Tag Archives: Aquaculture

Animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof

Animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Food safety > Animal health

Animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2006/88/EC of 24 October 2006 on animal health requirements for aquaculture animals and products thereof, and on the prevention and control of certain diseases in aquatic animals.


The Directive establishes:

  • animal health requirements for the placing on the market, importation and transit of aquaculture animals and their products;
  • minimum measures to prevent diseases in aquaculture animals;
  • minimum measures to be taken in response to suspected or established cases of certain diseases in aquatic animals.

The animals concerned are fish, molluscs and crustaceans and their products, not including ornamental animals bred in an aquarium not intended for sale, wild animals introduced directly into the food chain and animals intended for the production of fish meal, fish oils and similar products. Ornamental animals not in direct contact with natural waters or which live in treated water systems are only concerned by the rules on prevention and treatment of the diseases.

Authorisation of aquaculture production businesses and processing establishments

The Directive provides for the authorisation of farms and processing establishments by the relevant authority in their Member State.

In order to obtain this authorisation, farms and establishments must keep a register that includes details of movements of animals and products, implement good hygiene practices and, in the case of fish farms and mollusc farming areas, apply a risk-based animal health surveillance scheme.

List of diseases

The Directive provides for a list of exotic and non-exotic diseases and a list of species sensitive to them. The diseases on this list have substantial economic repercussions or an adverse effect on the environment of wild aquatic animals.

Exotic diseases are those that are not established in Community aquaculture and whose pathogen is not present in Community waters. These include the following diseases: epizootic haemopoietic necrosis, infection with Bonamia exitiosa, infection with Xenohaliotis californiensis, Taura syndrome, or even yellowhead disease.

Non-exotic diseases included on the list are: spring viraemia of carp, viral haemorrhagic septicaemia, infectious haemopoietic hecrosis, herpes virus infection, infectious salmon anaemia, infection with Marteilia refringens, infection with Bonamia ostreae, and white spot disease.

Disease-free status

The territory of a state or a part thereof can be declared free of a non-exotic disease if no species sensitive to that disease is present there or if the State has had surveillance and detection measures in place for a sufficiently long period of time. Moreover, the state must also create buffer zones between its territory and the territory of neighbouring states that have not been declared disease-free areas.

The Commission draws up, updates and publishes the list of disease-free states and areas.

Animal health requirements for the placing on the market of aquaculture animals and products

The Directive makes provision for general rules for the transport and traceability of animals (animal health certification). It also includes animal health conditions for animals and their products intended for breeding or restocking, with particular reference to whether their region of origin has disease-free status and the obligation in some cases for them to be kept in quarantine. Other specific conditions relate to animals and their products intended for human consumption, particularly their health status, and hygiene in processing and temporary storage establishments. Some rules relate to wild aquatic animals, which must normally spend a period of time in quarantine when they are reintroduced into disease-free areas, and ornamental animals.

Import of aquaculture animals and their products into the Community from third countries

Third countries or parts of third countries authorised to export into the Community must appear on a list drawn up by the Commission. These countries or parts of countries are placed on the list once an evaluation has been carried out by the Commission to assess, among other things, the state of health of aquatic animals there, the legislation of the country in question, and the organisation of the relevant local authority and inspection services. Commission experts can if necessary carry out on-the-spot inspections to complement the evaluation.

Consignments of imported animals or products must be accompanied by an animal health certificate attesting that the consignments meet Community requirements.

Notification and minimum measures for control of diseases

When there is reason to suspect the presence of a disease listed by the Commission or when increased mortality occurs in aquatic animals, the responsible authority in the Member State must immediately consult with professionals in the field with regard to the health of and trade in the aquatic animals. The affected Member State must notify the Commission, the other Member States and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states of the presence of a listed exotic disease within 24 hours, and of the presence of a listed non-exotic disease if the affected area has been declared free of this disease.

The Directive makes provision for measures to be taken in response to the suspected presence of a listed disease, specifically the examination of samples by an authorised laboratory, a ban on movements of aquatic animals into and out of the infected farm and the carrying out of epizootic investigations.

In the event of confirmation of a listed exotic disease, a containment area must be set up around the infected farm, together with a ban on movements of animals. Furthermore, all dead animals, live animals exhibiting clinical signs of the disease and animals which have not reached commercial size and do not exhibit clinical signs of the disease must be removed and disposed of in an appropriate timeframe. The harvesting, catching and subsequent processing of animals may continue once treatment can take place in conditions that prevent the spread of the pathogen. The infected farm may be required to undergo an appropriate period of fallowing.

In the event of confirmation of a listed non-exotic disease in an area declared free of that disease, the affected Member State must either implement the same measures as for contamination with an exotic disease, or apply minimum measures of containment and restriction of movement, and remove and dispose of dead animals.

In the event of suspicion or confirmation of contamination of wild animals with a listed disease, the affected Member State must monitor the situation and implement the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

If an emerging disease develops, the Member State must take the necessary steps to prevent the disease from spreading and inform the Commission and the other Member States of the situation. Where necessary, the list of diseases will be amended as a result.

