This morning, the European Parliament adopted its position on a new set of rules meant to revise the Union Fisheries Control System. In general terms, the Parliament position improves the proposal from the European Commission modernising control and enforcement measures without penalising or creating excessive bureaucracy to fishers. Particularly positive were the changes introducing more flexibility on the margin of tolerance for weight estimates done by fishers on board and the exemption of engine power monitoring devices for fisheries subject to catch limits. However, there is a huge elephant in the room, the mandatory installation of cameras to control a failed EU policy, the landing obligation. In this context, Europêche hopes that governments address this “big brother” issue within the Council in the following months.
The European Commission proposed yesterday a new set of rules meant to revise the Union Fisheries Control System. Europêche, the representative body for fishermen and fishing vessel owners in the EU, agrees on the need to modernise and simplify the control and enforcement measures adopted back in 2009 as well as to ensure full compliance with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). However, the European Commission (EC) pursues these objectives at the expense of the sector which will have to face extraordinary bureaucratic and economic burdens.
After tracking the satellite messages transmitting the position of 70.000 fishing vessels for the past 4 years, a group of researches  claim that commercial fishing covers over 55% of the ocean's surface. As a result, their study states that the area fished is four times bigger than the area occupied by agriculture in terms of square kilometres. Europêche argues that the study does not provide any new insight since fishing vessel monitoring systems have been widely implemented and enforced across the oceans for decades showing the exact location of our vessels to the competent authorities. In addition, the report is based on scientifically unsound data, overestimates the proportion of the seabed where fishing occurs and has little use for fisheries management.