Tag Archives: Fishing regulations

Combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

Combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

Topics

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

Combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

To counteract this very lucrative phenomenon, this Regulation provides for the limitation of access to the European Union (EU) market to only certified fishery products that comply with the rules. Other provisions are to reinforce the surveillance of activities at sea, to identify IUU operators, to enhance the implementation of fisheries legislation and to improve the application of sanctions in the event of infringements.

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29 September 2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, amending Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1936/2001 and (EC) No 601/2004 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 1093/94 and (EC) No 1447/1999.

Summary

This Regulation establishes a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Community and international waters. The effectiveness of this system depends on the measures adopted by Member States in line with Community legislation.

Fishing vessels engaged in IUU fishing

A fishing vessel shall be presumed to be engaged in IUU fishing if it:

  • does not hold a valid fishing licence;
  • does not provide or record catch data;
  • fishes in a closed area;
  • fishes unauthorised species;
  • uses prohibited or non-compliant fishing gear;
  • falsifies or conceals its identity;
  • falsifies or conceals evidence relating to an investigation;
  • obstructs the work of inspectors;
  • takes on board, tranships or lands undersized fish;
  • participates in activities with vessels included in the IUU vessel list;
  • carries out fishing activities in an area covered by a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO) without complying with the conservation and management measures of that organisation and is flagged to a State not party to that organisation, or not cooperating with that organisation;
  • is a stateless vessel.

Designated ports

Only port facilities designated by Member States of the European Union (EU) are open to vessels from third countries. Transhipments between vessels from third countries and EU vessels are prohibited at sea and shall only take place in designated ports.

Port inspections

The State in whose territory the port is located is responsible for monitoring fishery products imported into the EU. This is in order to attest that the said products are legal and that the vessel complies with the regulations, i.e. it holds the required licences and permits, and complies with fishing quotas.

Catch certificates

The catch certificate guarantees that products imported into the EU do not originate from IUU fishing. These certificates are issued by the flag State. They accompany fishery products throughout the supply chain to facilitate checks.

IUU vessel list and list of non-cooperating third countries

The Commission has established two blacklists. The first includes vessels engaged in IUU fishing and the second the list of States that are lenient towards them. In both cases, the procedures for the establishing of the lists provide for safeguards and appeal arrangements to guarantee the fair treatment of the vessels and States concerned.

Sanctions

Member States shall apply effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions against natural or legal persons engaged in IUU activities. A maximum sanction of at least five times the value of the fishery products obtained is provided for with regard to the committing of the said infringement. In the event of a repeated infringement within a five-year period, the Member States shall impose a maximum sanction of at least eight times the value of the fishery products obtained by committing the serious infringement.

Mutual assistance

Combating IUU fishing implies a strengthening of cooperation between the administrative authorities of Member States as well as with the administrative authorities of third countries and the Commission.

The Commission has created the IUU fishing information system to assist administrative authorities in preventing this type of activity, facilitating investigations and prosecuting offenders.

Context

This Regulation represents (with the Communication which accompanies it) one of the first steps towards an integrated maritime policy. It is part of the Community Action Plan against IUU fishing adopted in 2002 and in line with action carried out at international level (FAO, RFMO) intended to prevent, discourage and eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

References

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

Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008

29.10.2008

OJ L 286 of 29.10.2008

AMENDMENTS TO THE ANNEXES

Annex 1 – List of products excluded from the list of fishery products
Regulation (EC) No 1010/2009 [Official Journal L 280 of 27.10.2009];
Regulation (EU) No 86/2010 [Official Journal L 26 of 30.1.2010];
Regulation (EU) No 202/2011 [Official Journal L 57 of 2.3.2011].

Related Acts

Implementing arrangements

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1010/2009 of 22 October 2009 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing [Official Journal L 280 of 27.10.2009].

Authorisation for fishing

Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008 of 29 September 2008 concerning authorisations for fishing activities of Community fishing vessels outside Community waters and the access of third country vessels to Community waters, amending Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1627/94 and repealing Regulations (EC) No 3317/94 [Official Journal L 286 of 29.10.2008].

Vessels engaged in combating IUU fishing

Commission Regulation (EU) No 468/2010 of 28 May 2010 establishing the EU list of vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing [Official Journal L 131 of 29.5.2010].

