The European Union, Norway and the Faroe Islands reached a coastal states agreement for the monitoring, control and surveillance (MSC) of shared pelagic stocks fisheries in the North-East Atlantic; mackerel, horse mackerel, blue whiting and herring.
This is the first dedicated agreement on fisheries control and a major step in progressively achieving a level playing field on control and management of these pelagic stocks.
European Fishmeal and Fish Oil Producers (EFFOP – formerly EUfishmeal) has welcomed the agreement and the new measures.
‘If the control systems are manipulated or control regulations violated it seriously undermines the sustainable management of the common resources. The agreement should be respected and countries must have mutual confidence in management and use of quotas,’ an EFFOP representative commented.
The European Commission states that the agreement is open for the signature of other coastal and fishing states.
‘Greenland, Iceland and the Russian Federation were, regrettably, not in a position to commit to the agreement. However, these coastal states can and are encouraged to join it fully in the future,’ a Commission spokesman said.
The three signatories commit to adopt a number of control measures for these fisheries in order to avoid discards and to monitor landing and weighing operations. To ensure compliance with the landing obligation, several measures to prevent illegal discards will be mandatory.
Measures such as providing control authorities with real-time access to weighing data and camera surveillance of landing and processing facilities will ensure better control and monitoring of catches.
The signatories also agreed, for the first time, a number of measures aimed at ensuring accurate weighing and catch recording. In addition, an ambitious plan to test Remote Electronic Monitoring systems on board fishing vessel, such as cameras and sensors, will be implemented.
The agreement calls for a regular review of the achievements, so that the measures could be enhanced in the future.