The North Sea Advisory Council (NSAC) has written with their advice on the CFP to DG MARE saying the framework is fit for purpose

The North Sea Advisory Council (NSAC) has written with their advice on the CFP to DG MARE saying the framework is fit for purpose

The North Sea Advisory Council (NSAC) has written to the Director-General of DG MARE, Charlina Vitcheva with their advice on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

The NSAC has advised the Director-General that the find the CFP framework fit for purpose, however they believe that some of the objectives set out in Regulation (EU) 1380/2013 has not been met.

In their letter they advise:

“The CFP lacks adequate implementation, control and enforcement and we believe that addressing these shortcomings is necessary. The EU fleet, in general, maintains net profitability, according to Commission’s communication in 2021.

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This is one of the positive achievements of the current CFP, given that the EU fleet was only marginally profitable in 2008. Sustainable fishing is the way to maintain long-term profitability. In recent years uncertainty has been permeating the fishing industry.”

The NS MAP failed to address long-term stability in terms of catches and the health of stocks and instead both are exposed to a fluctuating advice and uncertainty stemming from Brexit and post-Brexit developments. The NSAC would like to emphasize that this lack of stability is of no benefit for neither the fish stocks, the industry, communities, nor the overall health of the ecosystem.

Lack of pragmatism and unrealistic deadlines hinder the achievement of environmental, social and economic sustainability objectives enshrined in the CFP. Provision of the Landing Obligation is often in opposition with technical measures stipulated in the Regulation (EU) 2019/1241 on technical measures. In the current policy framework, we would welcome if the fishers were granted more flexibility in determining ways of achieving selectivity (through, for example, the choice of gear).

The NSAC members observe that the distance between the Commission and fisheries stakeholders is widening and that there is decreasing trust in attaining common positions that would be beneficial for all. There is a concern that the involvement of stakeholders is not exercised as initially envisaged and that a long-term perspective is lacking. Stakeholders in the NSAC do not feel a strong sense of empowerment, wherefore a more inclusive/pragmatic role setting would be welcome.

An issue was raised concerning the uptake of the advice, notably the fact that it is not transparent how the Commission processes advice from ACs. The Commission’s response to the Joint AC Letter on weight of ACs advice3 the Commission mention that the AC advice feed directly into policy reflections, however mere mentioning that the NSAC has been consulted on certain files (such as the Delegated Acts) does not provide us with sufficient feedback concerning the direct effect of our endeavours. This seems particularly important for sustained members’ motivation and interest. Nevertheless, the members share the view that ACs are beneficial for member organisations not least in the way they allow organisations develop and mature their positions and organisations. Further effort in feedback on the impact of our work would significantly improve the functioning of the AC.

NSAC members also believe that fisheries management would benefit from further regionalisation. It has been proven on several occasions that ‘one-size fits all’ approach is not effective and that measures that work in one region are not directly or not at all applicable to another sea basin. Overall, there is a common view that technical measures are regionalised to a high degree, which is welcomed.”

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