Vaccinations are normally prohibited, unless they are part of a Commission-approved control and eradication programme, are being used to control an emerging disease, or have been authorised by the Commission where the epizootic situation requires it.


This Directive meets the need to update legislation on the health of aquatic animals with regard to developments in aquaculture, international experience and scientific progress. This Directive focuses on the prevention of epizootic diseases in order to reduce financial losses due to the diseases themselves and trade restrictions. It aims in particular at improving exchange both within the Community and with third countries by bringing the rules on the placing on the market of aquaculture animals and their products into line with the standards established by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

This Directive repeals Directives 91/67/EEC and 93/53/EEC concerning the animal health conditions governing aquaculture animals and products as from 1st August 2008.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2006/88/EC



OJ L 328 of 24.11.2006


Annexe IV – Disease listing
Directive 2008/53/EC[Official Journal L 117 of 1.5.2008].

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2008/392/EC of 30 April 2008 implementing Council Directive 2006/88/EC as regards an Internet-based information page to make information on aquaculture production businesses and authorised processing establishments available by electronic means [Official Journal L 138 of 28.5.2008].

Commission Decision 2010/221/EU of 15 April 2010 approving national measures for limiting the impact of certain diseases in aquaculture animals and wild aquatic animals in accordance with Article 43 of Council Directive 2006/88/EC [Official Journal L 98 of 20.4.2010].

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.

State Aid: Guidelines

State Aid: Guidelines

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about State Aid: Guidelines


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Competition > Rules applicable to specific sectors > Competition in agriculture and fisheries

State Aid: Guidelines

Document or Iniciative

Guidelines for the examination of State aid to fisheries and aquaculture [Official Journal C 84, 3.4.2008].


State aid is in principle prohibited by the Treaty establishing the European Community because it is likely to result in unfair competition in the internal market. Nevertheless, derogations may be granted. For the purpose of these Guidelines on fisheries and aquaculture, the derogations are administered by the Commission.

These Guidelines apply to the fisheries sector and to the activities linked to harvesting aquatic resources and aquaculture, as well as to the production, processing and marketing methods used for the resulting products.

These Guidelines cover all measures which constitute aid within the meaning of Article 87 (1) of the EC Treaty, whatever their form and whether they are directly or indirectly financed by public funds.

To benefit fisheries and aquaculture, the rules on State aid set out in Articles 87 to 89 of the EC Treaty do not apply to financial contributions made by Member States to operations co-financed by the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and provided for as part of an operational programme.

The Member States are obliged to notify the Commission of any State aid they plan to grant so that the Commission can ensure that the proposed aid is compatible with Community rules. Government aid must be in accordance with the objectives of the Competition Policy and those of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The aid may not be protective in nature and it may not be granted for activities that the beneficiary has already begun.

Aid that meets the criteria set by the exemption Regulation which is due to be adopted in the near future (to replace Regulation No 1595/2004 which expired on 31.12.2006), as well as aid for training, research or employment, may be exempted from the notification obligation.

The Member State must supply information on the amount and intensity of the aid. Aid schemes must be limited in duration to a maximum of 10 years. Two months before this expiry date, an application may be made to extend the scheme. In this case, the Member State must give reasons and must re-notify the scheme. If it becomes apparent that the beneficiary of the aid scheme is not complying with the rules of the CFP, the grant must be reimbursed in proportion to the gravity of the infringement.

The Commission states that State aid for the export of or trade in fishery products within the Community, as well as operating aid, is in principle incompatible with the internal market.

The Guidelines on regional aid do not apply to fisheries and aquaculture.

The following are compatible with the common market:

  • Aid for measures covered by an exemption Regulation;
  • Aid falling within the scope of certain horizontal guidelines (rescue and restructuring of firms in difficulty);
  • Aid for the equipment and modernisation of fishing vessels is incompatible with the common market unless it is granted to boats that are five years old or older and is intended to improve on-board safety, working conditions, hygiene, product quality, energy efficiency or selectivity, without increasing the fishing vessel’s catch potential. It must not exceed the overall rate set by Annex II of Regulation (EC) No 1198/2006;
  • Aid to repair damage caused by natural disasters or other exceptional occurrences;
  • Tax relief and labour-related costs for fishing vessels fishing for tuna or tuna-like species which operate outside Community waters;
  • Aid financed through parafiscal charges;
  • Special aid for the outermost regions;
  • Aid that makes it possible to take other measures which clearly contribute to achieving the goals of the Common Fisheries Policy.

These Guidelines will apply as from 1 April 2008 to any State aid notified after this date.

