In 2007, the European Court of Auditors published an audit on the control, inspection and sanction systems relating to the rules on conservation of Community fisheries resources. The audit was severe, underlying that:
Catch data was neither complete nor reliable, and the level of catches was thus unknown;
The inspection systems did not provide assurance that infringements were effectively prevented and detected;
The procedures for dealing with reported infringements did not support the assertion that every infringement was followed up and still less that infringements were attracting penalties;
Overcapacity was detracting from the profitability of the fishing industry and, in a context of decreasing authorised catches, was an incitement to non-compliance with these restrictions.
The Court concluded that "if the situation continues, it will bring grave consequences not only for the natural resources, but also for the future of the fishing industry and the areas associated with it".
In our view, it is premature to revise this regulation at this point. One reason for this is that efforts to fully implement its requirements are still ongoing at the Commission, Member State and fishing sector levels. This has required substantial investment, and the impacts and efficiency of these relatively new systems are not yet known.
Instead, we argue that the focus of the upcoming years should be on implementation, to ensure that the Control Regulation does deliver results effectively. In this respect, implementation at the national level is crucially important, especially as the control of fisheries is a shared competence between the EU and its Member States. Before the adoption of the Control Regulation, the Commission already pointed out that "the success of the CFP depends for a large part on the commitment of Member States and their efforts to effectively control and enforce CFP rules". Almost ten years after, this statement remains highly relevant.
|Published||March 1, 2016|
|Found in||Fisheries EnforcementOceans|