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Live blogging: EU Council on Fisheries, morning session 14 May 2012

Live blogging of the morning session of the EU Council meeting on Fisheries of 14 May 2012 (background here). May contain mistakes and miss certain aspects!



Danish Presidency: It is difficult to conclude after this discussions. I have heard the mentioning of the socio-economic dimension. But we have a great responsibility as we discuss the future of the situation not just for fisheries. This should also be seen with regard to Rio+20. But I recognise that some member states doubt MSY can be reached until 2015 and that mixed fisheries may be a problem. As presidency, we think we should keep 2015 as a goal but takes into account that this cannot be reached for all stocks. We still need to fix a final date, such as 2020. On integrating environmental dimension into the CFP, but a number of delegations want a balance of environment and other important factors. Now we will look back at the text of the basic regulation and find solutions.

The Council has looked at 9155/12/REV and will continue to discuss on the situation on the basis of today. Now we go to lunch. See you back at 3 pm.


Maria Damanaki: We have to work more, all of us, in order to find some solutions to the problems raised. I have nothing more to add.


CROATIA: In principle, Croatia supports MSY. However, the text should include the reference “whenever possible” with regard to 2015. In mixed fisheries, setting a single species as the reference could mean full closure of fisheries with bad impact on the social-economic dimension. Details of reaching MSY should be in Multiannual Plans. Mixed fisheries is particular relevant in the Med. We should consider selectivity and other measures depending on the area. There is still a lack of data in mixed in multi-species fishing areas. We should also agree what these terms actually means. All analysis should also take into account socio-economic dimension. CFP and environmental protection should be on the same level. On NATURA 2000, the Commission should facilitate dialogue.


DENMARK: We support the goal of reaching MSY in 2015. We need a concrete final data 2020 as the very latests date, and this should be in the basic regulation while operational details should be in the multiannual plans. On mixed fisheries, we should consider selective gear to protect vulnerable species. This should be done in a ecosystem approach, following from the obligations coming from the Marine Strategy. The future fund could support this, i.e. by financing studies and the collection of data. We need a very simple clear flexible procedure to manage these matters coordinatedly, and the Commission can fulfil that role. Member states could also enlarge regional coordination on environmental measures.


ITALY: The path that Maria Damanaki has pointed out is the right one. We need a quality leap forward. We generally support general line of COM proposal. I would add to that that we do have to work on the COM proposal with regard to the Mediterranean. We need specific solutions there. In the future CFP there should be a system of Multiannual Plans that sets out MSY targets. Now to achieve that particular result, we need particular studies on all possible scenarios in the Mediterranean as we are talking a lot of species that caught – and this may take some time. We need to be committed to that process. It is vital to ensure that MSY is reflected in each multiannual plan for each target species. We need to balance when just one target species is vulnerable. We have to be reasonable. My basic line is that what Maria is suggesting is on the right track.


CYPRUS (Note: Next EU Council Presidency): If we are to respect MSY, this involves an international committment but we also need to consider the viability of the sector, but we need to be realistic. The basic regulation should be a point of reference, but we then have to fix the details in each region for each stock depending on scientific data. We need to see effects also on socio-economic dimension. Mixed fisheries as the general situation in the Mediterranean, we have to see how MSY can be practically reached. We need enough flexibility to implement MSY. With regard to the envirionmental dimension, we already have sufficient means in the EU to fulfill our obligations. We need to work very closely between institutions and member states. The Commission has a coordinating role in all this.


PORTUGAL: We agree with those who want to reach MSY, but those targets have to be realistic and have to be adapted to different fisheries. All MSY targets need to be based on scienific data that include also socio-economic objectives. We need to get to MSY gradually, and we won’t make it until 2015 for some species, the rest for 2020. The detailed timeframes should be in the Multiannual Plans, and member states need to be properly involved in setting up this plans. Portugal has a lot of mixed fisheries: Setting MSY will be linked to discard ban and we need a specific approach to all of this. We need a more in depth look in that to answer whether we have sufficient instruments. More selective gear is probably best measure to address this. The CFP proposal does contain enough proposals to fit with the marine strategy framework. The Commission should make it possible to coordinate between the regions. We might need to look at the different scales of regions and define sub-regions. We do hae to bear in mind socio-economic effects when talking about environmental measures.


