The AGRIFISH Council is meeting in Luxembourg this week
The AGRIFISH Council of Ministers met in Luxembourg yesterday on the first day of a scheduled two-day meeting between EU Member States.
Ministers discussed topics including the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, protecting honeybees from pesticides, fisheries control and fur farming. On Fisheries they discussed:
Regulation on Fisheries Control
The Council adopted a general approach on the revision of the fisheries control system. The aim of this revision, proposed by the European Commission in May 2018, is to modernise the rules for monitoring fisheries activities, make them more efficient and effective, and ensure compliance with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and other EU policies. It is the first major revision of the EU’s fisheries control system since 2009. The adoption of the Council’s general approach paves the way for inter-institutional negotiations with the European Parliament.
“Establishing a Council position on the fisheries control regulation has been a key priority for the Portuguese presidency, and we are very pleased with the result of today’s discussion. The proposed general approach will ensure that fisheries control can be modernised and simplified while also bringing it in line with EU fishing policy,” said Ricardo Serrão Santos, Minister of the Sea of Portugal.
Common Fisheries Policy (CFP): state of play and fishing opportunities for 2022
The Commission presented to ministers its annual communication on the state of play of the CFP and on fishing opportunities for 2022. This communication and the ensuing discussion were the first stage of a consultation process between member states, advisory councils, stakeholders and the public on fishing opportunities for 2022, which will run until 31 August 2021.
Maritime Spatial Planning Directive
Ministers received information from the Commission on the implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, which came into force in September 2014. The directive applies to 22 member states with coastal regions, and the deadline for transposing it into national law was 31 March 2021. Ministers thanked the Commission for the information provided.
European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF)
Ministers received information from the Commission on the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) programming exercise, with a particular focus on maximising the added value of public investment in fisheries and aquaculture. The Commission noted that the fund could play a decisive role in supporting the European fisheries and aquaculture sectors, which are going through a challenging period as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Situation in the North East Atlantic
Ministers received information from the French, Irish and Spanish delegations about the current situation in the North East Atlantic as regards fishing relations with third countries in the region. In particular they discussed the consequences of Norway’s decision to reduce the EU’s quota for cod in the Svalbard area, as well as the unilateral setting of quotas by Iceland and the Faroe Islands for mackerel in the North Sea.