Written QeA to EU Commission – EU observatory on traceability on preserved tuna imports?

Question for written answer to the Commission

José Blanco López (S&D) – 9 February 2015

Subject:  Need for a Community observatory on traceability to monitor preserved tuna imports to the EU

According to various studies carried out by Interatún and other laboratories with links to the Spanish tuna canning sector, which is responsible for 67% of EU production and 20.140 direct jobs, 85% of the imported preserved tuna that is marketed in the EU does not comply with the obligatory rules for retail sales.

It should be pointed out that, of the 733.000 tonnes of preserved tuna consumed in Europe last year, over half, specifically 383.000 tonnes, came from third countries. According to the sector’s estimations, Spain, which produces 235.000 tonnes, could produce 146.600 tonnes more and create another 8.435 direct jobs if imports that fail to comply with the hygiene-sanitary standards required from Member States were banned from the EU market.

The tuna canning sector therefore proposes that a Community observatory on traceability should be set up, which it estimates could reduce our dependence on preserved tuna imports by 20% in the EU.

Are there any plans in this regard?

What measures of control are currently applied and with what results?

Are any new measures of control planned?

Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis on behalf of the Commission – 5 May 2015

Under European Union legislation on fisheries control and on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU)(1), marine fisheries and aquaculture products imported into the Union for human consumption must comply with Union’s traceability standards. In so doing, it is also possible to ensure the legality of the catches. These products must be accompanied by a catch certificate validated by the vessel flag State certifying that such catches have been made in accordance with applicable conservation and management measures. The level of verification carried out by the Member States has improved significantly and has seen more than 200 refusals of importation, since 2010.

Insofar as the health area is concerned, all products of animal origin imported into the Union are subject to compulsory veterinary checks in border inspection posts (BIPs) to ensure that they comply with the relevant import conditions. Imports must meet sanitary requirements which are at least equivalent to those provided for in Union legislation(2). Inspectors carry out documentary, identity and physical checks, including the verification of the labelling and the traceability of the products to verify this. In 2014, 15.441 consignments of preserved tuna in cans were checked in Union BIPs, of which 54 were rejected. This indicates that more than 99% of all imported consignments were compliant with Union health legislation.

Given these satisfactory results, both in the fields of IUU or health legislation, it is not planned to organise a Union observatory on traceability for imported preserved tuna.

Import controls will be maintained at the same level of vigilance and any increase in the occurrence of rejections will result in appropriate measures laid down in Union legislation.


(1) Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20.11.2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, OJ L 343/1, 22.12.2009 — Cf. in particular Article 58 and Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 of 29.9.2008 establishing a Community system to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, OJ L 286/1, 29.10.2008.
(2) Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28.1.2002 laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety, OJ L 31, 1.2.2002 — Cf. in particular Article 11.

(Source: EU Parliament)

Written QeA to EU Commission – IUU Regulation (combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing)

Question for written answer to the Commission – Nicola Caputo (S&D) – 4th December 2014

During the confirmation hearings for the Juncker Commission, the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said that his priority will be to protect the natural capital on which sustainable growth depends and safeguard the health and well-being of citizens. He also said that he wanted to consult very soon with the European Parliament and the Council on updating the IUU Regulation.

Furthermore, it is a known fact that illegal fishing is a threat to the sustainable use of resources and compromises the common fisheries policy and international efforts to improve the management of ocean resources and seas.

In light of the above, can the Commission, as a whole and without prejudice to the competences of the Member States, explain how it proposes to:

1. more effectively combat this highly profitable practice, restricting access to the market to certified products only?
2. guarantee greater surveillance and more effective sanctions for violations?
3. increase awareness of the practice among consumers and users?

Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission – 3rd February 2015

The EU has put in place a comprehensive system of rules dealing with the control of fishing activities, the combat of illegal fishing and the elimination of the access of IUU fish to the EU market as set out in the Control(1) and IUU Regulations(2).

With respect to the combat of the IUU activities the Commission is working on the following areas:

Establishing a global and integrated common approach to fisheries control ‘from the net to the plate’,
Enhancing mutual cooperation between all Member States, third countries, the Commission and the European Fishery Control Agency,
Developing a culture of compliance for all stakeholders and disseminating useful information to raise awareness,
Ensuring a level-playing field across the EU in terms of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the EU IUU rules,
Applying effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for serious infringements against these rules,
Guiding Member States on issues concerning the application of the EU catch certification system,
Promoting robust and targeted controls at EU ports through an active use of the mutual assistance system, exchange of information and best practices between the Commission and Member States,
Cooperating with third countries in addressing IUU problems and achieving structural changes in their fisheries management systems to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.

The Commission intends to continue and reinforce its work in those areas in the coming years.

(1) Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 of 20.11.2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the common fisheries policy, OJ L343/1, 22.12.2009.
(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, OJ L 286/1, 29.10.2008.

(Source: European Parliament)