned or restricted, in order to conserve and manage living aquatic resources or maintain or improve the conservation status of marine ecosystems (Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, Art. 6, 7). Where a proposed fishing protected area within the territorial waters of a Member State is liable to affect the vessels of another Member State, its designation can only be adopted after due consultation of the Commission, the Member State and the Regional Advisory Council for the Mediterranean (established under Council Decision of 19 July 2004 and Commission Decision of 29 August 2008).
Member States must take the appropriate measures to ensure the collection of scientific information to identify and map protected areas.
With respect to Bluefin tuna fishing, the following closed seasons are established each year (Council Regulation (EC) No 302/2009 of 6 April 2009, Art.7; Rec. GFCM-ICCAT 35/2011/7 (A): Rec. [10-04] by ICCAT amending the Recommendation by ICCAT to establish a Multi-annual recovery plan for Bluefin Tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, par. 21-25):
- Longlines more than 24 m: 1 June to 31 December
- Purse seines: 15 June to 15 April
- Baitboats and trolling boats: 15 October to 15 June
- Pelagic trawlers: 15 October to 15 June
- Recreational and sport fishing: 15 October to 15 June
Dolphinfish fisheries (Coryphaena hippurus) using Fishing Aggregating Devices (FADs) is prohibited from 1st January to 14 August each year (REC.CM-GFCM/30/2006/2 on the establishment of a closed season for the dolphin fish fisheries using FADs, par. 1). Within the 25-mile management zone around Malta, these fisheries are prhibited from 1st January to 5 August each year Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, Article 27).
EU regulation establishes mimimum sizes of marine organisms (Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, Art. 15, 16, Annex III), among which:
|Dicentrarchus labrax||Sea-bass||25 cm;|
|Diplodus annularis||Annular sea-bream||12 cm;|
|Diplodus puntazzo||Sharpsnout sea bream||18 cm;|
|Diplodus sargus||White sea-bream||23 cm;|
|Diplodus vulgaris||Two-banded sea bream||18 cm;|
|Engraulis encrasicolus||European anchovy||9 cm;|
|Epinephelus spp.||Groupers||45 cm;|
|Lithognathus mormyrus||Stripped sea bream||20 cm;|
|Merluccius merluccius||hake||20 cm;|
|Mullus spp.||Red mullet||11 cm;|
|Pagellus acarne||Spanish sea-bream||17 cm;|
|Pagellus bogaraveo||Red sea-bream||33 cm;|
|Pagellos erythrinus||Common pandora||15 cm;|
|Pagrus Pagrus||Common sea bream||18 cm;|
|Polyprion americanus||Wreckfish||45 cm;|
|Sardina pilchardus||European sardine||11 cm;|
|Scomber spp.||Mackerel||18 cm;|
|Solea vulgaris||Common sole||20 cm;|
|Sparus aurata||Gilt-head sea bream||20 cm;|
|Trachurus spp.||Horse mackerel||15 cm;|
|Homarus gammarus||Lobster||300 mmTL/105 mmCL;|
|Nephrops norvegicus||Norway lobster||20 mmCL/70 mmTL;|
|Parapenaeus longirostris||Deep water rose shrimp||20 mmCL;|
|Pecten jacobeus||Scallop||10 cm;|
|Venerupis spp.||Carpet clams||25 mm;|
|Venus spp.||Venus shells||25 mm.|
The deliberate catching, retention on board, transhipment or landing of marine species of Community interest in need of strict protection, referred in Annex IV of the Council Directive 92/43/EEC are prohibited (Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, Art. 3).
Moreover, the Regulation (EU) 2015/2102 implementing the GFCM recommendations provides specific provisions for the protection of red coral, sea turtles, monk seals, cetaceans, sharks and rays.
Sea birds : Masters of fishing vessels shall promptly release seabirds incidentally caught in fishing gears.Fishing vessels shall not bring seabirds ashore except within the framework of national plans for the conservation of seabirds or to secure assistance for the recovery of harmed individual seabirds, and provided that the competent national authorities have been duly and officially informed, prior to the fishing vessel concerned returning to port, of the intention to bring such seabirds ashore (Article 16 f).
Sea turtles: To the extent possible, sea turtles incidentally caught in fishing gears shall be safely handled and released unharmed and alive. As far as practicable, fishing vessels using purse seines for small pelagic species or surrounding nets without purse line for pelagic species shall avoid encircling sea turtles (Article 16 g).