Competent authorities for catch certificates

List of Member States and their competent authorities concerning Articles 15(2), 17(8) and 21(3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008[Official Journal C 320 of 24.12.2009].

Designated ports

List of ports in EU Member States where landings and transhipment operations of fishery products are allowed and port services are accessible for third-country fishing vessels, in accordance with Article 5(2) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008[Official Journal C 320 of 24.12.2009].

Protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from bottom fishing

Protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from bottom fishing

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from bottom fishing

Topics

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

Protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from bottom fishing

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 734/2008 of 15 July 2008 on the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from the adverse impacts of bottom fishing gears.

Summary

The scope of this Regulation applies to Community fishing vessels using bottom fishing gears * for their activities on the high seas. Vessels which operate in an area regulated by a Regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO) are not subject to this Regulation. It does apply to vessels which carry out activities in an area where an RFMO is in the stages of development and intermediate measures for the protection of the marine environment have been adopted.

To be able to carry out activities with bottom fishing gears in the high seas, Community vessels must obtain a special fishing permit. Applications for special fishing permits must be accompanied by a detailed fishing plan specifying:

  • the area of activity;
  • the targeted species;
  • the type and conditions of use of the gears deployed;
  • a map of the seabed where the fishing activities will be carried out, if necessary.

The permit is issued by the Flag State after they have carried out an impact assessment. This study is based on scientific and technical data relating to the location of vulnerable marine ecosystems * in the area of activity detailed in the fishing plan. It must demonstrate that the fishing activities will not have a significant adverse impact * on the ecosystems in question.

Any changes to the fishing plan must be notified to the competent authority who will examine whether the changes are likely to threaten areas where vulnerable marine ecosystems occur or are likely to occur. The competent authority in the Flag State shall withdraw the special fishing permit if a vessel does not comply with the specified fishing plan.

The principle of precaution applies when the competent authority does not have reliable scientific information on a given area at its disposal. In this case, the use of bottom gears is forbidden. Bottom fishing activities are only authorised when they present no risk of damaging vulnerable marine ecosystems.

When a vessel has an unforeseen encounter with a vulnerable marine ecosystem it must leave the site and refrain from fishing activities in the area. They are only authorised to resume fishing activities in an area foreseen in their fishing plan located a minimum distance of five nautical miles from the site of the encounter. With as little delay as possible, the vessel must inform the competent authorities of their encounter, providing important details such as the nature, location, time, etc. of the encounter.

Member States shall proceed with area closures to fishing with bottom gears when the scientific information confirms the occurrence or likelihood of occurrence of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the area open to fishing. Member States must inform the Commission of any closures. The Commission is then responsible for circulating the notification to all Member States.

In the event of failure of the satellite vessel monitoring system (VMS) fitted on-board a fishing vessel, the master of the vessel must report its geographical location to the Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) in the Flag State every two hours. The vessel is only authorised to return to sea once the competent authority has confirmed that the VMS is functioning perfectly again.

Observers shall monitor the activities of vessels granted a special fishing permit throughout the execution of the fishing plan. During the observation period, the observers must compile information on the catch, changes to the fishing plan, encounters with vulnerable ecosystems, as well as record the depth at which gear is deployed. Observers shall submit a report to the competent authorities in the Member State concerned within twenty days following the end of their mission. A copy of the report shall then be sent to the Commission.

Context

This Regulation forms part of the common fisheries policy and the Union’s environment policy in that it establishes rules which will enable the prevention and cessation of adverse impacts of certain fishing practices on the marine environment.

The Regulation implements the recommendations formulated by the General Assembly of the United Nations (Resolution 61/105 of 8 December 2006) regarding the adoption of measures to eliminate destructive fishing practices.

Key terms of the act
  • Bottom gears: gears deployed in the normal course of fishing operations in contact with the seabed, including bottom trawls, dredges, bottom-set gill nets, bottom-set longlines, pots and traps.
  • Marine ecosystem: a dynamic complex of plant, animal and microorganism communities and their nonliving environment interacting as a functional unit.
  • Vulnerable marine ecosystem: any marine ecosystem whose integrity is threatened by significant adverse impacts resulting from physical contact with bottom gears in the normal course of fishing operations, including, inter alia, reefs, seamounts, hydrothermal vents, cold water corals or cold water sponge beds. The most vulnerable ecosystems are those that are easily disturbed and in addition are very slow to recover, or may never recover.
  • Significant adverse impacts: impacts which compromise ecosystem integrity in a manner that impairs the ability of affected populations to replace themselves and that degrades the long-term natural productivity of habitats, or causes on more than a temporary basis significant loss of species richness, habitat or community types.