SLOVAKIA (new minister): As a landlocked countries, questions one and two and support compromise between coastal countries and Commission. We need a compensation for aquaculture producers who lose income through NATURA 2000.


ESTONIA: Estonia supports Johannisburg declaration of 2002. MSY should be in basic regulations, while details should be in multiannual management plan. Where it cannot be reached until 2015, the plans should define a clear year for each species. We need to get to MSY step by step to give the sector time to adapt to the changes. It’s impossible to reach MSY for all species at the same time (Baltic cod -> sprat). MSY objectives should be phrased flexibly. Mixed fisheries should be dealt with on a case by case basis, including the use of selective measures. The MSY objectives will improve marine environment, also linked to the econsystem approach in managing stocks. But we need to consider the protection of spawning areas also from other human activities. On NATURA 2000, the matters of implementation falls within the competence of the member states and Commission can contribute with information exchange.


IRELAND: Fully support MSY. Transition to MSY will need to be on phased basis taking into account socio-economic impact. Basic regulation should set high level principles. MSY or MSY-proxy needs to be flexible, set in multiannual plans. Australian experience on mixed fisheries shows that FMSY cannot be reached for all species. On environmental: Article 9 of CFP and Art 2 of Marine STrategy framework don’t seem to be consistent. CFP cannot be dominated by environmental policy alone. We need clear definitions of what MSY means in mixed fisheries. Implementation timeframe for MSY should be progressive where possible by 2015, with endpoint 2020.


GREECE: MSY can be a good method where there are single species. In the Med where we have mixed species MSY can be dangerous. It may create socio-economic difficulties. 2015 could be a proper target date, not necessarily 2020, but all criteria need to be taken into account and we need to decide which species can be put under these goals. Regarding environmental measures: The new fund could be used to develop studies. And the Commission could give guidelines.


ROMANIA (new minister): We support MSY. But we need to consider all three pillars. 2015 is too ambitious, especially where the resources are shared with third countries. MSY needs to come gradually. The basic CFP just creates a general framework, details should be set up in multiannual plans. In the Black Sea, we need to step up cooperation with third countries. Mixed fisheries have specific demands, and we need to build on Member States experiences. It is necessary to diversify methods to reach environmental goals. This needs to be tackled at regional level. The Commission has a coordination role in this regard.


MALTA: Target of MSY where stocks are shared with third countries should come with regionalisation. Specific timeframes, 2015, 2020 or any other date should be decided at regional level through multiannual plans. At present, the MSY is estimated by carrying out single stock assessments. In Malta, many stocks are shared with third countries, so results can only be reach to joint assessments. The Med is defined by different species and different gears. The multi-gear nature of the fisheries makes this even more difficult. In the absence of clear data it is unclear how MSY can be implemented in the Mediterranean. Even if there were accurate data for the central Mediterranean, the EU could still not reach the goals unilaterally. The environmental objectives need to be applied by all fishermen from all countries – this needs shared coordination. EU has to make sure third countries apply the rules, too.


FINLAND: The Presidency should work on reaching a compromise. MSY should be the overall generall aim of CFP. Details should be agreed in Multiannual plans with time tables on a stock by stock basis. We need more selective measures to catch juvenile stocks. The environmental requirements should be based on ecosystem approach. Appropriate tools are regional cooperation and financial tools. Commission should ensure harmonimous implementation.


LATVIA: We have been stressing MSY should be reached gradually without negative effect to the sector. MSY only until 2015 where possible but at latest for 2020. At the Council level, we should give general guidelines for multiannual plans but decisions should be taken at regional level. On mixed fisheries there are doubts whether goals can be reached. We need multi-species plans and take into account international obligations. More selective gear are one possible measure. On environmental requirements, we need to consider MSY also economic and social needs. Environment is sufficiently addressed in CFP documents.


