DG MARE met this morning with PECH Committee members
The PECH Committee has met this morning with Anna Zito from DG MARE to discuss the European Commission’s report on the state of fisheries in EU waters.
The Commission continues to believe that there are still issues with the landing obligation being implemented but is overall happy with the increase of biomass in the North East Atlantic.
The total number of fishing vessels registered in the EU at the end of 2019 was 81,279, a decrease of 365 vessels from 2018. The capacity in gross tonnage has dropped by 11,991 tonnes with the capacity in terms of kiloWatts down 428,278kW.
Out of the 274 fleet segments assessed, 182 were not in balance according to one of the key biological indicators (SHI) in 2017.
The NET Profit for the EU fleet was €1.4bn, an average NET Profit margin of 18% in 2018. Wages increased by 2.5% while employment in the industry decreased by 1.2%.
The Commission says that it is happy that the EU fleet number remains well below the maximum number of vessels ceiling in 2018.
On the Landing Obligation the Commission believes that compliance is an issue.
Lack of accurate reporting of discards under exemptions, low volumes of fish under MCRS landed and difficulties of MSs in monitoring such catches remain a concern for the Commission.
They also report that the focus of the scientific effort at national level has shifted recently from selectivity innovation towards economic studies needed to support the exemption from the landing obligation.
The Commission is happy with the successful approach to choke species and how it has been addressed with some Member States agreeing to swap quotas to set bycatch only TACs accompanied by bycatch reduction measures.
Although they are happy with these improvements, the Commission believes that controls remain a challenge. They believe that Member States have not adopted sufficient controls to enforce the landing obligation and want more controls such as remote electronic monitoring.
On the proposals for the 2021 fishing opportunities the Commission has said that the will continue with the Minimum Sustainable Yield (MSY) approach as their main objective for the Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea stocks will be to maintain or reach MSY for those stocks.
The Commission has committed to work on implementing the management plans where indicated by the ICES and where the ICES recommends no catches, the Commission will concentrate on rebuilding stocks.
The Commission has not yet agreed on TAC proposals for 2021 due to the current situation in the Trade talks between the EU and the UK but have said they will release the information once they know the outcome of the future relations negotiations.