Wednesday, 22 March 2017

More efficient and reliable data in fisheries-EP adopts new regulation

The new rules for data collection in fisheries which will result to more efficient and reliable data was adopted by plenary on Thursday. The new rules will result to better and more comparable data helping making better decisions in fisheries based on scientifically proven evidence. The revised regulation was informally agreed by the Parliament and the Council in December 2016.

“We are happy we have obtained a good text that will help us improve fisheries policies. You can't make good decisions without reliable data, and thanks to this data collection framework we will have these data. It has been a lot of hard work so far, but it is not over yet, as we must now apply the new regulation in all member states. Along with the upcoming rules on technical measures, the data collection framework represents the basis for fairer and more sustainable fisheries policies”, said the rapporteur Marco Affronte (Greens/EFA, IT). EP approved the new rules with 535 votes to 38 with 48 abstentions.

Multiannual Union programme

The European Commission will establish a multiannual Union programme for the collection and management of data, taking into account, inter alia, the need for relevant and reliable data, costs and benefits and the need to avoid duplication of data collection. The multiannual programme will include:

  • thresholds below which it will not be mandatory for a member state to collect data or carry out research surveys

  • biological data on all stocks caught or by-caught in Union commercial, and recreational fisheries in Union and outside Union waters
  • data to assess the impact of Union fisheries on the marine ecosystem in Union waters and outside Union waters
  • data on the activity of Union fishing vessels in Union waters and outside Union waters
  • socio-economic data and sustainability data on marine aquaculture to enable the assessment of the socio-economic performance and the sustainability of the Union aquaculture sector, including its environmental impact
  • socio-economic data on the fish processing sector to enable the assessment of the socio-economic performance of that sector

National work plans

Member states will prepare detailed work plans, in close cooperation with other member states. These work plans will include data to be collected in accordance with the Union programme, the spatial distribution and the frequency by which the data will be collected and the format and timing when data will be made available to end-users.

Regional coordination groups

 In order to facilitate regional coordination (regionalisation is one of the core objectives of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy), EU countries will establish “Regional Coordination Groups” for each marine region. These Groups will consist of experts nominated by member states, national correspondents -designated by member states to serve as the focal point for exchange of information between the Commission and the member state- and representatives from the Commission.

The Groups will develop regional databases and may also prepare draft regional work plans to be submitted to the Commission for evaluation. These regional plans will replace or supplement the relevant parts of the national work plans of each member state concerned.

Next steps

The new regulation will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Background information

Data are needed to evaluate the state of fish stocks, the profitability of the different segments of the sector and the effects of fisheries and aquaculture on the ecosystem. Data are also needed to evaluate EU policies.

For this reason, an EU framework for the collection and management of fisheries data was established in 2000, and then reformed in 2008 resulting in the Data Collection Framework (DCF).