Monk seals (Monachus monachus) : Monk seals incidentally caught in fishing gears shall be released unharmed and alive. The carcasses of dead specimens shall be landed and seized for the purpose of scientific studies or destroyed by the competent national authorities.
Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject
- Recommendation GFCM/37/2013/1 on a multiannual management plan for fisheries on small pelagic stocks in the GFCM-GSA 17 (Northern Adriatic Sea) and on transitional conservation measures for fisheries on small pelagic stocks in GSA 18
- Recommendation GFCM/36/2012/2 on mitigation of incidental catches of cetaceans in the GFCM area of application
- Recommendation GFCM/36/2012/3 on fisheries management measures for conservation of sharks and rays in the GFCM area of application
- Recommendation GFCM/35/2011/3 on reducing incidental bycatch of seabirds in fisheries in the GFCM area of application
- Recommendation GFCM/35/2011/4 on the incidental bycatch of sea turtles in fisheries in the GFCM area of application
- Recommendation GFCM/35/2011/5 on fisheries measures for the conservation of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) in the GFCM area of application
Fishing gears and fishing methods used
The requirements relating to the characteristics of the fishing gear are described in Annex II of Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006. Minimum mesh and hook sizes are found under Art. 9 and 10 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006. In particular:
- Towed gears/Bottom trawlers: the cod end is 40 mm square or 50 mm diamond duly justified at the shipowner request.
- Surrounding nets/purse seines: minimum mesh size is 14 mm.
- Bottom-set gillnets: mesh size opening not smaller than 16 mm.
- Bottom-set gillnets targeting red sea bream (accounts for at least 20% of the catchin live weight): minimum mesh size is 100 mm.
- Trawl nets targeting sardine and anchovy (account for at least 80% of the catch in live weight after sorting): minimum mesh size: 20 mm.
- Longlines with hooks of a total length less than 3,95 cm and of a width less than 1,65 cm are prohibited for any fishing vessel using longlines and landing or having on board a quantity of red sea-bream (Pagellus bogaraveo) that constitutes more than 20% of the catch in live weight after sorting).
The following fishing gears and practices are prohibited (Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, Art.8): toxic, soporific or corrosive substances, electric shock generators, explosives, substances that can explode if mixed, towed devices for harvesting red coral or other type of coral-like organisms, pneumatic hammers, St Andrew's cross and similar grabs for harvesting red coral, pannels of netting smaller than 40mm mesh size opening for bottom trawlers. Bottom-set nets shall not be used to catch albacore, bluefin tuna, swordfish, ray's bream, sharks. Spearguns are also prohibited if used in conjunction with underwater breathing apparatus (aqualung) or at night from sunset to dawn.
The keeping on board or the use of driftnets whose individual or total size is more than 2.5 Km is prohibited in the EU ((Council Regulation (EEC) No 345/92 ). Since 2002, all driftnets, no matter their size, are prohibited when intended for the capture of species listed in Annex VIII of (Council Regulation (EC) No 1239/98 of 8 June 1998 (including bluefin tuna and swordfish). It is also prohibited to land these species when they have been caught in driftnets.
Moreover, the use of towed dredges and trawl nets fisheries at depths beyond 1 000 m shall be prohibited (art. 16 of Regulation (EU) No. 1343/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain provisions for fishing in the GFCM.
For the Black Sea, article 15 of Regulation (EU) No. 1343/2011 that the minimum mesh size for nets used for trawling activities exploiting demersal stocks in the Black Sea shall be 40 mm. Panels of netting smaller than 40 mm mesh size opening shall not be used or kept on board.
Main fisheries laws and regulations
Monitoring, control and surveillance
As a general principle, Member States are responsible within the scope of the Common Fisheries Policy to control the fishing and fishing related activities carried out by any natural or legal person on their territory and within waters under their sovereignty or jurisdiction as well as activities carried out outside Community waters by Community fishing vessels flying their flag and, without prejudice to the primary responsibility of the flag Member State, by their nationals.
Register and Vessel marking
Member States shall record the information on ownership, on vessel and gear characteristics and on the activity of Union fishing vessels flying their flag that is necessary for the management of measures established under the EU Regulation. The Commission shall maintain a Union fishing fleet register containing the information that it receives from the Members States. It shall provide public access to the Union fishing fleet register, while ensuring that personal data is adequately protected (article 24 of Regulation (EU) No. 1380/2013.
