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Civil society organisations comment on access conditions for EU fleets fishing outside FPAs

August 28, 2013

Within the context of CFP reform, EU NGOs insisted on the need for the EU to ensure that all its external fleets including those fishing outside FPAs and regional fisheries management organisations respect similar sustainability conditions. This concern was taken into account in the reformed CFP basic regulation (article 41).

NGOs consider that this element of the new basic regulation can be implemented through the ECs proposed revision of the Fishing Authorisations Regulation (FAR). Prior to the publication of its FAR review proposal, the EC has organised a consultation to which eight civil society organisations all active in the EU Long Distance Regional Advisory Committee sent joint preliminary comments.

They insisted that the FAR should ensure that key sustainability rules agreed in the reformed CFP are implemented for all EU-flagged vessels fishing outside of EU waters. The organisations then make comments and proposals to address, in the FAR review process, specific issues such as: abusive reflagging; the lack of transparency in private arrangements; the need to ensure that social legislation is properly applied; the need to ensure coherence and compliance with Control Regulation, IUU Regulation and Regulation on countries allowing unsustainable fishing.

Their proposals include the following:

  • Member states shall not submit to the European Commission requests for a fishing authorisation for fishing vessels flying their flag that during the previous 24 months were not flagged in the EU.
  • EU fishing operators wishing to apply for authorisation to fish outside EU waters should provide the relevant member state with accurate information of the fishing activity to be carried out and the period; information on fishing authorisations should be included in an EC information system that will be updated in real time; such data should be made publicly available. More generally, all data related to the activities of Community vessels fishing outside EU waters should be up to date and accessible to interested parties.
  • Member states shall not submit to the European Commission requests for a fishing authorisation for fishing vessels that have been involved in cases of non-respect of national, EU or international social legislation.
  • When submitting a request to the member state, fishing enterprises should be able to demonstrate that working conditions applied on-board their vessels are in line with the applicable standards and, wherever these exist, applicable collective labour agreements.