The EU is to tighten up on the 'ineffective' control of fisheries, which has been lambasted by its own Court of Auditors.
In particular, it has criticised the many derogations - exemptions – to the control laws that are enjoyed by small vessels, which effectively makes it impossible to tell how much fish they take.
The Court said: "Due to significant weaknesses in most audited areas, the EU does not have a sufficiently effective system for fisheries controls in place to support the success of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Many stocks are still overfished, particularly the Mediterranean where 93% of the stocks assessed are overfished."
The EU Commission has acted on the issue and has proposed a revised control regulation that will do away with all derogations enjoyed by the small-scale sector, subject to approval from the European Parliament and Council.
The Commission is also promoting new technologies for data collection, control and tracking of vessels.
Earlier this month, Anna Szczodrowska, EFTTA's Environmental and Fisheries Legal Advisor, attended a workshop on digital tools for small scale fisheries which included a presentation on a recreational fishing electronic logbook.
Two devices were discussed in particular, one developed by FishFriender for anglers which concerns, first and foremost sea bass, but can be adapted to suit other species and drones in Croatia and Denmark as a tool for inspection of fisheries. A considerable amount of EU funding is available for these devices and systems to improve fisheries control, but Member States have thus far shown little interest.
(1) The Workshop on digital tools for monitoring and reporting catches for small scale fisheries (SSF):
- Agenda [link]
- All presentations and a conclusion brief are available here: https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/press/outcomes-workshop-digital-tools-small-scale-fisheries-brussels-4-5-december-2018_en
- The presentation by FishFriender: https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/press/outcomes-workshop-digital-tools-small-scale-fisheries-brussels-4-5-december-2018_en
(2) The Court of Auditors, “Special Report No 08/2017: EU fisheries controls: more efforts needed” 30 May 2017 (available in 23 languages): http://www.eca.europa.eu/en/Pages/DocItem.aspx?did=41459