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (Green Paper)

This Green Paper aims to collect the opinions of all persons and organisations affected by the future of the fisheries sector. Despite the measures taken to ensure the sustainable future of the sector, a large number of problems remain, such as overfishing, an increase in seafood imports, Community fleet overcapacity, decreased profitability of the sector and the dependence on public aid. The consultation is the first stage in the process which should lead a radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Document or Iniciative

Green Paper of 22 April 2009 – Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy [COM(2009) 163 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Green Paper shall analyse all facets of the current Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and seek to explain why certain problems persist despite the progress made since the 2002 reform.

Outcomes of the Common Fisheries Policy

The CFP reform provided for a series of measures to ensure the viability of fisheries. The principal measures adopted under the 2002 reform concerned, amongst others:

  • the introduction of multi-annual plans for stock recovery and management;
  • the integration of environmental concerns into fisheries management;
  • establishing Regional Advisory Committees (RACs);
  • the setting of national ceilings to adapt the fishing capacity of fleets to fishing opportunities;
  • limiting the number of days that a vessel can operate at sea;
  • a gradual withdrawal of public funds for the construction or modernisation of fishing vessels, whilst maintaining aid for improving safety and working conditions on board vessels;
  • establishing fisheries agreements aimed at creating partnerships with third countries.

However, the objectives set in 2002 have not been achieved. Today, the Common Fisheries Policy is characterised by overfishing, fleet overcapacity, heavy subsidies, low economic resilience and a decline in the volume of fish caught by European fishermen. A radical change is needed to address these challenges.

Overcoming the five structural failings of the CFP

The depletion of European fisheries stocks is principally the result of fleet overcapacity. Several solutions are being considered to adapt the size of European fishing fleets to the stocks available. The use of transferable rights and/or the creation of a one-off fund could be a solution to this problem. However, accompanying measures aimed at preventing negative effects on smaller-scale fisheries and coastal communities still need to be drawn up.

The lack of clear political objectives, specifically with regard to ecological responsibility and the connection with general maritime issues, is the second weakness of the current CFP. The Green Paper shall consult the public on how to define the objectives in a clear and prioritised manner for decision-making and implementation.

The majority of decisions affecting the CFP are taken at Council level. This decision-making system is over-centralised and focused on short-term solutions, which compromises sustainability in the long-term. To alleviate this problem, decisions could be made jointly by the Council and the Parliament (co-decision procedure), leaving Member States, the Commission and/or the fisheries sector responsible for implementing the decisions. However, in this new system the role of consultative structures (the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Regional Advisory Committees) should be increased.

The sector lacks responsibility. Therefore a rethink is required on how to give the fisheries sector more responsibility in implementing the CFP, whilst also finding the means of ensuring that the self-management of the industry achieves its goals.

The final structural issue tackled by the Green Paper relates to the absence of political will to ensure compliance. In order to increase compliance with the regulations, the benefits and disadvantages of centralised mechanisms (such as direct Commission action or national/cross-border controls) and de-centralised mechanisms need to be examined by submitting them to consultation.

Improving the management of European Union fisheries

Restoring the productivity of fish stocks is required in order to ensure the economic and social viability of the fisheries sector. In order to improve the management of fisheries, many ideas have been submitted for consultation. These ideas concern:

  • the possibility of introducing a differentiated regime to protect small-scale coastal fleets;
  • the adoption of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) as a management principle and the introduction of long-term management plans in order to make the most of fisheries;
  • the relative stability of Community quotas and access to coastal fisheries;
  • trade in and the market for fisheries products and aquaculture products;
  • integrating the CFP into the broader context of maritime affairs;
  • scientific knowledge and data for policy decision-making;
  • Community funds for fisheries or national aid measures;
  • managing the fishing activities of Community fleets in non-EU waters in order to extend the principles of sustainable and responsible fishing to the international level;
  • the role of aquaculture in the future CFP.


Although the Commission is only legally required to re-examine some of the dimensions of the CFP before 2012, the current situation, specifically with regard to stocks and fleet overcapacity, has convinced the Commission of the need to begin the reform process.

The consultation will close on 31 December 2009. It will form the basis of a public debate on the drafting of a proposal for a new regulation on the CFP. The latter could be presented to the European Parliament and the Council at the beginning of 2011, with a view to adoption in 2012.

Another Normative about Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 13 July 2011 – Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy [COM(2011) 417 – Not published in the Official Journal].


The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy. In order to do this, it must participate in introducing sustainable and inclusive growth, enhancing cohesion in coastal regions and improving the economic performance of the industry.

The proposals made by the Commission are directed towards sustainability and long-term solutions.

Conservation and sustainability

Through fisheries management that eliminates significant negative effects on other stocks, species and ecosystems, the CFP will contribute to the Good Environmental Status in the marine environment, in line with the provisions of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

The measures adopted as part of the CFP reform should enable maximum sustainable yield (MSY) to be reached by 2015, in accordance with the international undertakings made by the European Union (EU). The highest catch that can be taken must not endanger long-term stocks. On the contrary, it should contribute to maintaining the size of the population at maximum productivity.

The measures envisaged also concern the elimination of discards at sea, long-term management plans based on the best available scientific advice, improving data collection and the availability of complete, reliable data for policy-making.

