NWWAC has given the European Commission its advice on the the Consultation on Fishing Opportunities for 2023 under the CFP

NWWAC has given the European Commission its advice on the the Consultation on Fishing Opportunities for 2023 under the CFP

The North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) has given the European Commission its advice on the the Consultation on Fishing Opportunities for 2023 under the Common Fisheries Policy COM(2022) 253.

The NWWAC noted one area of concern where the Communication, COM(2022)253 did not address or mention Brexit implications, despite the substantial effect these continue to have on EU fisheries management.

In its advice, the NWWAC noted the progress in achieving sustainable fishing in the EU, stating that it recognised and welcomed the long-term progress that has been made.

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They wrote:

“Moreover, the NWWAC also acknowledges that trends in biomass in the Northeast Atlantic show a general increase over time since 2007, both for assessed stocks and for data limited stocks for which only a relative biomass index is available. For the Northeast Atlantic, the number of stocks having reference points (or indicators) has increased compared to last year’s report.”

On the issue of the state of the EU fleet, the NWWAC advised in relation to fleet capacity and balance, they said:

“When considering the implementation of article 22, the AC questions the relevance of the basis used to set vessel capacity ceilings gross tonnage (GT)) and engine power (kW). In order to adjust fleets’ fishing capacity to their fishing opportunities, the focus should not be on vessels size, but on whether the different fleet segments have enough fishing opportunities to be economically viable. Fishing capacity rules should be adapted to reflect the reality of the sector, allowing to improve safety, working conditions and environmental sustainability towards the decarbonisation objective.”

It continues by saying, “The NWWAC would like to point out that with the UK’s departure from the EU, the consequent transfer of fishing opportunities to the UK is a legal requirement to be taken into account when assessing the balance between fishing capacity and fishing opportunities under article 22 of the CFP.”

In relation to Economic Performance, the NWWAC thanked the Commission for acknowledging the difficulties brought by the increasing operational costs and the prompt reaction demonstrated by adopting a Temporary Crisis Framework to enable Member States to use the flexibility foreseen under State aid rules. However, it did raise concerns over the lack of action from national governments in providing the aid is jeopardising the level playing field and creating competitiveness issues for the sector.

It says, “Therefore, the NWWAC asks the Commission to urge the Member States to imperatively put into use the opportunities provided by article 26 of Regulation (EU) 2021/1139, (equivalent amendment of (EU) 508/2014) and/or (crisis state aid rule amendment). Moreover, the AC recommends that the Commission considers extending the emergency measures in place after their current deadline at the end of the year, as the effects of the crisis are likely still going to impact the sector in 2023.

On the Landing Obligation, the NWWAC says that it recognises that in Article 14 of the CFP selectivity is a key issue and is actively working on putting forward suggestions to achieve this.

It writes, “Besides the issue of compliance with the Landing Obligation (LO), avoiding choke issues remains one of the biggest challenges in the mixed and dynamic NWW fisheries.”

On key steps towards setting Fishing Opportunities 2023 in northwest waters the NWWAC says, “As a consequence of Brexit, the bilateral consultations with the UK have become a key step towards setting Fishing Opportunities for the 75 shared fish stocks, whose majority are in the NWW. The NWWAC wish to emphasise the vital importance of stakeholder participation in future management and governance structures to be established for working in partnership with the UK. In particular, the NWWAC acknowledges that in line with the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the Specialised Committee on Fisheries (SCF) addresses issues including quota swaps, non-quota species and technical measures.”

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NWWAC issues advice to Commission of fishing opportunities 2023

by editor time to read: 6 min