A study sanctioned by the EU Commission shows that Ireland committed 0.8% of CFP infringements between 2015 and 2019

A study sanctioned by the EU Commission shows that Ireland committed 0.8% of CFP infringements between 2015 and 2019

The European Commission has published an in-depth analysis of Member States’ sanctioning systems for infringements of the rules of the common fisheries policy (CFP), covering the period from 2015-2019 and all coastal Member States.  

The study shows that between 2015 and 2019, Ireland committed 0.8% of all the detected infringements in the Member States.

The report it shows that Ireland has an average enforcement of sanctions for fisheries offences, with the percentage of prosecuted infringements that result in sanctions is within the low quartile for both serious and non-serious infringements. The report also finds that the average length of proceedings is long.

Bulgaria, Cyprus, France and Germany perform well in the enforcement of sanctions. Denmark, Latvia and Poland appear to have good enforcement of sanctions. Ireland is along with the Netherlands, Croatia and Slovenia for average enforcement. Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania, Malta and Portugal have a relatively poor record of enforcement.

The report concluded that it was difficult to draw conclusions on enforcement given the lack of key data when it came to Finland, Greece, Italy, Romania, Sweden and Spain. This is surprising as Spain has claimed that it has one of the best enforcement records and monitoring in the EU.

The report suggests “Lack of data/difficulties in providing data can itself be an indicator of weakness within the system”.

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Brian J McMullin Solicitors

The EU has a generally effective sanctioning system for infringements of the CFP, according to the results of the study. All Member States included in the study have a system in place for sanctioning infringements, with many making significant improvements since 2015. However, there are still some differences between Member States, including gaps in the legal frameworks and the practical application, which may slow down the effective implementation of a sustainable fisheries policy.

The Commission has repeated that it remains committed to ensuring effective implementation of EU law. The ongoing revision of the fisheries control system will address some of these shortcomings by further harmonising the EU sanctioning system and creating the conditions for an equitable treatment of operators and promoting the CFP objective of making EU fisheries more sustainable.

The study was conducted on behalf of the Commission by an external contractor.

The objective of this project is to provide an in-depth analysis of the national systems sanctioning the infringements of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and in particular of the sanctions applied by Member States for infringements detected between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2019, aiming to support the Commission in the preparation of the report on the implementation of the Control Regulation for the period 2015-2019 it must present to the European Parliament and the Council pursuant to Article 118(2) of Council Regulation EC No. 1224/20091.

Accordingly, the study: – describes the enforcement framework of the Member States with a coastline; – assesses the effectiveness, proportionality and dissuasiveness of the sanctioning systems implemented in the Member States; – identifies best practices, as well as opportunities for improvement of the Member States’ sanctioning systems. The project was implemented in three tasks:

1) collecting data on the national enforcement systems for infringements of the rules of the CFP;

2) carrying out an assessment on the national enforcement framework and of the sanctioning practice in the Member States, and

3) comparing enforcement of similar types of infringements in different Member States.

The data collection was primarily done with a questionnaire addressed to the Member States’ competent authorities (MSCAs), completed by desk research and interviews. The subsequent assessment analysed both the Member States’ regulatory frameworks, i.e., whether the laws and procedures in place at national level are adequate to enable effectiveness, proportionality and dissuasiveness of sanctions; and the Member States’ performance in terms of national enforcement, i.e., whether the sanctions applied in practice can be considered effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

The full detailed study can be read here.

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