EU tightens the net on illegal fishing with restructuring of fisheries control rules

Published on
July 11, 2023
The European Commission.

On 27 June, five years after the European Commission’s initial proposal to modernize the European Union fisheries control system, a preliminary agreement on new regulation received approval from the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee.

The 20-8 vote advances a planned overhaul of E.U. fisheries control rules with the goal of strengthening measures to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, with compulsory measures introduced on electronic tracking and traceability that aim to boost supply chain transparency, which have been long-sought goals of marine-focused environmental NGOs.

The regulation requires location tracking devices to be installed on all vessels under E.U. jurisdiction by 2030. Until that time, fishers must record catches via electronic logbooks, regardless of the size of the catching vessel. E.U. boats of 18 meters or more that may pose a high risk of noncompliance with landing obligations must also establish onboard remote electronic monitoring (REM) systems, including closed-circuit television (CCTV). Implementation of these systems must be done four years after the rules enter into force. Fishing vessels under 12 meters will be required to report their catch at the end of each fishing day.

The new regulations should make it possible to trace seafood caught by E.U.-flagged vessels through the supply chain, according to Oceana Europe Senior Policy Officer Ignacio Fresco

“The adoption of new European fisheries control rules is...

Photo courtesy of Symbiot/Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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