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EU Fisheries Ministers further agree on Fishing Authorisations and Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem Protection

The EU Council of Ministers responsible for fisheries, under the chairmanship of Slovenian Agriculture Minister Iztok Jarc, today adopted two further Regulations on fisheries, the first on authorisations for fishing activities and the second on the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems.

“I am highly satisfied that, on top of the Regulation on preventing illegal fishing, we also today adopted a Regulation unifying the rules for obtaining authorisations for the fishing activities of Community fishing vessels outside Community waters and the access of non-EU vessels to European waters. This is one action to simply procedures and reduce the administrative burden,” emphasised Mr Jarc.

The new Regulation supersedes the existing rules on authorisations for fishing activities and introduces a general EU system for authorisations for all fishing activities of EU vessels outside European waters. It takes account of international obligations and special circumstances for fishing activities outside Community waters. The Regulation redefines the rules on the access of non-EU vessels to European waters. It provides for continuation of fishing activities during the period between the expiry of the protocol of a particular fishing agreement and the adoption by the EU Council of a decision on its replacement with a new one or its provisional application. The Regulation also sets out the rules for the redistribution of fisheries opportunities not previously exploited.

“Moreover, today we reached political agreement on a Regulation that will protect vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas not covered by regional fishery management organisations. The Regulation will regulate the fishing activities of EU vessels in restricted areas of the high seas,” explained the Slovenian Minister, underlining, “The adoption of this Regulation is very important: it transposes the provisions of the Resolution on sustainable fisheries of the General Assembly of the United Nations of December 2006 into EU legislation.”

For fishing activities in the areas covered by this regulation, fishing vessels will need special fishing permits for fishing with bottom fishing gear. The purpose of the Regulation is the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems, therefore it determines that fishing will be permitted only in the areas where there exists scientific proof that fishing does not cause damage. Fishing with bottom fishing gear will not be permitted in areas for which scientific data are not available. This provision will be reviewed after a year.

It was additionally agreed that observers will have to be placed on all vessels to monitor fishing activities and ensure that damage will not be caused to vulnerable ecosystems. After a year, there will be a review to ascertain the real need for an observer presence on all vessels.


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Date: 27.06.2008