By Pilar Caride, SeafoodSourcecontributing editor, reporting from Vigo, Spain
Published on 25 October, 2013
The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) voted in its new budget this month for 2014, and set supporting the implementation of the new common fisheries policy (CFP) as one of its key tasks for the year.
The EFCA held a meeting of its administrative board on 15 October, voting to adopt a budget of EUR 9.2 million (USD 12.4 million) for 2014, which is similar to the 2013 budget. In announcing the new budget, the EFCA also stated its commitment to the CFP.
The CFP has come under fire in recent years for being outdated, and not doing enough to address environmental concerns such as overfishing and illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. A recent revision of the CFP addresses many of these issues, but has not been put into practice yet.
According to the EFCA their main tasks for next year will be focused on supporting the member states and the European Commission (EC) in the implementation of the new features of the CFP.
At 15 October meeting, the agency also adopted its Multiannual Work Program for 2014-2018 and its Annual Work Program.
Pascal Savouret, EFCA's executive director, said that the two main tasks were working in various joint deployment plans to help regionalize the area. He said the EFCA will also be supporting member states and the European Commission in eliminating discards and making sure fishermen land all their catches, key provisions of the new CFP. Related to this, Savouret said that "we are going to work together and we will carry out a number of proposals and ideas with the member states of the E.C."
In addition, the EFCA will continue with other efforts, including developing an inspection manual for the E.U. The aim is creating a reference document for all inspectors of the E.U. so that "all operators will be inspected in the same way," said Savouret. It is expected that this document will be finished in 2015.
The EFCA will also work to develop and finalize IT projects. These will ensure the sound functioning of data monitoring, networks, and other projects on evaluation of compliance trends in fisheries and the analysis of cost-effectiveness of control operations.
Savouret saw the budget as a challenge. "In the current situation, we are committed to do more with less. Indeed, I believe EFCA is very well placed to continue organizing coordination and cooperation between national control and inspection bodies and contributing to building the capacity of the commission and member states so that the reformed CFP rules are respected and applied effectively in a uniform manner," he said.