More recently, the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2017/218 on the Union fishing fleet register lays down the obligations of the Commission for establishing and maintaining the Union fishing fleet register, which is a tool for implementing the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy. Furthermore the Regulation: (i) lays down the obligations of Member States regarding the collection and validation of data in their national fishing fleet register and the transmission of those data to the Commission, and (ii) determines the minimum information on vessel characteristics and activity which must appear in the national fishing fleet registers.
A Community IUU vessel list is established by the Commission which includes the fishing vessels in relation to which the information obtained establishes that they are engaged in IUU fishing (including the one recorded in the GFCM IUU Vessel list) and whose flag States have not complied with official requests issued in response to such IUU fishing (Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 , Art. 27-30).
A list of non-cooperating third countries may also be established for those third countries identified as having failed to discharge the duties incumbent upon them under international law as flag, port, coastal or market State, to take action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing (Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 , Art. 27-35; 38).</b> Marking EU fishing vessels, as well as fishing gear and crafts must abide by specific marking and identification rules (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011, Art. 6-17).
Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject
Landing obligations and Logbook
Masters of Community fishing vessels of 10 metres LOA or more shall keep a fishing logbook of their operations, indicating specifically all quantities of each species caught and kept on board above 50 kg of live-weight equivalent (Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art. 14). The following information must be recorded:
- the external identification number and the name of the fishing vessel
- the FAO alpha-3 code of each species and the relevant geographical area in which the catches were taken
- the date of catches
- the date of departure from and of arrival to port, and theduration of the fishing trip
- the type of gear, mesh size and dimension
- the estimated quantities of each species in kilograms live weight or, where appropriate, the number of individuals (a margin of tolerance of 10% is permitted for all species).
- the number of fishing operations
- estimated discards above 50 kg of live-weight equivalent in volume for any species
The model of Combined Union fishing logbook, landing declaration, and transshipment declaration was recently amended and now avaible in the annex 1 of the Commission implementing regulation 2015/1962 of 28 October 2015. Moreover, masters of Union fishing vessels not subject to Article 15 of the Control Regulation may continue to use until 31 December 2017, paper format for fishing logbook, transhipment declaration and landing declaration printed prior to 1 January 2016.’;
In fisheries subject to a Community regime of fishing effort, masters of Community fishing vessels have also to record and account time-related information with regard to the operation of fishing activities using towed gear and static gear in a given area Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art. 14 par. 5)]].
Masters of Community fishing vessels must submit the fishing logbook information as soon as possible and not later than 48 hours after landing to their flag Member State and if the landing has taken place in a port of another Member State, to the competent authorities of the port Member State concerned Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art. 14 par. 6. Masters of Community fishing vessels of 12 metres LOA or more and less than 15 metres LOA must record and send by electronic means the information to the competent authority of the flag Member State at least once a day (in any event, after the last fishing operation has been completed and before entering port). Those engaged in fisheries on stocks subject to a multiannual plan are subject to an electronic prior notification obligation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art. 17).
Masters of Community fishing vessels of less than 15 metres LOA may be exempted by its flag Member State if they operate exclusively within its territorial seas or never spend more than 24 hours at sea from the time of departure to the return to port.
Masters of third country fishing vessels operating in Community waters must record the information in the same way as masters of Community fishing vessels (Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art. 14 par. 8).
Some specific rules apply regarding the completion and submission of the fishing logbook, whether in paper or electronic format (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011, Art. 29-33; 36-51).
Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject
Port State measures
The Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing implements Recommendation GFCM 40/2016/1 on a regional scheme on port State measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities in the GFCM area of application. Chapter II of this Regulation deals with the inspections of third country fishing vessels in Member States ports, with articles concerning the designation of ports (Article 5) or the general principles for port inspections (Article 9).
Master of a Community fishing vessel of 10 metres LOA or more, or his representative, must complete a landing declaration, indicating specifically all quantities of each species landed. In particular, the following information must be recorded (Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art. 23):
•the external identification number and the name of the fishing vessel;
•the FAO alpha-3 code of each species and the relevant geographical area in which the catches were taken;
•the quantities of each species in kilograms in product weight, broken down by type of product presentation or, where appropriate, the number of individuals;
•the port of landing.
