EU - In its efforts to ensure that fisheries rules are respected across the EU, the European Commission has adopted an action plan to help upgrade the Portuguese fisheries control system to European standards.
This plan was prepared in partnership with the Portuguese authorities to ensure that Portugal complies fully with the requirements of the EU's 2009 Fisheries Control Regulation and the new Common Fisheries Policy to achieve sustainable fishing.
The Portuguese action plan focuses largely on the catch registration system, in order to ensure that essential data to monitor catches are complete, reliable and timely. To that end, the development of IT tools to collect, share and analyse data is essential. Catch data are reported by fishermen so control authorities can monitor their fishing quotas and thus prevent overfishing.
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said: "I have an obligation to make sure that commonly agreed rules are enforced on the ground: this is a prerequisite for sustainability. We have worked hand in hand with the Portuguese authorities on this action plan. The Commission can also assist in financing this upgrading of the Portuguese fisheries control system through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF)."
Several of the measures within the action plan aim to reinforce the chain of control, and in particular the flow of catch data between mainland Portugal's fisheries authorities and those of the Portuguese offshore archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira. Also included are measures which focus on Portugal's inspection activities, to support a more robust control system.
Action plan for effective controls
Effective control of European fisheries is not only essential for the sustainability of European fisheries, but also for the coastal communities, the wider economy and the marine ecosystem. It also ensures a level playing field for fishermen across Europe, so all fishermen play by the same rules.
Control action plans are designed to address systemic organisational issues, while other enforcement means are used to deal with more isolated issues. The Commission is working with Member States individually to determine what steps need to be taken to reach those standards. Action plans have already been adopted and put in place with Spain, Malta, Italy, France and Latvia, whilst others are in the pipeline for Bulgaria and Romania.
TheFishSite News Desk