A future for fisheries and aquaculture

The CFP should make fisheries and aquaculture strong, viable, competitive and attractive industries. In order to increase economic viability and eliminate overcapacity, the Commission proposes to introduce a system of transferable fishing concessions for large vessels. The system should enable some operators to buy rights from other operators wishing to leave the industry. The system requires no public funding. Furthermore, it should enable incomes to be increased and new jobs to be created.

Support measures for small-scale fisheries and sustainable aquaculture could also be developed.

Consumer information

Consumers will be better informed of the quality and sustainability of the products they buy. Labelling may include environmental claims or production techniques.

Fishermen’s organisations will become active stakeholders as regards planning their members’ fishing activities, and will play a more central role in driving and supplying the market, as well as increasing fishermen’s profit margins.

Improving governance through regionalisation

The reform should foster solutions that are adapted to local and regional needs, taking better account of the specific features of the different sea basins. Key decisions concerning the general principles and objectives of the policy will still be taken at EU level. However, Member States will be able to take other fisheries management measures, under Commission control. For reasons of effective management, Member States will in particular be able to adopt technical conservation measures and anti-discard measures and transpose them in their national legislation.

The Commission envisages extending the role of the Advisory Councils when drafting conservation policy under the regionalisation model. Due to the specific nature of aquaculture, the Commission also proposes to create a new Advisory Council for Aquaculture.

Financial support

Public funding should cover all activities. It will be thoroughly simplified and will be linked to compliance with certain conditions (particularly of sustainability) by industry operators. The intervention regime under the Common Market Organisation will also be modernised. From now on, the setting of intervention prices will be decentralised and appropriate in order to avoid the destruction of surplus fish to maintain price levels.

External dimension

EU external actions are aimed at sustainability and safeguarding marine ecosystems. They are mainly based on strengthening cooperation in order to share scientific knowledge and to comply with established rules, in particular concerning the fight against illegal fishing.

The EU must play a stronger role in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, international organisations and in its relations with third countries.

Sustainable Fisheries Agreements (SFAs) with non-EU countries must focus more on good management of marine resources, improving scientific knowledge and establishing a quality governance framework.


The reform is based on a large-scale public consultation that was completed in late 2010. Contributions from stakeholders were used in drafting the reform, which includes the following:

  • a legislative proposal for a new Regulation defining the main CFP rules [replacing Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002];
  • a legislative proposal concerning a new market policy [replacing Regulation (EC) No 104/2000];
  • a legislative proposal for a new Regulation on the European Fund for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries;
  • a Communication on the external dimension of the CFP; and
  • a report on Council Regulation (EC) No 2371/2002 regarding the chapters Conservation and Sustainability and Adjustment of Fishing Capacity, and on Article 17(2) on fleet access restriction to 12 nautical miles.

Building a sustainable future for aquaculture

Building a sustainable future for aquaculture

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Building a sustainable future for aquaculture


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Management of fisheries resources and the environment

Building a sustainable future for aquaculture

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of 8 April 2009 – Building a sustainable future for aquaculture – A new impetus for the Strategy for the Sustainable Development of European Aquaculture [COM(2009) 162 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Seven years on from the adoption of the strategy for the sustainable development of European aquaculture in 2002, significant progress has been made in ensuring the environmental sustainability and quality of European Union (EU) aquaculture production. However, unlike other regions in the world where high rates of growth have been recorded, the total volume of aquaculture production (mainly fish and shellfish) in the EU overall has stagnated.

In its Communication, the Commission examines the causes of this stagnation and envisages actions which are under the responsibility of public authorities, in order to improve competitiveness, sustainability and governance in the sector.

Barriers to the growth of European aquaculture

The European Union depends more and more on imports of fishery and aquaculture products. Even though European aquaculture benefits from dynamic support in terms of research and technology innovation, advanced equipment and fish feed, qualified and trained entrepreneurs, and operates within a legal framework for environment and health protection, the industry is faced with many challenges. In particular, aquaculture enterprises must have access to the space and water required for production, obtain the associated multiple authorisations, maintain as far as possible the health of fish despite an insufficiency of medicines and vaccines, have access to capital to invest and develop, withstand pressure from imports, etc.

Building the future of the European Union aquaculture industry

It is in the interests of the European Union to better promote this sector and to raise awareness on the part of public authorities and investors. Even if wild stocks of fish recover to Maximum Sustainable Yield levels, the rapidly expanding demand will also have to be met from aquaculture production.

The EU must put in place appropriate measures to ensure that the Community aquaculture industry can take a lead role in the production of aquatic food, technology and innovation, and the setting of standards and certification processes at European and international level. The aim of this Communication is to help bring about the conditions for a successful and sustainable aquaculture industry that can compete successfully in the market.

Public authorities should establish a predictable, consistent and cost-effective legislative framework. In order to be effective, the strategy should be supported by all. Its vision and objectives should be strengthened and relayed by public authorities at national and regional level.

