The EU experience in implementation

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1 UN Workshop to discuss implementation of paragraphs 80 and 83 to 87 of resolution 61/105 and paragraphs 117 and 119 to 127 of resolution 64/72 in sustainable fisheries, addressing the impacts of bottom fishing on vulnerable marine ecosystems and the long-term sustainability of deep sea fish stocks Panel 2 The EU experience in implementation John Brincat European Commission DG MARE 15 September 2011

2 Areas covered by RFMO/A measures Conservation measures established by RFMO/As to which the EU is a contracting party have to be respected/implemented by the MS. With respect to RFMO/As which have a competence to manage bottom fishing activities, the EU is a Contracting Party to NEAFC, NAFO, SPRFMO, CCAMLR, GFCM, SEAFO and SIOFA.

3 Areas not covered by RFMO/A measures Council Regulation (EC) No 734/2008 on the protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems in the high seas from the adverse impacts of bottom fishing gears Implementation of this Regulation was reviewed in 2010 to allow for amendment of the current measures in 2012 based on information provided by the concerned MS in 2008/09

4 EU Regulation 734/08: main principles Special Fishing Permit Prior Assessment of impact of fishing activities Prohibition of use of bottom gears in unassessed areas Rules for unforeseen encounters Area closures Reporting obligations 100% observer coverage Unauthorized activities considered as serious infringements

5 Identification of VMEs/ Area Closures Para. 83 (b) (c) Article 8 Reg. 734/08 On the basis of the best scientific information available, MS shall identify areas that shall be closed to fishing with bottom gears. The identified areas shall be closed without delay and shall be notified immediately to the European Commission. The information is then made available to all MS.

6 Identification of VMEs/ Area Closures Since 2005, EU MS Spain has undertaken (by itself or with other States) scientific mapping programs in different oceans. Project Atlantis in the SW Atlantic: focused on mapping and identification of sensitive habitats and possible interactions with fisheries over an area of >59,000 km sq. Result: Since July 2011, 9 areas closed to (representing approximately 70% of the mapped area) to bottom fishing.

7 Ex ante evaluation of potential impact of the fisheries Para 83 (a) Article 4 - EU Reg. 734/08 A special fishing permit is issued: After an assessment of the potential impacts of the fishing activities has been carried out; Based on the best scientific and technical information available concerning the location of VMEs; And shall take into account differing conditions prevailing where fishing activities have not taken place or occur only occasionally.

8 Ex ante evaluation of potential impact of the fisheries: challenges Project Atlantis is providing scientific information necessary for the assessment. Bottom fishing activities only permitted in two specific areas where fishing has occurred since the 1980s Targets high/medium productivity species. IA should reflect by the amount of scientific/ technical information available. Proper implementation of paragraphs 47, particularly iv, v, vi and vii and 48 of the FAO Guidelines requires further technical support.

9 Measures to prevent significant adverse impact Para 83 (d) Article 7 EU Reg. 734/08 When a vessel encounters a VME, it shall cease fishing and only resume operations at a distance of 5 nautical miles. Encounters have to be reported without delay providing specific information.

10 Measures to prevent significant adverse impact: challenges Are current measures effective in preventing significant adverse impact to VMEs? - Encounter thresholds for VME indicator species - Move-on rule Lack of key information (patch size of corals and sponges and tow length of trawls) makes evaluation of this measure difficult (ICES advice concerning NEAFC provisions).

11 Ensure long term sustainability of deep-sea species EU context EU deep-sea fisheries take place in the NE Atlantic and account for only 1% of catches in this area. Management measures for fishing opportunities for DSFs are based on total allowable catch and maximum fishing effort (since 2003). Other measures: restriction of the use of trawls and gillnets in deeper waters and area closures. DSF access regime based on capacity restriction, data collection, effort monitoring and control.

12 Ensure long term sustainability of deep-sea species - challenges Mixed fisheries: high vulnerability of some of these stocks to fishing. Determining the sustainable level of fishing pressure is difficult. High levels of discarding associated with trawls and gillnets. In addition, damage to VMEs by bottom gears. EU Commission currently considering options for a new regime to ensure sustainable exploitation of deep-sea stocks while reducing the environmental impact and improving scientific knowledge.

13 Conclusions the future The EU is learning from its experience from the implementation of its Regulation. This will be used in the updating of the Regulation which will be done next year. Despite improvements, there are still large gaps in scientific knowledge which need to be filled and which necessitate the use of a precautionary approach. Further technical assistance is required to achieve adequate implementation of the FAO Guidelines.

14 Thank you for your attention!

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