The ‘Juliane’ has been part of a trial for Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM)

Our Fish along with several other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has called for the European Commission to introduce Remote Electronic Monitoring on fishing vessels in the EU.

With the fishing industry already being one of the most heavily regulated industries in Europe, the proposals for REM has been met with hostility by some groups of fishermen like in Denmark, where fishermen held protests in Aalborg in late January this year, with banners saying “Now Enough is Enough”,claiming that any introduction of a monitoring system would be a step too far.

NGOs claim that trials of REM on fishing vessels have proven that bycatch was reduced as skippers made an effort to avoid catching unwanted species with  skipper Verner Moller Jensen of the Hvide Sande based trawler ‘Juliane’ who said that “last year we were around the two per cent of discard of our fishing on the cod fish, which is nothing.”

EU fisheries controls will tighten-up under the Common Fisheries Policy and fishermen will have no alternative but to adapt with the changes.

The UK are looking to introduce the same systems of control on their fishing vessels and have said that in the future, if there is an agreement on fisheries access reached between themselves and the EU, all EU fishing vessels entering UK waters would be required to be fitted with REM.

The EU Commission are already considering a range of proposals and the NGOs want the decision-makers to support new measures which would see regulations:

  • Introduce Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM) requirements to improve the control of fishing activities at sea, in particular the control of the landing obligation (LO), and require full documentation of all catches and discards (Articles 1 (11) and 1(23) of the proposal);  
  • Introduce measures that would allow for a better implementation of the enforcement provisions of the Control Regulation (Article 1 (69), Annexes III and IV);  
  • Mandate the use of tracking devices and electronic reporting of catches and fishing operations for small-scale fishing vessels (Articles 1 (6), 1 (11) and 1 (12));  Improve the control of recreational fisheries by introducing licencing and reporting systems (Article 1 (44));  
  • Strengthen current traceability provisions to ensure effective tracking of seafood along the supply chain (Articles 1 (11), 1 (46), 1 (54) and 1 (56));  Improve the control of fishing capacity, notably by mandating the continuous monitoring of engine power for certain categories of vessels (Articles 1 (33) to 1 (37));  Enlarge the scope of the current provisions on the control of fishing restricted areas to cover all vessels and areas in the high seas and in third countries’ waters (Article 1 (43));  
  • Replace the paper-based catch certificate scheme with an electronic scheme under the European Union’s Regulation to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (EU IUU Regulation) (Article 4 (6).
  • The group consisting of CFFA, Client Earth, EJF, PEW, FishSec, Seas at Risk, WWF and Oceana has called on decision makers to amend the Commission’s proposals to:
    • Mandate the use of REM on board all vessels identified by the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) as being of medium, high and very high risk of non-compliance with the LO;  
    • Introduce measures that would allow the effective control of technical measures, in particular measures set out to minimise the impact of fishing activities on the marine environment;  
    • Complete the list of serious infringements of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP);  Improve data access and sharing, including for data on catches, landings, vessel positions and enforcement actions; and establish an EU Fisheries Control Data Centre;  
    • Introduce transparency requirements by making information on the implementation of the Control Regulation, such as infringements and sanctions, publicly available;  
    • Provide a clear definition of traceability and include key missing data elements in the EU IUU Regulation catch certificate (International Maritime Organization (IMO) number, catching method and link between catch area and catch dates);  
    • Ensure that the revised mandate of EFCA fully incorporates the international dimension of the CFP into its work and that it receives the adequate resources to fulfil its missions.

 

Source: Our Fish

NGOs call for Remote Electronic Monitoring on all EU fishing vessels

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