The landing declaration must be submitted as soon as possible and not later than 48 hours after the completion of the landing, to the flag Member State, and, if the landing has taken place in a port of another Member State, to the competent authorities of the port Member State concerned. Masters of a Community fishing vessel of 12 metres LOA or more and less than 15 metres LOA, or his representative, must record and send by electronic means the landing declaration to the competent authority of the flag Member State within 24 hours after completion of the landing operation. Member States may exempt masters of Community fishing vessels of less than 15 metres LOA flying its flag from such an obligation if they operate exclusively within the territorial seas of the flag Member State or never spend more than 24 hours at sea from the time of departure to the return to port. Specific rules apply regarding the completion and submission of the transhipment declaration, whether in paper or electronic format (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011, Art. 29-32; 35-46; 48-50; 52; 54-55).
In relation to foreign fishing vessels the EU has ratified the FAO Port State Measures Agreement with the Council decision on the approval, on behalf of the European Union, of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing; OJ L191 of 22/07/2011.
Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject
- Recommendation GFCM/40/2016/1 on a regional scheme on port State measures to combat IUU fishing activities in the GFCM area of application
The EU has established a specific control and inspection programme (SCIP) for sardine and Anchovy in the Northern Adriatic Sea (Commission implementing decision of 19 March 2014; n°2014/156/EU).
Community control observers scheme may be established by the Council in order to verify the fishing vessel's compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy (Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art.73; Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011, Art. 93-96). INSPECTION OF A FISHING VESSEL AT SEA ANNEX VII COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2015/1962 of 28 October 2015 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy=deleted article 96 of 404/2011
Vessel Monitoring System
In order to ensure an effective monitoring of fishing activities of the fishing vessels flying their flag, Member States must operate a satellite-based VMS, wherever those vessels may be Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art. 9. Fishing vessels of 12 metres LOA or more must have installed on board a fully functioning device which allows that vessel to be automatically located and identified through the VMS by transmitting position data at regular intervals. Community fishing vessels of less than 15 metres LOA may be exempted from a VMS requirement if they operate exclusively within the territorial seas of the flag Member State or never spend more than 24 hours at sea from the time of departure to the return to port.
Third country fishing vessels of 12 metres LOA or more and third country auxiliary fishing vessels operating in Community waters must have installed on board a fully functioning device which allows such a vessel to be automatically located and identified by the VMS by transmitting position data at regular intervals in the same way as Community fishing vessels.
Each Member State must establish and operate a "fisheries monitoring centre", to monitor fishing activities and fishing effort of the fishing vessels flying its flag, whatever the waters in which they are operating or the port they are in, as well as Community fishing vessels flying the flag of other Member States and fishing vessels of third countries to which a VMS applies operating in the waters under the sovereignty or the jurisdiction of that particular Member State. When a fishing vessel is in the waters of another Member State, the flag Member State have to make available the VMS data of that vessel by automatic transmission to the fisheries monitoring centre of the coastal Member States. The VMS data must also be made available upon request to the Member State in whose ports a fishing vessel is likely to land its catches or in the waters of which the fishing vessel is likely to continue its fishing activities.
Fishing vessels exceeding 15 metres LOA have to be fitted with and maintain in operation an automatic identification system (AIS) which meets the performance standards drawn up by the International Maritime Organisation Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art. 10. As from 31 May 2012, this obligation applies to Community fishing vessels of 24 metres LOA or more and less than 45 metres LOA. As from 31 May 2013, this regulation will concern Community fishing vessels of 18 metres LOA or more and less than 24 metres LOA, and as from 31 May 2014, Community fishing vessels of 15 metres LOA or more and less than 18 metres LOA.
Specific requirements regarding the functionning of the satellite-tracking device are provided for under Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011, Art. 18-28.
In relation to the standards on the transmission of data of VMS Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/1138 amending the formats based on the UN/Cefact standard for the exchange of information on fisheries. This decision specifies the new format to be used to report vessel monitoring system data referred to in article 146f of Implementing Regulation (EU) No. 404/2011 and the respective implementation documents (Vessel Position domain specifications published on the Master Data Register page of the European Commission Fisheries website). Further the Decision specifies the formats to be used for the exchange of fishing activity data, sales related data and transmission of aggregated catch data.
Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject
- Resolution GFCM/38/2014/1 on Guidelines on VMS and related control systems in the GFCM area of application
- Recommendation GFCM/33/2009/7 concerning minimum standards for the establishment of a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) in the GFCM area of application
IUU Fishing regulations and sanctions
The Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishes a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (amending Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1936/2001 and (EC) No 601/2004 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 1093/94 and (EC) No 1447/1999). This Regulation includes articles on port state measures, catch certification, identification of fishing vessels engaged in IUU fishing. Furthermore, article 27 establishes the Community IUU vessel list. This list shall include the fishing vessels in relation to which […] the information obtained in accordance with this Regulation establishes that they are engaged in IUU fishing. Article 27 sets up an entire procedure regarding the registration of a vessel on this list while Article 28 deals with the removal of fishing vessels from this list.
