The EU’s Council voted in favour of the revised EU fisheries control system. The revision updates around 70% of the existing rules for controlling fishing vessels with the aim of making EU fishing more sustainable. The main changes include:
· A digital system (known as “CATCH” - Integrated computerised information management system for the Catch Certification Scheme) will be introduced in the context of the catch certification scheme for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The aim is to ensure that catch certificates and other related documents will be managed in a single, EU-wide digital environment, thus improving the ability of authorities to detect products stemming from IUU fishing.
· Non-EU countries will be able to produce and validate catch certificates directly in the CATCH digital environment. For fishery products imported into the EU, importers will also need to submit catch certificates via CATCH.
· Revision of the sanctioning system: minimum levels of administrative financial penalties will be set for serious infringements of the CFP rules, as an alternative to criminal sanctions; a list of common criteria for some of the listed serious infringements will be agreed at EU level
· Improved traceability along the supply chain: it will be easier to trace fresh fishery and aquaculture products (including processed products following a Commission study and a five-year transition phase)
Now that the regulation has been formally adopted by the Council, it must be published in the Official Journal whereupon it will enter into force after 20 days. However, several measures will be gradually implemented, giving member states and fishing fleets enough time to adapt.
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