Improving competitiveness, sustainability and governance

In order to increase competitiveness in the sector, it is essential to continue to support research and technological development, to promote spatial planning in coastal zones and take into account the needs of the aquaculture sector as regards the market for fishery and aquaculture products.

To guarantee the sustainable development of aquaculture, the EU must continue to support environment-friendly production methods, but also ensure that aquaculture has access to a high-quality environment particularly in terms of water quality. It must also guarantee animal welfare and health and continue to provide a high level of consumer protection.

It is important to enhance the image of European aquaculture and public authorities should improve aspects related to governance, especially in terms of reducing administrative charges, consulting stakeholders and informing the public.

Aquaculture’s success depends to a great extent on the existence of an environment which is favourable to enterprises in this sector. The Commission therefore proposes to provide Member States and regional authorities with guidance, to ensure that targeted measures taken at local, national and EU level help the sector to fully exploit its assets.

Concerted action at all levels to unlock the potential of the aquaculture sector should offer many advantages. In this regard, the Commission considers that a strong and revitalised aquaculture industry will also benefit related sectors, contribute to the development of rural areas and coastal zones, and could meet the demands of consumers who will have access to high-quality food which is healthy and produced using ecological methods.

Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Common organisation of the market in fishery products


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Organisation and financing of the fisheries sector

Common organisation of the market in fishery products

Since the 1970s, the CMO of fishery products contributed towards reducing the effects of variations in demand and supply in the interests of fishermen, processing companies and consumers.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 of 17 December 1999 on the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products [See amending act(s)].


The common organisation of the markets (CMO) in fishery products * was created in 1970. It was the first component of the common fisheries policy (CFP).

Marketing standards

Fishery products may be sold or marketed only if they meet marketing standards covering classification by quality, size or weight categories, packaging, presentation and labelling. Member States must check that products comply with the marketing standards.

Consumer information

Live, fresh or chilled products may be sold to the final consumer only if they are appropriately marked or labelled with:

  • the commercial name of the species;
  • the method of production (fresh water, sea or farmed);
  • the catch area.

Formation and recognition of producer organisations

Producer organisations (PO) are set up by fishermen or fish farmers who voluntarily form an association with the aim of implementing measures to ensure optimum conditions for the marketing of their products. Those measures should seek to:

  • give priority to planning production and bringing it into line with demand, in particular by implementing catch plans;
  • promote concentration of supply;
  • stabilise prices;
  • promote methods that encourage sustainable fishing.

Member States will recognise groups as POs if they apply for recognition and meet certain requirements.

They may also grant specific recognition to POs if they have put forward a plan to improve product quality.

Extension of rules laid down by producer organisations

Where a PO is representative of production and marketing in one or more landing places, the Member State may make various measures introduced by that PO compulsory for non-members marketing products in the same area.

Planning of production and marketing

Each producer organisation must draw up an operational programme for the fishing year and send it to the relevant authorities in the Member State. The programme must include:

  • a marketing strategy for bringing the volume and quality of supply into line with market requirements;
  • a catch plan or production plan depending on the species;
  • anticipatory measures for adjusting the supply of species that are difficult to market;
  • the penalties to be imposed on members who fail to comply with the decisions taken.

Financial support

Member States may grant POs compensation for a period of five years to enable them to fulfil their obligations with regard to the planning of production and marketing. The way the grant is calculated varies depending on the species.

Member States may also grant additional aid to POs for the introduction of measures aimed at improving organisation and marketing of fish and achieving a better balance between supply and demand. This aid is granted under Commission Regulation (EC) No 498/2007 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of the European Fisheries Fund.

Interbranch organisations (IOs)

Subject to checks by the Commission, Member States may recognise groups as interbranch organisations if they apply for recognition and are made up of representatives of production, trade and processing.

Recognition is subject to certain conditions, the most important of which are linked to the measures that may be implemented by IOs (for example, improving market knowledge and market transparency, etc.).

Extension of arrangements to non-members

Where an IO is representative of the production of and/or trade in and/or processing of a given product, a Member State may, at the request of the organisation, make some of the arrangements binding for a limited period on other operators in the region who do not belong to the organisation.

The arrangements for which extension may be requested must meet certain conditions and relate to one of the following areas: information about production and the market, stricter production rules than those laid down by Community and national legislation, drawing up standard contracts that are compatible with Community legislation, and marketing rules.

Prices and intervention

To ensure the supply of the market in fishery products, the Community has set up a system designed to:

  • alleviate the most negative effects of the imbalance between supply and demand;
  • stabilise prices in order to guarantee fishermen a minimum level of income;
  • promote the general competitiveness of the Community fishing fleet on world markets.

It is based on a system of prices, which, when applied, triggers financial intervention mechanisms.

Those mechanisms are determined on the basis of the guide price set by the Council for certain products before the start of the fishing year. The guide price is based on the average of the prices recorded on the wholesale markets or in ports during the previous three fishing years and takes account of predicted trends in production and demand.

