Defend the elaboration of an ambitious CFP with sufficient financial means and efficient tools deployed close to the field (regionalisation).
Recital 9 states that the common fisheries policy (CFP) "is aimed at an exploitation of living marine biological resources that restores and maintains fish stocks at levels which can produce the maximum sustainable yield not later than 2015". However, the CFP basic regulation states that MSY should be achieved by 2015 if possible. This paragraph should remind readers of that nuance. In both the CoR opinion and the report of the Parliament's PECH Committee this was therefore amended to “where possible by 2015”.
With respect to recital 38, the CoR points out that the introduction of transferable fishing concessions (TFC) systems must be optional and left to the discretion of Member States. The PECH Ctte also recognises this, as the recital is deleted from the EP text.
Recital 39, regarding overcapacity as a driver of overfishing, mentions that the removal of overcapacity through public aid such as temporary or permanent cessation and scrapping schemes has proven ineffective. It states that the EMFF will therefore support the establishment and management of TFC systems. The CoR condemns this conclusion, stating that the removal of overcapacity through public aid such as temporary or permanent cessation and scrapping schemes should be continued under strict controls. Moreover, it states that the EMFF should, only where appropriate, support the establishment and management of TFC systems. The PECH Ctte deletes the whole recital. This points to agreement with the CoR on the point that aid for decommissioning of fishing vessels should not be ruled out.
The CoR, adding a paragraph to recital 41 (concerning the regionalized approach to environmental conservation measures), states that implementation of the CFP must not disregard the protection of aquatic ecosystems. This paragraph is intended to strengthen the role of river and lake eco-corridors for migratory fish. The EP follows the same line.
Recital 62 proposes the gradual phasing-out of compensation for storage aid and aid for production and marketing plans. The CoR opinion describes that this phasing-out is irrelevant, as under Art. 15 of the basic CFP regulation vessels will have to gradually land all their catches, including discards. It seems a good idea to provide for storage aid so as to enable the organisations to manage the quantities landed before placing a value on them. The PECH Ctte seems to agree with this view as it also deletes the passage concerned.
Under Article 3, regarding definitions, both the CoR and the PECH Ctte add a definition for shellfish catcher/grower.
Article 13, regarding operations which are not eligible for support under the EMFF, also includes temporary cessation of fishing activities. Both the CoR and the EP have deleted this, indicating that temporary cessation of fishing activities should be eligible for support in order to compensate for stoppages forced on vessels because of pollution or in connection with a biological recovery period decided for certain species. The CoR opinion explains that without funding, the vessels concerned will probably transfer their activity and target other species of fish and affect their stocks.
Article 32 indicates operations which the EMFF may support. The CoR adds to this list “the access of young fishermen to the profession by the award of individual allowances". The EP, on a similar note, adds that EMFF may grant individual start–up support to young fishermen (under certain conditions), and even proposes traineeship programmes on board small scale coastal fleet. This is in line with the CoR key message of the importance of increasing the attractiveness of the fishing profession. Another similarity of opinions in this article is demonstrated by the fact that both the CoR and the PECH Ctte foresee EMFF support for final cessation of fishing activities.
Regarding article 33, the CoR is of the opinion that public aid for the temporary cessation of fishing activities should be possible, for a maximum duration depending on the issues (for the most dependent actors). Moreover, it proposes that seasonal stoppages of fishing activities shall not be taken into account when granting allowances or payments under this Regulation.
The EP follows this line of thought, stating that the duration of the measures shall be determined on the basis of the best available scientific research concerning the status of stocks. Moreover, it also states that the recurrent seasonal suspension of fishing periods shall not be taken into account when granting compensation or making payments under this Article.
Both the CoR and the PECH Ctte are of the opinion that EMFF support for conservation measures (article 35) should also include preparation of the measures as subjects of support, not just implementation. The CoR opinion points out, in this respect, that the development phase should also be supported.
Article 38 deals with the protection and restoration of marine biodiversity and ecosystems in the framework of sustainable fishing activities. Both the CoR and the EP stress the importance of involving one or more advisory councils in the implementation of supported operations in this area.
