QeA to EU Commission – Minimum dimensions for clams and protection of the fishing industry

Question for written answer to the Commission
Matteo Salvini (NI) , Mara Bizzotto (NI) , Mario Borghezio (NI) , Gianluca Buonanno (NI) , Lorenzo Fontana (NI)

Subject: minimum dimensions for clams and protection of the fishing industry

Under the terms of Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006, the fishing and sale of marine organisms smaller than the sizes specified in said regulation and its appendices are prohibited.

In particular, the abovementioned regulation prohibits the fishing, transportation and sale of clams which measure less than 2.5 cm.

This restriction could well cause serious damage to the European clam fishing industry and also exposes it to the risk of sanctions in the event of non-compliance.

In this context, can the Commission answer the following questions:

1. On what criteria was the decision to set a minimum size of 2.5 cm for fishable clams based?
2. What steps has the Commission taken or does it intend to take to protect European fisherman, since they will inevitably be less competitive than their counterparts in third countries, who are not subject to the same restrictions and who can export their products, amongst others, to the European market?

Answer given by Mr Vella on behalf of the Commission – 30th March 2015

The minimum conservation size of 2.5 cm for the different species of Venus and carpet clams was originally introduced by Council Regulation (EC) No 1626/94 and subsequently, upon a specific request by the European Parliament, maintained in the new Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 on consideration that the industry had not only adjusted very well to their regulation but were calling for its reintroduction in the Commission proposal.

The STECF also provided advice on selectivity improvements of the fishing practice to match with the minimum conservation size.

Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 also applies to marketing of fishery products caught in the Mediterranean and the Member States can prevent importation and trading of undersized specimens from Mediterranean third countries provided the following conditions apply:

the fishery product has been caught in Mediterranean waters
the measures for imported products are no more disadvantageous than for internal trading
there is no discrimination amongst products coming from different third countries.

(Source: EU Parliament website)

Written Q&A to EU Commission – Honey labelling and GMOs

Question for written answer E-002666/13
to the Commission
Jim Higgins (PPE)
(7 March 2013)

Subject: Labelling of honey

The practical effect of the classification of pollen as a constituent of honey in the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2001/110/EC relating to honey will be that the presence of authorised genetically modified (GM) pollen in honey will not require labelling unless it exceeds 0.9% of the overall honey weight.
How does the Commission plan to protect the rights of consumers to transparent labelling?
How can consumers make an informed decision when the presence of GM pollen is not marked on the label of honey products?

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission
(22 April 2013)

The objective of the proposal by the Commission is not to prevent consumers from being informed of the presence of unauthorised GM pollen in honey, but to clarify that pollen is a constituent of honey, in line with international standards. This amendment will restore honey as a natural product made by bees and only composed of constituents.
In this context, the GMO legislation (1) adopted by the European Parliament and the Council sets out a labelling threshold of 0.9% under which presence of authorised GMOs in foodstuff does not have to be labelled when this presence is adventitious or technically unavoidable. The Commission considers that this labelling threshold applies equally to honey as to any other foodstuff and that there are no objective reasons to make a special treatment for honey.
The Commission considers that the development of ‘GM free’ labelling schemes by private operators or public authorities can permit consumers to select products avoiding any GM presence if they so wish. The Commission has launched a study to gain a better understanding of the scopes and specifications of these labels in the EU and to assess the need for a possible harmonisation of this field. The results of the study will be published in 2013.

⋅1∙ Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003 on GM food and feed, OJ L 268, 18.10.2003.