The European Parliament approved report on tuna fishing measures in the Indian Ocean
- West Indian Ocean is the main tuna fishing area for the EU
- Transposition of IOTC management and protection rules into EU legislation
- Rules concern data collection, reporting and protection of certain species
The proposal aims to transpose tuna fishing measures in the Indian Ocean into the EU legislation.
The European Parliament approved report on tuna fishing measures in the Indian Ocean with 596 votes against 4 and 22 abstentions on Tuesday. The text agreed on with the Council should transpose all conservation and management measures of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) since 2008 into EU legislation. As in other similar cases, the European Commission has requested the power to adopt delegated acts to ensure transposition of the technical rules. The EU has been a contracting party of the IOTC since 1995 and the EU fleet is among top three fleets fishing in the area, mainly for tropical tuna species.
The proposed text concerns a wide range of measures such as ban on fishing near data buoys, data collection and reporting obligation concerning billfish and blue shark and measures to protect certain species such as shark, rays and turtles.
Following the vote, the EP Rapporteur Gabriel Mato (EPP, Spain) said: “International agreements should be transposed as faithfully as possible, in order to establish a level playing field for all operators. If the EU imposes stricter measures for its domestic fleet, this latter loses competitiveness vis-à-vis foreign operators. I believe that we are all committed to transpose international agreements swiftly. But the “key” is to find the right balance between the need to go fast and at the same time to ensure that the Commission is not given unlimited power. We need to avoid situations like when the Commission unilaterally decided to restrict fishing with bottom contacting gear, a decision that we are now struggling to reverse.”
Following the European Parliament´s approval, the Council will have to formally agree with the text, which will then enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
According to 2020 statistics, the EU fleet caught 217 000 tonnes of fish in the western Indian Ocean, which is the main tuna fishing ground for the EU. 69 % of the catch was taken by Spain, 28 % by France, 2 % by Italy and 1 % by Portugal. The catch consisted of mainly skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna.
Source: Press Release