In order to guarantee fishermen a minimum level of income, POs may withdraw fishery products from the market if prices fall below a given level. This level, called the Community withdrawal price, is set by the Commission each year for each type of product marketed. It is calculated in relation to the guide price, not exceeding 90 % of that price, and on the basis of the freshness, size and presentation of the product. When prices fall and the intervention mechanisms are triggered, members receive compensation from the PO to which they belong.

Community withdrawals

For POs to be granted financial compensation for fish permanently withdrawn from the market, certain conditions must be met:

  • the withdrawal price applied by the POs must be the same as the Community withdrawal price, with a tolerance margin of 10 % above or below that price;
  • the products withdrawn must comply with the marketing standards and be of adequate quality;
  • the withdrawal price must apply throughout the fishing year for each category of products concerned.

It is for the POs to determine how to dispose of the products withdrawn from the market in a way that does not interfere with normal marketing of the products concerned. Withdrawn products can be used for charitable purposes, for manufacturing animal feed or for other purposes apart from human consumption.


For products subject to withdrawal, the decision may be taken to process and store them for later human consumption if they are particularly suitable for disposing of in this way. These products must be processed under strict conditions in order to guarantee their quality so that they can be placed on the market again at a later stage in accordance with the criteria set for each species.

Carry-over aid may not exceed the technical and financial costs of processing and storage, calculated as a flat rate. The authorised processing methods are freezing, salting, drying, marinating, boiling and pasteurisation, where appropriate accompanied by filleting, cutting-up or heading. The minimum storage period is 5 days.

Independent withdrawals and carry-over by producer organisations

Certain fishery products that account for a significant proportion of the income of regional or local producers cannot be included in the Community withdrawal price system because there are considerable variations in market prices across Member States or regions and because the overall level of production of those products on the Community market is too low.

The autonomous withdrawals and carry-over mechanism compensates for this by granting flat?rate aid to POs withdrawing those products from the market, either permanently or provisionally, provided that certain conditions are met. The prices to be applied are set autonomously by the POs. There are ceilings on the quantities eligible for flat-rate aid (10 % of the quantities put up for sale during a fishing year) and autonomous withdrawal (5 %).

Private storage

Private storage aid applies to certain products that have been frozen on board the vessel and cannot be marketed at the Community selling price set by the Community before the start of each fishing year. These products are temporarily withdrawn from the market and stored for a minimum of 5 days. The conditions of storage and return to the market must be such that quality standards can be maintained and guaranteed.

Aid may be granted up to a maximum of 15 % of the annual quantities of the products concerned put up for sale by a PO. The level of aid is set on a flat-rate basis before the start of each fishing year on the basis of the technical and financial costs of the facilities required for storing frozen products.

Special arrangements for tuna (bonito, etc.)

Tuna fishing provides supplies primarily for the canning industry, which is why the market organisation arrangements focus on this form of marketing.

The Council sets a Community producer price for the different species of tuna on the basis of the average of the prices recorded on the wholesale markets or in ports during the previous three fishing years.

If the average price for tuna on the Community market and the import price are both below 87 % of the Community producer price, POs may be granted a compensatory allowance of an amount set by the Commission.

Trade with non-EU countries

To ensure adequate supply to the Community processing industry, customs duties for certain products (Alaska pollack, cod, hoki, surimi, etc.) can be totally or partially suspended for an indefinite period.

Reference price

In order to prevent market disturbances as a result of supplies from non-EU countries at abnormally low prices, certain products may be imported into the Community customs territory only if the reference price set each year by the Commission is complied with.

Safeguard measures

Where, as a result of exceptional circumstances, the Community market is threatened with or affected by serious disturbances and a price collapse, safeguard measures may be applied in trade with non-EU countries until the situation returns to normal.

Emergency measures

Where price increases and supply problems are recorded on the Community market for one or more products, the Council will take the necessary action to remedy the situation.

Equal access to facilities

Member States must ensure equal conditions of access to all ports, installations and other facilities for vessels flying any of their flags.

Checks, surveillance and implementation

The Member States and the Commission must put in place systems for communicating and exchanging information, the cost of which will be partly borne by the Community budget.

In order to prevent and curb fraud, Member States must conduct regular checks on, for example, beneficiaries of financial assistance.

The Commission is assisted by the Management Committee for Fishery Products, which is made up of representatives of the Member States and chaired by a Commission representative.