In Article 39 mention is made of the ineligibility of replacement or modernisation of main or ancillary engines for support under the EMFF. Both the CoR and the EP delete this in their texts. So, regarding mitigation of climate change, or energy efficiency, both the CoR and the EP believe support should be allowed to be given to the replacement of modernization of main or ancillary engines. The CoR describes the EC exclusion of engine renewal from EMFF aid as surprising, and even paradoxical, as engines are in fact the main article of equipment on which efforts could be focused to reduce pollutant emissions or fuel consumption.
When it comes to inland fishing (article 42), the CoR wants to enable EMFF support for works opening up major corridors linking rivers, lakes and sea, along with works in rivers that make it possible to open up migratory routes for fish. The EP adds, related to this, EMFF support for “the management, restoration and monitoring of NATURA 2000 sites where these areas directly concern fishing activities as well as the rehabilitation of inland waters, including spawning grounds and migration routes for migratory species and where relevant including the participation of inland fishermen”.
Regarding the fostering of forms of aquaculture with high growth potential, both the CoR and the EP want to broaden the scope from investments in the particular case of off-shore non-food aquaculture to also include aquaculture that is not off-shore.
Both the CoR and the EP delete Article 48, which envisages limiting the frequency of use of support for advisory services to once per programming period. In the opinion of the CoR, for more sustainable aquaculture, limiting advice to once every seven years is unreasonable.
Moreover, with respect to Article 69, both the CoR and the EP indicate that the EMFF not just may, but shall, support the preparation and implementation of production and marketing plans. Thus they give more explicit support for the operational programme as a tool for better resource management.
The EP also takes a similar, although slightly different approach to Article 71, regarding the EMFF support for the marketing of unwanted catches. The CoR wants this to be deleted, because landing catches is not a real solution to the problem of discards. The only alternative is more selective fishing gear. The EP only supports the marketing of unwanted catches landed from commercial stocks in conformity with technical measures. Moreover, both the CoR and the EP on several occasions point to the importance of increasing selectivity of fishing gear.
Regarding Article 73, the EC text states that “The EMFF may support the compensation regime introduced by Council Regulation (EC) No 791/2007 for the additional costs incurred by the operators in the fishing, farming and marketing of certain fishery and aquaculture products from the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, French Guiana, and Réunion”. Both the CoR and the EP change 'may' to 'shall' and note that Regulation (EC) No. 791/2007 was repealed at the end of 2013. Also, the geographical indications are replaced with “outermost regions” by both the CoR and the EP, as these regions are all in similar situations.
In Article 85, regarding scientific advice and knowledge, both the CoR and the EP add aquaculture experts as participants in meetings on fisheries scientific and technical issues and expert working groups as well as international advisory bodies.
On a final note, in Article 88, both the CoR and the EP change “The EMFF may support operating costs of the Advisory Councils” to “The EMFF shall support the necessary operating costs of the Advisory Councils", in order to ensure that they carry out their tasks fully and effectively. The CoR explains that specific regulations must be defined on a fishing area scale, requiring greater involvement of advisory councils in decision-making.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- approves the setting-up of the new fund, the EMFF, to implement the CFP and considers that it is important to maintain the budget necessary to keep pace with the changes imposed by the CFP;
- welcomes the simplification introduced by the regrouping within the new EMFF of most of the financial instruments of the CFP and the Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP), which had previously been distributed among several funds;
- asks that the EMFF's objectives be focused on fishing and not, as has been stated on several occasions, on giving priority to its replacement by other activities and considers it important to increase the attractiveness of the fishing profession;
- is concerned about the cuts in the budget for data collection at a time when additional resources are needed. Having data available that is complete and processed for management purposes should be a precondition for the PCP and a budget priority for the EMFF;
- condemns the abolition of any fleet adjustment measures, at a time when compliance with the new objectives of the CFP, particularly the progressive achievement of MSY, will require decommissioning or temporary stoppages;
- considers that the introduction of the gradual reduction of discards will require the adaptation and modernisation of fishing vessels and appropriate investments in ports;
- is amazed at the lack of funding for the preparation of the multi-year plans provided for;
- asks that significant aid be given to technological innovation and investments which increase the selectivity of fishing gear;
- considers that the phasing-out of storage aid is irrelevant.