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Fisheries: EU Council ok with measures for ICCAT convention area

Multi-year management plan for Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna also adopted

The Council of Ministers of the European Union has formally adopted a regulation transposing into EU law a series of management, conservation and control measures in the Convention Area of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) . Furthermore, the newly adopted regulation updates the multiannual management plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean.

“The fisheries sector is essential for the sustainability of our seas and oceans and also plays a fundamental role in ensuring food security and the profitability of our sector,” Hilde Crevits , Flemish Minister of Welfare, Public Health, said in a statement. and the family, responsible for fishing. “The updated rules adopted today will pave the way for the full integration into EU law of important decisions taken in international fora.”

The adopted regulation transposes into EU law a series of recommendations adopted by ICCAT in its annual meetings in recent years. These are amendments to Regulation (EU) 2017/2107 and Regulation (EU) 2023/2053.

The recently updated rules concern, among other things:

- the definitions of support vessel, fish concentrating device (Fad), floating object and operational buoy;

- in the case of tropical tuna, capacity limitations and the ban on discards by purse seine vessels (except in certain circumstances); Member States will therefore have to establish annual fishing plans and annual capacity management plans for tropical tuna by 31 January each year; furthermore, every three months, Member States will have to communicate to the Commission information on the quantities (by species) of tropical tuna caught by vessels flying their flag;

- in the case of bluefin tuna, updated provisions on the carry-over of the quantities of live bluefin tuna not taken from catches of previous years; provisions relating to quotas for recreational fishing; updated rules for the development of the annual monitoring, control and inspection plan; prohibition on automatic carry-over of unused quota;

- on authorization and data reporting, Member States will issue fishing authorizations to large catching vessels flying their flag for North and South Atlantic albacore tuna fishing; furthermore, catches of South Atlantic albacore tuna will have to be reported to ICCAT by the Member States;

- provisions on recreational fishing for Mediterranean albacore tuna provisions regarding safe handling and release procedures for sea turtles and shortfin mako sharks;

- collection and communication of data to ICCAT in the case of certain catches, to help assess the situation of the stocks

- updated rules regarding the use and operational management of fishing vessel control systems

- provisions relating to the improvement of the health and safety of ICCAT observers for transhipment at sea

Today's vote in the Council concludes the adoption procedure. The regulation will now be signed by the Council and the European Parliament. Subsequently, it will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and will enter into force 20 days later.

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