Pescadores europeos han señalado que el Consejo de Ministros de la UE no va a resolver los problemas que va a congar la obligación de desembarque.Según la NFFO, el problema de las especies de estrangulamiento va a ser el que mayores consecuencias va a contar, al tiempo que sigue en conflicto con otras regulaciones de la PPC que son incompatibles con los requisitos de la obligación de desembarque.”A pesar de los fallos de diseño, porque esta medida está a la vanguardia de la reforma de la PPC en 2023, la implementación total de la obligación de aterrizaje” presenta serios desafíos, siendo necesario la flexibilidad en su exigencia ” según portavoz de la NFFO afirma.
A few hours into the December Council of Minister which will set TACs and quotas for 2019, the NFFO is warning that problems associated with the Landing Obligation are unlikely to be solved by the assembled ministers.
‘Despite a four-year phase-in, it seems highly unlikely that the Council of Ministers, which begins today, 17th December, will resolve all the outstanding problems associated with the implementation of the landing obligation,’ an NFFO spokesman said, commenting that although some progress can be expected in the coming three days there is a widespread recognition that the policy is deeply flawed.
‘Recognition has built over the phase-in that the landing obligation, adopted as part of the 2013 reform of the CFP, is a deeply flawed piece of legislation. It is also clear that there are there are no easy solutions at hand.’
According to the NFFO, the problem of choke species has the most far-reaching consequences, while also remaining in conflict with other CFP regulations that either contradict or are inconsistent with the requirements of the landing obligation.
‘Despite its design flaws, because the landing obligation is welded into the basic CFP Regulation, there is little prospect that it could be revisited before the next CFP reform in 2023. The realisation that the full implementation of the landing obligation ‘presents serious challenges’ is now widely shared amongst fisheries administrators, enforcement authorities, and throughout the fishing industry and throughout the supply chain,’ the NFFO spokesman states.
‘All those concerned with the practical implementation of the policy confront the difficult reality that there is no magic wand and that we are about to enter a period of painful and complex adjustment which carries serious risks to fishing businesses, crews and established fishing patterns. Also under threat, are the scientific models which inform stock assessments. These require accurate data and depend on looking backwards to predict forward. This knowledge provides the basis for the sustainable management of our fish stock and anything that undermines its reliability, undermines our ability to manage our fisheries effectively.’
Senior figures in fisheries management have described the choke problem as ‘intractable,’ the landing obligation as ‘unenforceable,’ and full compliance with the landing obligation as indivisible from choke risks. The risks are now clearly recognised but solutions are only partially in place.
Constructive discussions have been held involving government, fishing organisations, processors and retailers. These talks have provided a common understanding of the issues.
‘There is a commitment and sense of joint responsibility to work towards a workable version of the landing obligation. The NFFO and others have recently given evidence to a House of Lords enquiry into the issues associated with the implementation of the landing obligation. The Committee’s report is likely to bring the issues into stark relief, and hopefully will point to ways in which discards policies have been successfully implemented in other countries.
‘The magnitude of change represented by the landing obligation would require a period of adjustment, even if the legislators had delivered a coherent and consistent set of rules and prepared the ground properly. The fact that they didn’t, particularly in the failure to provide adequate tools to deal with chokes in mixed fisheries, ensures that the period of adjustment will be more turbulent than would otherwise have been the case’ the NFFO’s spokesman said.
‘A great deal is at stake. Unless we move carefully, livelihoods and the progress that we have made in putting our fisheries on a sustainable footing over the last two decades are now jeopardised.’
The NFFO has called on ministers to begin contingency planning, pointing out that chokes will be difficult to predict with accuracy but tying vessels or fleets to the wall when they have significant quotas left is not a politically, ethically, or socially acceptable option.
‘It will also be important to guard against unintended consequences, such as disruptive displacement effects, as individual vessels, or fleets, seek to avoid the consequences of chokes. All this requires contingency planning, with a strong dialogue between the fishing industry, fisheries administrators, control authorities and key players in the supply chain.
‘The full implementation of the landing obligation takes place against the background of the UK’s departure from the EU. If a way is found through the current political turmoil to a withdrawal agreement, the EU landing obligation would be part of the CFP rules that would continue to apply during any transition period,’ the NFFO said.
‘In those circumstances, the UK’s ideas for mitigating choke risks (outlined in the Fisheries White Paper and legislated for in the Fisheries Bill) would have to wait on the sideline.
In the case of a no-deal scenario, the UK would become an independent coastal state from 29th March and immediately have more flexibility to vary its approach, although within the context of a legal obligation to co-operate in the management of shared stocks, and against the background of an abrupt rupture with the EU, which would carry its own consequences.
‘Having recognised and acknowledged the profound problems generated by the landing obligation, the immediate priority has to be to prepare to intervene to address the consequences of this flawed legislation as they arise.’