New EU rules on sustainable and transparent external fishing activities

Date: June 20, 2017

Source & Author: European Council

On 20 June 2017 the Council reached a political agreement with the European Parliament on new rules for the sustainable management of external fishing fleets.

The agreed regulation will modernise the regime of authorisations for fishing vessels and will apply to all EU vessels fishing outside EU waters, and to third-country vessels fishing in EU waters.

Hon. Clint Camilleri, Maltese Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Animal rights welcomed the agreement and said that ‘thanks to these new and more transparent rules the EU will be better equipped to monitor its external fleet, and to fight against illegal fishing. We are proud to end our fisheries semester with such an important achievement’.

The reformed Common fisheries policy (CFP) promotes a sustainable, ecosystem-based and precautionary approach to fisheries management, emphasising the coherence between its internal and external dimension. An overhaul of the previous regime of authorisations was therefore needed to make sure that EU fishing activities outside Union waters respect the same principles and standards as those applicable in EU waters.

The various authorisation procedures are improved to limit the administrative burden, increase legal certainty, ensure equal treatment between internal and external fleets, and shorten the time of response to applicants.

Furthermore, the new framework will strengthen the rules against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), which are key implementing pillars of the CFP.

Background and next steps

Today’s agreement still needs to be approved by the Council’s Permanent RepresentativesCommittee (Coreper). After formal endorsement by the Council, the new legislation will be submitted to the European Parliament for a vote at first reading and to the Council for final adoption.

This should enable the new regulation to enter into force by the end of 2017.

The Commission proposal for a regulation on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets was submitted to the Council on 11 December 2015. On 28 June 2016, the Council agreed on a general approach, on the basis of which a mandate for negotiations with the EP was agreed in Coreper on 8 March 2017.

Three informal political trilogues with the EP took place between April and June 2017.

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