The special report by the European Court of Auditors on the effectiveness of the EU fisheries control system has been welcomed by the European Commission.
According to the Commission, this report clearly shows that the EU Fishery Control Regulation, which entered into force in 2010, triggered major transformations in the Member States and led to notable improvements.
‘The report largely confirms the outcomes of the Commission’s own evaluation of the control regulation, which concluded that implementation by Member States is still to be fully achieved in certain fields, and identified shortcomings in a number of areas,’ the Commission states.
‘This is especially the case as regards sanctions applicable to Common Fishery Policy infringements, which should be made more effective. Some provisions related to small scale fisheries also leave loopholes in the legislation, preventing a full monitoring of fishing activities and rigorous monitoring of fishing quotas uptake, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea.’
The Commission has made it clear that it will continue to support the Member States in the implementation process. Action plans for Member States allowed for a collaborative approach in building the structural capacity necessary to implement the new control system.
‘Commission has rigorously followed up any case of non-compliance with all appropriate enforcement means at its disposal, and will continue to do so.’
The European Commission’s position is that achieving a high and harmonised level of control is not an end in itself, but a means to accomplishing the overall objective of the CFP, that is ensuring that fishing and aquaculture are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable and that they provide a source of healthy food for EU citizens.
‘The ultimate goal of the CFP is to foster a dynamic and sustainable fishing industry and ensure a fair standard of living for fishing communities, and this will continue to be a top priority for the Commission. This report is an excellent opportunity for the EU to strengthen the control legal framework,’ a European Commission spokesman said.