Image: Xunta de Galicia / FIS
Galicia Calls for Activation of Flexibility, Simplification and Exemptions in Fishing Control Regulation
Monday, February 12, 2024, 01:00 (GMT + 9)
The General Directorate of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Technological Innovation presented to the General Secretariat of Fisheries (SGP) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food a proposal for a series of requests in order to implement certain flexibilities, exemptions and simplification measures in the development of the European regulation for the control of fishing that is included within the community regulations itself and that would be beneficial for the sector in Galicia and, in a special way, for its artisanal fleet.
Thus, from the Consellería do Mar they transfer to the SGP a total of 23 proposals, among which are the exemption of certain categories of fishing vessels from the duty to complete and present a prior notification and a transshipment declaration; the exemption for certain stocks from the obligation to separately stow demersal stocks subject to multi-annual plans; rules on weighing procedures and special rules relating to small pelagic species; rules on monitoring observers; or the rules on inspections of the competent authorities of the Member States and of operators.
Source: Xunta de Galicia
Regarding the mandatory location, it is requested to exempt certain artisanal vessels until December 31, 2029 so that they have sufficient time to prepare for the use of new adapted tools, including those less than 9 meters or those that never exceed 24 hours at sea. Knots below 12 meters in length, which can carry a device that does not have to be installed on board, must have an alternative system to be developed either on a national scale or for the entire EU.
Regarding the automatic identification system (AIS), which ships over 15 meters in length must have in operation at all times, the need to establish exceptions in certain circumstances is noted, for example, so that it can be disconnected if the captain considers it necessary for the safety of his ship.
It is also demanded that fishing effort not be imputed to a boat that could not fish because the other vessel that needed urgent help was providing assistance or because it was transporting an injured person who needed medical attention.
Exemptions are also being demanded from the obligation to stow separately the different stocks of demersal fish after the introduction and proliferation of multi-annual plans make it difficult in certain circumstances to do so due to the limitation of storage space on board and even for the safety of the crew members.
The general direction headed by Antonio Basanta also calls for simplifying the rules that lead to the requirement to notify catches to all fishing vessels.
In the case of vessels less than 12 meters in length, the SGP is asked to establish a system of electronic fishing logs that accommodate their special condition of artisanal fishing, which can be presented in the simplest and most agile way possible. Regarding prior notification of landing of catches, applicable to vessels of 12 meters or more - and not only fishing vessels subject to multi-annual plans - measures are requested to facilitate a shorter prior notification period.
They demand a single date for the presentation to the European Commission of the aggregate data on catches and fishing effort, and on the provisions relating to the closure of a fishery by Brussels when the quota is exhausted or the maximum admissible fishing effort is achieved, they also request the simplification in order to allow its timely publication.
Regarding fishing without a vessel, of strategic relevance for Galicia for everything that has to do with activities related to shellfish harvesting, the Xunta confirms that it already complies with what is established by the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and what is provided by control, which is why it requests that these measures be applied in other Member States: from licenses and permits to operate to the registration of catches by electronic means. Sales notes, collection declarations or transport documents must include the unique identification number or numbers of the fishing day to reinforce control and traceability.
In terms of recreational fishing, the regulation requires that Member States must guarantee that natural persons who carry out this activity register themselves and can notify their catches through an electronic system, which Galicia claims is on a national scale and that operates in a simplified.
The SGP is also required to harmonize the thresholds to minimize the introduction into the purchase of fishing products that do not have traceability and, therefore, cannot be controlled and could contribute to illegal trade. For example, those sold directly from producers to consumers in small quantities, which exceed 10 kilos per day and are for private consumption, would not require a sales note. This exemption must be developed in the domestic law of Spain.
Regarding the weighing of samples, on board or after transport, the Xunta informs the SGP that they should be allowed if the appropriate conditions established in the sampling plans, control plans and common control programs by the Commission are met. as established by the regulations.
Galicia is also urged to simplify the transmission of transport documents to the Member States so that it is carried out before it occurs and thus allow the competent authorities to carry out control and inspections.
On the issue of sanctions for failing to comply with the PPC, the Xunta demands, in order to guarantee effective deterrence, to determine the conduct that constitutes serious infractions, preparing an exhaustive list of the criteria that must be used to determine and stagger it. Galicia demands that the SGP analyze the circumstances and formulate informed and proportionate measures to respect them.
Source: Xunta de Galicia (Translated from the original in Galician)