The EU Commission must ensure that fisheries and aquaculture products from non-EU countries comply with EU conservation, management standards and hygiene requirements. MEPs voted overwhelmingly with 590 votes to 52 with 41 abstentions for control measures to be applied more efficiently, with imported products subject to the same standards as EU produce.
‘We are highly dependent on imported fishery products and this has an impact on trade policy within the EU,’ said rapporteur Linnéa Engström (Greens/EFA, SV).
‘There’s no point in competing on low prices for EU catches; it would be bad for fishermen in the EU. Instead, we must apply the same high standards required under EU law to imported fish. Since there are many species overfished or fished right to the limit in non-EU countries, we also demand action against illegal fisheries, to ensure that only sustainable fishery products come in to the EU.’
MEPs also expect the EU Commission and Member States to intensify their efforts to ensure that existing EU legislation is more consistently implemented and applied at all stages of the supply chain, as well as urging the Commission to examine the possibility of creating a label to identify EU fishery products.
Extending control measures to imported fisheries products would promote fairer competition and avoid a discriminatory market that could adversely affect EU fisheries, say MEPs. They suggest increasing and improving checks on fisheries and aquaculture products, to ensure that all products marketed in Europe comply with the same conservation and management measures.
According to MEPs, this equal treatment would also help non-EU countries to meet high standards so that marine resources can be exploited sustainably, by respecting the requirements and conditions that apply to EU production.
They also call on the EU Commission to ensure close co-ordination between the Union’s trade and fisheries policies, including during the negotiation of trade agreements with non-EU countries involving fisheries matters.
The EU is the world’s largest market for fisheries and aquaculture, absorbing 24% of total global imports in 2016. EU member states depend on imports for over 60% of their total consumption.