EU gets tougher on illegal fishing

Getting away with fishing illegally will become much more difficult for fishermen, as the EU’s new system for fisheries control is now fully operational, fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki said on Tuesday.

“If we can’t enforce our own rules, this undermines the credibility of the whole common fisheries policy, no matter how sound it may be. We now have a comprehensive system of control and enforcement and I expect compliance with EU fishing rules to improve from now on,” Maria Damanaki said  in a press release.

The new rules detail on how to carry out controls throughout the market chain “from net to plate”, ensuring traceability and allowing Member states’ authorities to spot wrongdoings at any point and trace them back to the culprit.

According to the Commission, inspections will be done in the same way all over Europe, with data being collected and cross-checked electronically. If someone breaks the law, they will face equally severe sanctions wherever they are and whatever their nationality, the Commission writes in their press release.

With the adoption of detailed rules to apply the EU Fisheries Control Regulation, the reform of the EU’s control and enforcement policy is now complete. The new system is made up of three pillars: the Control regulation; the IUU Regulation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (which applies to both EU and third-country vessels); and the Regulation on Fisheries Authorisations (which deals with the control of EU vessels fishing outside EU waters and of third country vessels fishing in EU waters), the Commission writes in a Q&A.

Read more:
Press release from the Commission with links to background documents
Watch the press conference

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