CONTROL SYSTEM APPLICABLE TO THE COMMON
FISHERIES POLICY (CFP)
Draft Council Regulation amending Regulation (EEC) No. 2847/93 establishing a control system applicable to the common fisheries policy.
||Article 37 EC; consultation; qualified majority voting
||27 April 2001|
|Forwarded to the Council:
||30 April 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||20 June 2001|
||Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 20 June 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
|To be discussed in Council:
||Following receipt of the European Parliament opinion
||Not cleared; further information requested
11.1 It has long been recognised that proper
enforcement is an essential element in the conservation aspects
of the Common Fisheries Policy, and Council Regulation (EEC) No.
2847/93 establishes a detailed control system. Among other things,
this includes provision for the suspension of directed fishing
for a particular stock by a Member State when its annual catch
quota for that species has been exhausted. However, by-catches
of such species taken during fishing for other species may continue,
so long as these are discarded and not landed.
The current proposal
11.2 The present proposal has its origins in
the Community's decision in December 2000 to establish recovery
plans for certain stocks including cod in the Irish Sea,
North Sea and West of Scotland identified as being at
serious risk of collapse. In the case of these stocks, the Commission
is anxious to prevent any fish being taken once the quotas
set have been exhausted, and it has therefore proposed that Member
States should be obliged to prevent the use and keeping on board
of gear which might lead to significant by-catches of those species
The Government's view
11.3 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 20 June
2001, the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State (Commons) at
the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr
Elliot Morley) says that, although the UK supports any measures
which help to protect stocks subject to recovery plans, such measures
must be properly targeted and not create incentives for evasion.
He points out that, in the North Sea mixed fishery, cod is taken
as a by-catch in a large number of other fisheries (notably haddock,
whiting, saithe, all flatfish species, and nephrops), and that,
under the Commission proposal, all fisheries in the North Sea
could be suspended were the cod quota to be exhausted. He says
that this would have a "severe and disproportionate"
impact, and cannot be supported in its present form by the UK.
The Minister also adds that industry leaders are being consulted,
and that, although it is not possible to quantify in detail the
financial implications of the proposal, a Supplementary Explanatory
Memorandum will be provided once their views are known.
11.4 Whilst, at first sight, there appears
to be some merit in seeking to ensure that fish from stocks subject
to recovery plans are not taken, even as by-catches, once the
relevant quotas have been exhausted, it is clear from what the
Minister has said that this proposal has potentially serious implications.
In particular, there is a trade-off between the benefits of ensuring
that the stocks in question are fully protected and the implications
which the measures proposed would have for other directed fisheries.
In view of this, we do not feel able, on the evidence available
to us so far, to take a firm view on the proposal. We are therefore
deferring judgement on it until we have received the Supplementary
Explanatory Memorandum promised, which we hope will endeavour
to quantify as far as possible the financial implications.