Event: How to bring the EU Fisheries Control Regulation into the digital age and deliver on the European Green Deal

Date: 2 December 2020

The European Green Deal is the European Union’s (EU) road map for making the EU economy sustainable and climate neutral by 2050. It comes in response to the outcome of the 2019 European elections and the unprecedented calls for climate and environmental action coming from all corners of society, especially from the youth. Making up the European Green Deal are two key pillars: the ‘Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system’ and the ‘EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030’, both of which stress the need to accelerate the shift to sustainable fish and seafood production throughout the EU. 

As they key legislation underpinning the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy, the revision of the EU Fisheries Control Regulation (Regulation (EC) No.1224/2009) therefore provides a critical opportunity to help the EU meet the objectives of these strategies and, by extension, the European Green Deal overall. By securing a robust fisheries control system we can provide the level of transparency and monitoring required to successfully tackle overfishing and guarantee healthy ocean ecosystems for generations to come. 

Recognising this opportunity, MEP Clara Aguilera, rapporteur of the Fisheries Control Regulation, and MEP Pierre Karleskind, chair of the Fisheries Committee, together with the EU Fisheries Control Coalition, held a virtual event on Wednesday, 18 November 2020 to discuss how the Fisheries Control Regulation can help deliver the European Green Deal and make fisheries fit for the digital age. 

Our panels brought together leading experts from public authorities (Francesca Arena, European Commission and Mario Santos, European Fisheries Control Agency), scientific research (Marije Siemensma, Marine Science & Communication), the fishing industry (Primitivo Pedrosa, Artisanal Fisher, Galicia), and from NGOs (Elisabeth Druel,ClientEarth).

How the future Control Regulation can help achieve sustainable fisheries and implement ambitions of the European Green Deal thanks to the implementation of new technologies like vessel tracking monitoring systems, electronic catch reporting and remote electronic monitoring, was explored in the first panel. The second panel tackled the question on how public information (more concretely transparency and traceability) can facilitate the transition to more sustainable fisheries.

During the 1 ½ hour event, the Coalition premiered its new short film on transparency, demonstrating the role of public information and good data in helping the EU achieve the objectives of sustainable fisheries.

To watch the webinar please click on the links below:




Quotes from speakers:

“I firmly believe in the use of VMS systems. We have been using them for very long in Andalucia and I have seen how many benefits they can bring. It is not only beneficial but also useful, as it will bring a lot of security to fishing vessels.” Clara Aguilera, Rapporteur of the Control Regulation

‘Traceability and transparency enable us to improve fair competition. Control should always enable us to fight against IUU fisheries. If we have more sustainable fisheries we will have a more resilient food system” Pierre Karleskind, Chair of the Fisheries Committee in the European Parliament

“Cameras can help to address the issue of bycatch, it is an objective and transparent method to quantify bycatch and is more effective than having observers on board.” Marije Siemensma, Marine Science & Communication

“REM is not only landing obligation-related…It is clear that having good fisheries data, good estimation of catches, good estimation of bycatch, good estimation of catch profiles – that REM will substantially contribute to – will improve the scientific basis for scientific advice, and will improve the knowledge base for fisheries management” Mario Santos, European Fisheries Control Agency

“The current EU legislation is made for industrial fisheries not for small scale fisheries. That means that we will disappear, local small-scale fishers will disappear” Primitivo Pedrosa, Artisanal Fisher, Galicia

“Traceability is indispensable to fight food fraud and illegal fishing. You need to have all the steps well controlled. That’s not the case today.” Francesca Arena, European Commission

‘The aim of transparency is to provide data to various stakeholders on the implementation of the Control Regulation. The ultimate objective of transparency is to build trust that the system is working in a fair way to everyone and also to provide the mechanism for accountability. At the moment, the Control Regulation doesn’t provide enough transparency.’ Elisabeth Druel, ClientEarth