The Common Fisheries Policy Review Group has urged the European Commission for a deeper review in light of fallout from Brexit and the TCA

The Common Fisheries Policy Review Group has urged the European Commission for a deeper review in light of fallout from Brexit and the TCA

The Common Fisheries Policy Review Group has called on the European Commission to implement legislative changes to the fisheries policy and urged for a deeper review.

The findings of the Review Group, which was published yesterday, Tuesday 04 October 2022, says that a report without the necessary accompanying legislative changes will not adequately address critical issues confronting European fisheries, including:

– The impact of Brexit

– The social and economic sustainability of fisheries dependent coastal communities and economic development of the seafood sector.

 – The energy crisis and other emergencies confronting the European seafood sector.

– Food security, Climate change, and Biodiversity loss.

– The drive for increased Marine Protected Area (MPA) coverage.

– Growth and intended scale of Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) development.

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– Structural aid, in particular the measures necessary to assist the seafood sector address the issues of climate change and associated pressures on the marine environment as a resource and a workplace.

– Agreements with third countries.

The Review Group found that Brexit and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement represented the greatest changes to the CFP since its inception.

The Scientific Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries1 estimate that Ireland contributed 34% by volume and 40% by value of the real economic cost of fish transfers to the UK. The next nearest Member State in contribution terms, Germany, contributed just 24% by volume and 21% by value. In the case of western mackerel alone, Ireland’s sacrifice accounts for 51% of the total Brexit transfers. This CFP Review Group contend that the implications of all major policy changes must be accompanied by a publicly available socio-economic impact assessment. Such an approach would inform the adoption of necessary measures to more equally apportion the real cost of Brexit between Member States. Such measures should be designed to lessen the socioeconomic impact on those who depend on fishing activities, wherever they operate within the EU.

The Review Group recommended thirty-five recommendations including:

  • The implications of major changes to the CFP (such as Brexit) should be accompanied by socio-economic impact assessment.
  • Where the relative stability of fishing activities is altered, as has been the case with Brexit, measures should be taken to redress any imbalance through burden sharing.
  • In TCA negotiations with the UK, the EU should encourage and facilitate swaps for (western) mackerel.
  • The EU should review the share of mackerel allocated to the North Sea, Western waters and Norwegian waters management units.
  • Based on the principle established in recital 35 of the Common Fisheries Policy, Ireland’s Hague Preferences for existing stocks should be revised upwards and Hague Preferences for additional critical stocks should be introduced to fully redress the imbalance caused by Brexit.
  • Reform of Article 15 is needed. Strengthening Monitoring and Control systems in a harmonised reformed Article 15, founded on a risk-based approach, will build transparency, and a more level playing field in enforcement of the Art 15 obligations, between fisheries and Member States.