References

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

Regulation (EC) No 734/2008

31.7.2008

OJ L 201 of 30.7.2008

Autorisation to fish in third-country waters

Autorisation to fish in third-country waters

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Autorisation to fish in third-country waters

Topics

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

Maritime Affairs And Fisheries > External relations and enlargement

Autorisation to fish in third-country waters

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008 of 29 September 2008 concerning authorisations for fishing activities of Community fishing vessels outside Community waters and the access of third country vessels to Community waters, amending Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93 and (EC) No 1627/94 and repealing Regulation (EC) No 3317/94.

Summary

This Regulation lays down the procedures to be followed for the granting of fishing authorisations *. These authorisations permit Community fishing vessels to engage in their activities outside Community waters and third country fishing vessels to engage in fishing activities in Community waters. Authorisations are granted in the light of a certain number of eligibility criteria associated with the international obligations entered into by the Community and the provisions of this Regulation.

FISHING ACTIVITIES OF COMMUNITY VESSELS OUTSIDE COMMUNITY WATERS

To engage in fishing activities in third country waters, Community vessels must obtain an authorisation issued in accordance with this Regulation.

Granting of fishing authorisations

The flag Member State shall transmit the applications for fishing vessels flying its flag to the Commission no later than five working days before the deadline stated in the agreement or in accordance with the arrangement provided for in the agreement with the third country.

The Commission shall verify the applications in accordance with the eligibility criteria and shall ensure that the eligible applications are transmitted to the third country concerned.

The Commission shall inform the flag Member State that the third country concerned has decided to grant or not to grant the fishing authorisation for a particular vessel.

The flag Member State shall notify this information to the owner of the fishing vessel.

Applications shall be processed electronically.

The Commission shall not transmit the applications to the third country concerned if the eligibility criteria are not complied with.

Community information system

The Commission shall set up a Community information system containing the information relating to the authorisations issued in accordance with this Regulation. This electronic system shall be secure. Member States shall ensure that the information which it contains is up-to-date at all times.

Suspension or withdrawal of a fishing authorisation

If the third country decides to suspend or withdraw a fishing authorisation for a vessel flying the flag of a Member State, the Commission shall inform the State concerned immediately. The flag Member State must then either temporarily suspend or permanently withdraw the fishing permit granted to the vessel concerned.

Underutilisation of fishing opportunities

To ensure that the fishing opportunities made available to the Community under the fishing agreements are fully utilised, the Commission may, in accordance with certain criteria, temporarily reallocate the fishing opportunities not utilised by a Member State to one or more other Member States.

FISHING ACTIVITIES OF THIRD COUNTRY VESSELS IN COMMUNITY WATERS

To engage in fishing activities in Community waters, third country vessels must obtain a fishing authorisation from the Commission.

Granting of fishing authorisations

The competent authorities of the third country shall submit to the Commission, through electronic transmission, the applications for fishing authorisations for vessels flying the flags of those third countries.

The Commission shall examine the applications for fishing authorisations in accordance with the eligibility criteria and taking account of the fishing opportunities allocated to the third country and shall issue the fishing authorisations in accordance with the measures adopted by the Council and the provisions contained in the agreement concerned.

The Commission shall inform the competent authorities of the third country and of the Member States of the fishing authorisations issued.

Failure to comply with relevant rules

Member States shall notify the Commission as soon as they record a third country fishing vessel committing an infringement in Community waters. No fishing permit shall be then issued to the fishing vessels from the third country concerned for a period not exceeding twelve months.

Transmission of catches and fishing effort

The Regulation lays down provisions relating to the declaration of catch data and, where appropriate, fishing effort.

CONTEXT

This Regulation follows on from the 2006-2008 Action Plan for simplifying and improving the Common Fisheries Policy.

This Regulation repeals Regulation (EC) No 3317/94.

Key terms of the Act
  • Fishing autorisation: the entitlement to engage in fishing activities during a specified period, in a given area or for a given fishery.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Regulation (EC) No 1006/2008

18.11.2008

OJ L 286 of 29.10.2008