Fisheries control 

The objectives of the Common Fishery Policy (CFP) are to ensure that fishing is environmentally sustainable in the long-term and are managed in a way that is consistent to achieving economic, social and employment benefits. One of the ways to do this is to avoid and prevent overfishing. 
Full and proper implementation is key to ensure the success of the objectives foreseen by the European Union. As such, the European Commission proposed the Fisheries Control Regulation, which entered in effect in 2009 to ensure compliance with the rules of the CFP, through an effective control and enforcement system. Such a system is also key to achieve fully documented fisheries. 

Legal background 

The Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy defined recreational fisheries as “non-commercial fishing activities exploiting marine living aquatic resources for recreation, tourism or sport” (art. 4.28). 
It recognises notably that recreational fisheries can have a significant impact on fish resources. As such, it calls on Member States to collect catch data for stocks under a recovery plan. It even includes the possibility for the Council to decide on specific management measures for recreational fisheries, upon advice of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (art. 55). 

Revision of the Control Regulation (2018 - ongoing) 

After conducting an evaluation of the control system in 2017 (results of the public consultation are available here, and report to the European Parliament and the Council here), the Commission concluded that the Control Regulation is essential to guarantee proper enforcement of the CFP and to achieve its objectives, but that some provisions were too complex and not fit for purpose. It also found that some provisions were already obsolete and that some lacked flexibility. 
The Commission noted a lack of control provisions relating to recreational fisheries, considered necessary by citizens and stakeholders.
As such, the Commission proposed in 2018 a revision of the control system, proposing a number of changes to step up enforcement. On recreational fisheries specifically, it proposed, amongst others:
  • A registration or licensing system to allow for the monitoring of the number of persons involved in recreational fisheries;
  • The collection of reliable data on catches;
  • The marking of fishing gears; and
  • The registration of recreational vessels.
The revision also clarifies the wording about the ban on sales of catches by recreational fishers. 
For more information on EAA and EFTTA position on the recreational fisheries provisions, read more here

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