Brussels tightens controls on EU fishing fleet

Published on
February 13, 2017

Updates to the EU’s fleet register is to be made available in real time following the adoption of a new regulation by the European Commission (EC).

The regulation makes it easier for EU member states to update the fleet register, while giving the Commission the necessary tools to crosscheck the data that member states submit.

All fishing vessels flying the flag of a EU member state must be registered. The EU Fleet Register database is managed by the EC and is a compilation of information on the EU fleets.

The Commission said the register is a necessary tool to manage the balance between fishing capacity and opportunities in line with the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), as well as being a useful instrument for fleet monitoring and control.

The information provided will include the name of the vessel and the vessel owner, its length and tonnage, and the gear it uses.

Under the new regulation, when member states introduce a change – entry or exit of a vessel, change of data – in their national fishing fleet register, they must also submit it to the Commission on the same day. In addition the Commission may, at any time, request a “snapshot” overview of changes from any member state. This replaces the previous system, whereby member states had to transmit such overviews four times a year.

If the content of a snapshot is unreadable, incomplete, inaccurate or unreliable, the Commission will reject it and notify the member state in question. The member state then has three working days to make the necessary changes in the national register.

The new regulation enters into force on 1 February 2018, and applies to all commercial fishing vessels, except aquaculture vessels and bluefin tuna traps.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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