LITHUANIA: The basic regulation should only include a general provision on achieving MSY, taking into account areas where other countries also fish in the same region. Fish mortality rates should be the basis and interaction between stocks should be . We don’t think MSY can be reached until 2015, especially where there is no good data. This could negatively impact the data. So MSY until 2015 only where possible. On mixed fisheries, there should be multi-special and multi-anual plans. solution is more selective gear. We should strengthen cooperation between industry and scientist. Environmental aspects should not be more important than social economic dimension. We should invest in more selective fishing gear. To this end, we need all possible sources to support and not just the EU fish fund. The 12 nautical mile rules should be decided by the member states after consultation with Commission. For other waters, decisions should be taken through regionalisation approach.


SLOVENIA: Achieving environmental sustainablity goes in line with socio-economic. MSY should be introduced on step by step process taking into account regional differences. We thus need to be flexible. The basic regulation thus defines just the basic aim of reaching MSY, while the Multiannual Management Plans would set the timeline. We need better scientific data, especially in the Mediterreanean. On sustainability: We need to strike a balance between env, social and economic pillars. We need to think about new measures in the new fisheries funds. We should help small scale fishermen to make the transition to MSY fishing.


BELGIUM: We achieve MSY until 2015. We can be gradual in reaching this if there is no sound scientific advice. Multiannual plans are the most appropriate plan to reach this objective. The Commission proposal to take most vulnerable stock as level for mixed fisheries is problematic. It is premature to draw this conclusion, it’s not the right solution. We need to give scientists the time make proposals for mixed fisheries. For the moment, we ned to work on more selective measures. It is obvious that CFP and environment legislation need to be complementary. But CFP may not play the second fiddle, and need to balance environmental and socio-economic impacts.


POLAND: We support trying to achieve MSY. But reaching this for all species until 2015 is not realistic, so this should be done where possible, taking into account also socio-economic issues. Multiannual plans are the best instrument to manage stocks at MSY. Interaction between stocks have to be taken into account. For example, Baltic cod is too large now and threatens other species. The regionalisation is important for this. It is essential to have reliable scientific data for mixed fisheries. The MSFD impacts CFP, but this needs to be done in cooperation between fishermen and scientists. We expect the Commmission to provide guidelines how to implement the environmental legislation. The COM should get involved when this does not bring any results.


FRANCE: We need to manage stocks at MSY. It has to be assessed with regard to the socio-economic impact of fisheries. We have to get there gradually to limit the soc-economic impact. We need to get to MSY 2015 where possible or else until 2020. We should work on mortality rates. The target for MSY should be in Multiannual Plan. Simultaneous MSY also in mixed fisheries is difficult because scientific advice is on a per-species basis. Until then, we cannot just focus on the most vulnerable species. With regard to environmental aspect, we cannot subordinate fisheries to environmental measures. We need a proper distribution of powers between EU and member states in environmental policies. Marine Strategy needs to be implemented by member states. We need a common EU approach to waters under NATURA 2000. We should not resort to delegated acts.


BULGARIA: We need to reach MSY, but when defining it we need to take into account regional specifics. We refer to the Black Sea, because there is no sufficient data. We don’t see how MSY defined for the Black Sea. Thus, there are regions where data is poor. MSY until 2015 or 2020 can only be reached where possible and where sound data is available. The obligation to implement MSY should not pose problems to certain countries. The EU should work on international level to reach MSY. The details of MSY should be agreed in RFMOs. The greatest challenges are indeed in mixed fisheries. We should use specific practical measures based on specifics on individual reasons instead on one-size fits all. We do support the combining of environmental and fisheries objectives and we rely on the active role of the Commission.