Key terms used in the act
  • Fishery products: products caught at sea or in inland waters and the products of aquaculture. These include live, fresh, chilled, frozen, dried, salted or smoked fish, fish in brine and crustaceans, molluscs, meal, powders, etc.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 104/2000


for Article 4, containing the rules on consumer information)

OJ L 17, 21.1.2000

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Act concerning the conditions of accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the European Union is founded – Annexe II: List referred to in Article 20 of the Act of Accession – 7. Fisheries


OJ L 236, 23.9.2003

Regulation (EC) No 1759/2006


OJ L 335, 1.12.2006

Regulation (EC) No 1258/2010


OJ L 343, 29.10.2010


Price system

of 11 February 2011 fixing the amount of the carry-over aid and the flat-rate aid for certain fishery products for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 124/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the amount of private storage aid for certain fishery products in the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 123/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the Union selling prices for the fishery products listed in Annex II to Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 122/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the Union withdrawal and selling prices for the fishery products listed in Annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 121/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the standard values to be used in calculating the financial compensation and the advance pertaining thereto in respect of fishery products withdrawn from the market during the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Commission Regulation (EU) No 120/2011 of 11 February 2011 fixing the reference prices for certain fishery products for the 2011 fishing year [Official Journal L 38 of 12.2.2011].

Producer organisations

List of the producer organisations recognised in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

List of the producer organisations in the fishery and aquaculture sector from which recognition has been withdrawn in 2010.

Applying the legislation

Report on the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 [COM(2006) 558 final – not published in the Official Journal].

This report notes that the implementation of catch plans by POs has brought about a considerable reduction in the levels of intervention, while interventions also involved a shift towards carry-over operations and away from wasteful withdrawals of fishery products. However, the introduction of IOs has not been such a success, probably because there is not enough cooperation between the various operators in the marketing chain. It was also noted that the European market is changing. Market prices are not keeping pace with production costs, which makes it more difficult to guarantee producers a decent standard of living. The market is becoming increasingly dependent on imports from non-EU countries in order to meet the needs of consumers and the processing industry.

Alien and locally absent species

Alien and locally absent species

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Alien and locally absent species


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Management of fisheries resources and the environment

Alien and locally absent species

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 708/2007 of 11 June 2007 concerning use of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture [See amending act(s)].


The Regulation aims to create a framework governing aquacultural practices in order to ensure adequate protection of the aquatic environment from the risks associated with the use of non-native species and locally absent species in aquaculture *.


The Regulation applies to movements of alien species (introductions) * or locally absent species (translocations) * for their use in aquaculture in the European Union (EU). The Regulation covers all aquatic species including any part that might survive and reproduce. The Regulation applies to all types of aquacultural installation. Nevertheless, it lays down special provisions relating to closed aquaculture facilities. Movements of non-native or locally absent species to be kept in closed aquaculture facilities may be exempted from the requirement to obtain a permit on condition that they are transported under conditions that prevent them from spreading in the environment. Member States must draw up a list of closed aquaculture facilities and update it regularly.

The Regulation does not apply:

  • to translocations of organisms within Member States, except if there is a risk to the environment;
  • to pet-shops, garden centres or aquaria where there is no contact with EU waters;
  • to the species listed in Annex IV, except for certain provisions.

Measures for avoiding adverse effects on biodiversity

Member States must take all appropriate measures to avoid adverse effects on biodiversity resulting from the movement of aquatic organisms for aquaculture purposes and from the spreading of those organisms.

Member States shall monitor and inspect aquaculture activities to make sure that:

  • closed aquaculture facilities comply with the requirements laid down by this Regulation; and
  • transport to or from such facilities takes place under conditions which prevent the escape of alien species or non-target species.


The Regulation makes any movement of an alien aquatic organism to an aquaculture facility subject to the issue of a permit by the receiving Member State. To obtain this permit, the aquaculture operator must submit an application providing certain information, including the name and characteristics of the organism concerned, the proposed destination and the reason for the movement, the potential impact on the environment, the measures to manage and monitor the movement, etc.

Routine movement

In the case of movement from a source known not to pose a risk to the environment, the competent authority may issue a permit indicating, where applicable, requirements for quarantine * or pilot release *.

Non-routine movement

In the case of non-routine movement, an environmental risk assessment must be carried out. If there is found to be a medium or high risk, the applicant and the administration concerned must examine whether there are procedures or technologies available to reduce the level of risk to low. If the level of risk is reduced to low, the competent authority may issue a permit indicating, where appropriate, requirements for quarantine, pilot release or monitoring *.

Movements affecting neighbouring Member States

Member States likely to be affected by a movement of marine organisms must be informed and send their comments to the Commission, which will confirm, cancel or amend the permit.


Member States must keep a register of introductions and translocations containing all the information relating to them. The registers are to be made available to the public.


Invasive alien species are one of the key causes of loss in biodiversity, either by genetic changes, deterioration or modification of habitats, spreading pathogenic agents and parasites, or by replacing native species in the ecological niche which they occupy. This environmental impact has major economic and social repercussions.

This Regulation is based on the voluntary alien species rules originating from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (EIFAC).

