The NWWAC has offered the European Commission fourteen recommendations in relation to the CFP Review

The NWWAC has offered the European Commission fourteen recommendations in relation to the CFP Review

The North Western Waters Advisory Council (NWWAC) has written to the European Commission with advice in relation to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) Review.

In December 2021, the European Commission launched a consultation to prepare a report on the functioning of the common fisheries policy (CFP), under Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 (the CFP Regulation). The objective of this report is to address the functioning of the CFP and look at how its implementation can be strengthened.

The consultation was made up of three steps. First, there was an online questionnaire, to which the NWWAC replied on 14 March 2022. Contributions by stakeholders on the online questionnaire were analysed in a report issued in April 2022 by FAMENET. This was followed by discussions at regional level in the Member States Groups (MSG). In particular, the North Western Waters MSG met on 24 May 2022 and each MS presented on their views on the challenges for future implementation of the CFP. Finally, a stakeholder event was organised on 10 June.

It was agreed by the NWWAC Executive Committee in March 2022 that an Advice Drafting Group (ADG) should be established to follow the CFP reporting process and consider where further AC input might be needed. The ADG has reviewed the input produced by the NWWAC in response to both DG MARE and MEP Mato consultations and considered updates and further reflection to bring to the attention of the Commission and the Member States Group.

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Amongst the fourteen recommendations put forward by the NWWAC are:

  • The NWWAC agrees with the CFP but they say that it is clear some elements will need is based on good objectives and principles. However, it appears clear that some elements will need amendments in order to be effectively implemented. The objectives should become more important than the tools and management principles put forward by the CFP. They say, “Expertise from actors on the ground should be used more to assist with reaching the objectives of the CFP and the NWWAC stands ready to contribute in this regard.”
  • Today’s context is very different of that when the CFP was reformed 10 years ago, with many new elements coming to play and influencing the success of the policy, writes the NWWAC. These include climate change, Brexit and international crises, such as the covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis. The NWWAC feels that the CFP report should reflect on whether the policy is flexible and fit for purpose to address these new challenges.
  • As a consequence of Brexit, the dynamics in terms of achieving sustainable fishing have inevitably changed. EU-UK bilateral consultations have become a key step towards setting Fishing Opportunities for the 75 shared fish stocks, whose majority are in the NWW.
  • Sound and effective legislation can only emerge as a result of synergies from continuous engagement and contact with stakeholders.
  • Although MSY is a good principle, it should be taken into account that reference points are volatile. As many management principles are based on those reference points such volatility should be taken into account in order to ensure sustainable and optimized use of the fisheries resources.

Other areas of recommendations involved the Landing Obligation, the lack of data on fish stocks, risk categories, CFP and climate change resilience, the fishing sector’s resilience to fluctuations in commodity prices and the assurance of a level-playing field for the EU fishing industry in relation to seafood imported by the EU.

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NWWAC offers recommendations to Commission on CFP Review

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