Imported and EU fisheries products should be treated equally

EU Fisheries 2018

In the North Sea, aboard Scottish trawler “Madalia”: hauling net which has black panel with square mesh allowing undersized fish to escape. © European Communities , 1992 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service.

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

All imported fisheries products should meet the high standards imposed by EU law, MEPs stress in a non-binding resolution adopted on Wednesday.

The EU Commission needs to ensure that fisheries and aquaculture products from non-EU countries comply with EU conservation, management standards and hygiene requirements by implementing control measures more efficiently, say MEPs in a non-legislative resolution adopted by 590 votes to 52 with 41 abstentions.

They also call on the EU Commission and the member states to intensify their efforts to ensure that existing EU legislation is more consistently implemented and applied at all stages of the supply chain.

Furthermore, MEPs urges the Commission to examine the possibility of creating a label to identify the EUs fishery products.

Equal competition

Extending control measures to imported fisheries products would promote fairer competition and avoid a discriminatory market that could adversely affect EU fisheries, say MEPs.

They suggest increasing and improving checks on fisheries and aquaculture products, to ensure that all products marketed in Europe comply with the same conservation and management measures.

Non-EU countries

This equal treatment would also help non-EU countries to meet high standards so that marine resources can be exploited sustainably, by respecting the requirements and conditions that apply to EU production, says the text.

It also calls on the EU Commission to ensure close coordination between the Union’s trade and fisheries policies, including during the negotiation of trade agreements with non-EU countries involving fisheries matters.

Quote 

The rapporteur Linnéa Engström (Greens/EFA, SV) said: “We are highly dependent on imported fishery products and this has an impact on trade policy within the EU. There’s no point in competing on low prices for EU catches; it would be bad for fishermen in the EU. Instead, we must apply the same high standards required under EU law to imported fish. Since there are many species overfished or fished right to the limit in non-EU countries, we also demand action against illegal fisheries, to ensure that only sustainable fishery products come in to the EU.”

Background

The EU is the world’s largest market for fisheries and aquaculture, absorbing 24% of total global imports in 2016. EU member states depend on imports for over 60% of their total consumption.

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