Key terms used in the act
  • Aquaculture: the rearing or culture of aquatic organisms using techniques designed to increase the production of the organisms in question beyond the natural capacity of the environment, the organisms remaining the property of a natural or legal person throughout the rearing or culture stage, up to and including harvesting.
  • Alien species: firstly, any aquatic species occurring outside its known natural range and the area of its dispersal potential and secondly, any artificially induced tetraploid organism (4N) and fertile artificially hybridised species.
  • Locally absent species: any aquatic species which is locally absent from a zone within its natural range of distribution for biogeographical reasons.
  • Quarantine: the purpose of this is to maintain the organisms concerned in complete isolation for long enough to establish a breeding stock, to detect accidentally present species and to confirm the absence of pathogens and disease. The quarantine establishment must comply with detailed specifications in compliance with the conditions established by the Regulation (Annex III).
  • Pilot release: the initial phase of small-scale release of aquatic organisms subject to special confinement and prevention measures. A contingency plan must be drawn up so that the organisms in question can be removed or reduced in density in the event of unforeseen risks to the environment or native populations.
  • Monitoring: this must be carried out for at least two years following the organisms’ release into their new environment, to assess whether the impacts were accurately predicted or if there are additional or different impacts.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 708/2007


OJ L 168 of 28.6.2007

Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 304/2011


OJ L 88 of 4.4.2011

Successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 708/2007 have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated versionis for reference only.

A strategy for the sustainable development of European aquaculture

A strategy for the sustainable development of European aquaculture

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about A strategy for the sustainable development of European aquaculture


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > Management of fisheries resources and the environment

A strategy for the sustainable development of European aquaculture

The European Commission is proposing the implementation of a strategy for the sustainable development of aquaculture.

2) Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and European Parliament of 19 September 2002. A strategy for the sustainable development of European aquaculture [COM(2002) 511 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

3) Summary

Aquaculture in the European Union. European aquaculture producers mainly produce fresh-water fish, salt-water fish and molluscs. They also produce small quantities of crustaceans and seaweed. Producing 1 315 000 tonnes in 2000, European aquaculture accounts for barely 3% of world production, although it tops the list for certain species. Annual production value amounts to EUR 2 500 million.
In 1997, aquaculture provided 57 000 full-time jobs.
Fish farming can be found in rural areas and peripheral regions dependent on fisheries. In some regions, like Galicia and Brittany, it plays a crucial socio-economic role.
The sector suffers from price instability and should be regulated by appropriate legislation at European level. This would help provide stability in areas dependent on fishing and provide them with economic viability and self-sufficiency.
The field of aquaculture faces many challenges.
In particular, the priority must be to keep the sector economically viable, guarantee food safety and animal welfare, solve environmental problems and stimulate research.
To attain these objectives, the Commission intends to implement nine actions:

  • Increasing production. The Commission is proposing to redirect the aid granted by the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG). Research on new species and varieties will be promoted. Common standards must also be laid down for organic aquaculture.
  • Improving the use of space. Closed water recirculating systems, offshore fish cage technology, mollusc offshore rafts and long-lines must all be developed. At the same time, integrated coastal zone management must take account of aquaculture in order to manage the use of coastal zones, which are already under all sorts of pressures from human activity.
  • Developing the market, marketing and information. The Commission recommends more frequent use of official quality marks, promotional campaigns to improve the image of the sector and gathering reliable statistical information. Fish farmers will be encouraged to form marketing partnerships.
  • Improving training. The Commission proposes to adapt training programmes to the needs of aquaculture. The role of women, who often occupy unskilled jobs, should be recognised. The Commission also recommends strengthening training programmes targeting women performing or wishing to perform management tasks. Economic decision-makers should take aquaculture into account as a factor in local development.
  • Strengthening governance. The Commission is proposing to strengthen stakeholder participation in decision-making. At the same time, self-regulation and voluntary agreements such as codes of best practice and good conduct should be encouraged. The Community eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) should also be introduced in the aquaculture sector.
  • Guaranteeing product safety. Regarding public health, the Community legislation on food safety is in the process of being recast. The provisions on residues of antibiotics and dioxin in food will be strengthened. Research on the damage caused by the proliferation of toxic algal blooms and animal diseases will be promoted. Regarding animal health, European veterinary legislation needs to be updated. The problem of sea lice must be solved and the legislation on veterinary medicine amended.
  • Animal welfare. The Commission could propose the adoption of standards to improve the welfare of farmed fish.
  • Protecting the environment. The impact of waste must be reduced. Accordingly, the Commission intends to study the possibility of extending the rules on nitrate emissions to cover aquaculture, and to promote the fight against eutrophication.
    The impact on fisheries of catching wild fish to be reared in captivity should be studied.
    The EU should set up instruments to reduce the environmental impact of escapee, transgenic and alien species of fish. Specific criteria and guidelines must also be adopted for aquaculture environmental impact assessments.
    Solutions must be found to predation on aquaculture production by protected wild species.
  • Strengthening research. National and Community programmes to support research activities will be crucial to the future of aquaculture. At Community level, instruments like the FIFG and the 6th Framework Programme for research and technological development will be mobilised. Research priorities will be defined.

4) Implementing Measures

5) Follow-Up Work