UNITED KINGDOM: We need to be ambitious. We need to reach MSY. We assume to talk about FMSY referring to mortality. We are commited to do this already. The details how to get there needs to be based on sound scientific advice. Multiannual plans should show how to reach the goals for each fisheries and to propose the most approprate measures. In mixed fisheries, MSY should be flexible. Mixed fisheries needs a mix of measures that should be delivered regionally. Fish management is part of a wider policy of the marine environment. The CFP should lead to good environmental status. Legal provisions should allow member states to propose measures to reach the goals. Rules should apply to all vessels in a given areas.


SPAIN: We have made efforts in last years and moved from 2 to 13 populations at MSY, and we need to continue to reach this goal in 2015 IF that is possible. But for some stocks we should target 2020. It’s difficult to put these targets in the basic regulation. It is quite difficult to reacht MSY for mixed fisheries because you don’t have the means. This fisheries is typical for the Mediterranean. We need to apply “optimal” sustainable yield. Reaching MSY needs to be a slow process. At the last time we talked about hake. There could be a range of values for MSY there. Everybody in mixed fisheries needs to be flexibel to get all populations. We could focus on fishing efforts, . On environmental issues: We should not just consider CFP and its effects on the sea but also other marine activities. If we concentrate solely on environment, there will be no man on the sea.


NETHERLANDS: The Johannisburg decisions on MSY have to be followed by the EU. The basic regulation has to give a very clear description of MSY and should be based on mortality rates until 2015. The scientists will need to develop appropriate models and stakeholders need to be involved. It’s however difficult to include mixed fisheries. We need various methods to address this. On the Marine Strategy: We need a proper coordination between the CFP and the environmental law, not just in protected areas. Fishermen from other member states should also follow these rules, not just those from your own country.


GERMANY: The principle of MSY is our guiding light, not just in the basic regulation but also in Multiannual Plans. We should not lose sight of the reality, it needs to be based on mortality. More specifically, we need to consider mortality rates of the different stocks until 2015. On mixed fisheries: This raises particular problems, but the multiannual plans give us possibilities to deal with this problem. So far, we lack appropriate scientific advice, but now these analysis are ready, but this cannot get you to MSY for every species. This means a modern quota management system and landing obligations. On the Marine Strategy Directive: The CFP has responsibilities in this regard; decisions should be taken on scientific basis. The Natura 2000 Commission catalogue of criteria provided by the could be used by the member states. We need to make sure that environmental law provisions are protected, and it has to be done through ordinary legislative procedure.


SWEDEN: On MSY: I refer to a new OECD report which establishes the value of builidng up stocks to MSY. This guarantees resources for fishermen to have good incomes. MSY is crucial for economic and social viability of. Get there until 2015?. We should get there through Multiannual Plans. On mixed fisheries: The most vulnerable species should determine the maximum fishing. Solution is more selective gear. The link between fish and environment is important to emphasise. Environmental goals have to be reached. The Commission should ensure that the legislative framework is firm and consistant.


Maria Damanaki: We have already discussed Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), I have heard your concerns. We have achieved MSY for 20 stocks. Because of that, we have given more income to fishermen in the North? Sea. Now nobody at the table talks against MSY. We have some concerns about the timelines and the schedule. Let’s focus on how to achieve this goal. Our proposal is on the table. Two important problems: 1) We don’t have concrete scientific advice for all the stocks. 2) For mixed fisheries we cannot have the most vulnerable stocks to define the limits for fishing.┬áIf you say you need two years more for MSY we can discuss this. But we need an end of the line. We can be flexible in the mid-term, but we need the end of the line. Saying “where possible” “when possible” is business as usual, but we cannot do that.

We need a package that increases income for the fishermen and their families. Referring to environmental requirements: Some of you dont want to give designated powers to the Commission. Some examples: We have designated Natura 2000 areas in the past. For example in West Ireland: This area is outside 12 mile zone, so Irish national law did not apply. But we wanted to protect the deep sea world. Now we don’t have this possibility anymore because we would need to go through co-decision. Either you give designated powers to the Commission or you will have co-legislation. You have to chose whether you want to take years or whether the Commission can take decisions in a timely manner.

4 Responses to Live blogging: EU Council on Fisheries, morning session 14 May 2012

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