Fisheries coalition applauds EU Commission action against Belgium and the Netherlands for their failure to enforce fisheries rules

Date: 5 November 2020

The EU Fisheries Control Coalition has applauded the European Commission’s infringement proceedings against the Netherlands and Belgium for their failure to comply with the EU Fisheries Control Regulation, especially the lack of properly registering catches, which can lead to overfishing.

The Commission determined that the Netherlands does not ensure a proper control of their landings in their ports, and that Belgium does not ensure the control of its fishing fleet, which may lead to overfishing and non-compliance with catch limits in both countries.

Reacting to the announcement, ClientEarth fisheries lawyer Nick Goetschalckx said: “The Common Fisheries Policy aims to bring fishing in the EU to sustainable levels, but this depends on those enforcing it being able to count the amount of fish caught in EU waters. The Fisheries Control Regulation has been in force for more than 10 years and Member States have been given clear rules and resources to ensure that the number of fish caught and landed is accurately recorded. But some EU countries have disregarded their legal obligations, which is why we applaud the Commission for holding them to account.”

Oceana Europe’s campaign director for Illegal Fishing and Transparency Vanya Vulperhorst added: “The list of countries where the European Commission had to take action for failure to implement the Fisheries Control Regulation – currently Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Malta and the Netherlands – is long enough. To avoid adding more names to this list, public information on Member State control efforts should and must be available. Having transparent information in the public domain would ensure that non-compliance becomes evident faster and more reliably, and would help to create a culture of compliance.”