Article 29 lists the information that shall be included in the list for each vessel such as the name and previous names of the vessel, the flag and previous flags, or the Lloyds/IMO number. Article 30 of this Regulation mentions the IUU vessels lists adopted by RFMOs and states that IUU vessels included in RFMOs’ list shall be included in the Community vessel list. Concerning the applicable sanctions, Member States must apply a point system for serious infringements on the basis of which the holder of a fishing license is assigned the appropriate number of points as a result of an infringement of the rules of the common fisheries policy Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008, Article 42(1)(a); Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art. 90; 92; Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011, Art. 125-134, Annex XXX). The following activities, depending of the damage done, the extent of the infringement or its repetition, may be considered inter alia as serious infringement by the competent authority of the Member State:
- fishing without valid license, permit or authorization;
- use of prohibited fishing gear;
- unreported catch related data;
- violation of closed season or area;
- falsifying, suppression,concealing the markings, identity or registration of a fishing vessel;
- non-compliance with rules and procedures governing transshipment;
- falsification of documents or use of false or invalid documents;
- obstruction of port inspectors or observers;
- non-transmission of a landing declaration when the landing of the catch has taken place in the port of a third country.
When the total number of points equals or exceeds a specified number of points, the fishing license is automatically suspended for a period of at least two months. That period is four months if the fishing license is suspended a second time, eight months if the fishing license is suspended a third time and one year if the fishing license is suspended a fourth time. In case of the holder being assigned the specified number of points for a fifth time, the fishing license is permanently withdrawn. If the holder of a fishing license does not commit, within three years from the date of the last serious infringement, another serious infringement, all points on the fishing license are deleted.
Member States must enter in a national register all infringements of the rules of the common fisheries policy committed by vessels flying their flag or by their nationals, including the sanctions they incurred and the number of points assigned. Infringements of fishing vessels flying their flag or by their nationals prosecuted in other Member States must be also entered by Member States in their national register on infringements, upon notification of the definitive ruling by the Member State having jurisdiction Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, Art. 93.
Among the measures to be also taken against the fishing vessels included in the Community IUU vessel list or the non-cooperating third countries are : withdrawl of fishing authorisations or special fishing permits issued by flag Member States; prohibited access to Community waters or to ports facilities of a Member State for IUU fishing vessels flying the flag of a third country; purchase of fishing vessels by Community operators; denial of flag; confiscation of catches and, where appropriate, prohibited fishing gear prohibited on board IUU fishing vessels which have been authorised to enter Member States ports for reason of force majeure or distress, etc Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 , Art. 37-38. The latest IUU vessel list was published in the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2016/1852 of 19 October 2016 amending Regulation (EU) No. 468/2010 establishing the EU list of vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject
Recommendation GFCM/33/2009/8 on the establishment of a list of vessels presumed to have carried out IUU fishing in the GFCM area of application
Principal Legal Measures on Monitoring, Control and Surveillance
|Electronic recording and reporting system (ERS) Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 404/2011 of 8 April 2011 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy, in particular Art. 43 (1) and Art. 45 (3).|
|Regulation (EU) 2016/1626 of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No. 768/2005 establishing a Community Fisheries Control Agency||Amending Decision 2007/166/EC adopting the list of Community fisheries inspectors and inspection means|
Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species tackles the problem of alien species in aquaculture. This Regulation aims to protect aquatic habitats. According to Article 3.1, aliens species are ‘any live specimen of a species, subspecies or lower taxon of animals, plants, fungi or microorganisms introduced outside its natural range; it includes any part, gametes, seeds, eggs or propagules of such species, as well as any hybrids, varieties or breeds that might survive and subsequently reproduce’. Article 3.2 defines invasive alien species as an alien species whose introduction or spread has been found to threaten or adversely impact upon biodiversity and related ecosystem services. Furthermore, according to Article 8. 1, ‘Member States shall establish a permit system allowing establishments to carry out research on, or ex-situ conservation of, invasive alien species of Union concern’.
Relevant GFCM Decisions on this subject
- Resolution 36/2012/1 on guidelines on Allocated Zones for Aquaculture (AZA)
- Recommendation 35/2011/6 on reporting of aquaculture data and information, amending Recommendation GFCM/33/2009/4