EU withdraws weighing derogation as a consequence to pelagic fisheries audit
The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) confirms that it will hold meetings with the demersal and pelagic fishing industry over the coming weeks to set out the changes required to the weighing of fishery products. This follows confirmation by the European Commission¹ that it is revoking the derogation for the fishing industry to weigh fishery products following transport away from the place of landing with immediate effect. It deemed that the risk of industry’s non-compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy could not be minimised.
The European Commission’s decision arises from their audit in Ireland in 2018 aimed at monitoring the implementation of Ireland’s controls for Pelagic fisheries. The findings of that audit identified irregularities, including the manipulation of weighing systems in some instances, that were subsequently confirmed by the administrative inquiry conducted by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.
Dr Susan Steele, Chair of the SFPA, commented: “We will be contacting producer organisations and industry representatives as well as holding local meetings to ensure that the industry is familiar with the changes that are required.”
“The accurate weighing of catches remains the responsibility of industry. The EU’s decision, however, will involve changes to weighing practices. We will be working to ensure that industry can introduce these efficiently and in a way that assures compliance with EU regulations.
“This decision is a clear marker of tougher fisheries controls across the EU. The SFPA takes its commitments under the Common Fisheries Policy very seriously. We have been working with the Commission and EU control partners including EFCA, and with the support of government, to improve Ireland’s compliance assessment capabilities. This has included a significant expansion of the SFPA’s detection and inspection resources in recent years, as well as changes to fisheries controls to ensure Ireland has a strong regulatory system,” Dr Steele added.
¹ Details of the EU Commissions decision may be found here Commission Implementing Decision_Revoke 61 Weighing after transport