Last Friday an “explanatory note” on the revision of the EU-fisheries control system1 was reportedly circulated by the European Commission services to a few Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), mainly within the Committee on Environment. The note sounded the alarm about the position democratically adopted in the Committee on Fisheries (PECH) which “could reward and legalise underreporting, lead to massive overfishing and allow illegal discards to continue undetected and threaten the sustainable exploitation of marine biological resources”. According to Europêche, these statements unfairly put into question the good record of compliance of EU fleets, damages the image of the sector, lacks empathy with fishers and connection with fisheries’ realities. On top of that, the note clearly interferes the independent co-legislator role of the European Parliament.
Last week, the European Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) published its annual report on the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) concerning the progress on the situation of the fish stocks and exploitation levels. The report concludes that stocks status has significantly improved although the rate of progress has slowed in the last few years. It also reflects an overall downward trend in the fishing pressure over the period 2003-2015 in the North-East Atlantic. As a consequence, the biomass has been generally increasing since 2006, and was in 2016 on average around 39% higher than in 2003. However, further efforts are still needed, particularly in the Mediterranean.