41st Report of Session 2010-12 - European Scrutiny Committee Contents


1 Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy


(a)

(33023)

12519/11

COM(11) 417

(b)
(33027)

12514/11

+ ADDs 1-3

COM(11) 425


Commission Communication — Reform of the Common Fisheries Policy


Draft Regulation on the Common Fisheries Policy

Legal base(a) —

(b) Article 43(2) TFEU: co-decision; QMV

Documents originated13 July 2011
Deposited in Parliament18 July 2011
DepartmentEnvironment, Food & Rural Affairs
Basis of considerationEM of 16 August 2011
Previous Committee ReportNone, but see footnotes
To be discussed in CouncilDecision expected by mid 2013
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionFor debate in European Committee A

Background

1.1 The conservation aspects of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) came into operation in 1983, and have sought to maintain stock levels by setting annual total allowable catches (TACs) apportioned between Member States according to a fixed key. These have been accompanied by so-called technical conservation provisions (dealing with such issues as mesh sizes, and minimum landing sizes), as well as by structural measures seeking to bring the catching capacity of the fleet into line with the fishing opportunities available to it. However, despite various changes made over the years, including the reforms introduced in 2002, there has been general agreement that the Policy has not achieved its objectives, and that, as a result, many of the Community's fish stocks are in a parlous state. The Commission believed that, in order to bring about the dramatic change needed to reverse the situation, a whole-scale and fundamental reform was required, rather than the piecemeal incremental reforms made earlier, and it therefore put forward in April 2009 a Green Paper[1] to stimulate a public debate on the future of the CFP, its ultimate aim being to put forward a new basic regulation in the context of the new Financial Framework after 2013.

1.1 In the light of the responses to that Green Paper (which were summarised in a subsequent Communication),[2] the Commission has now produced a number of documents relating to the reform of the CFP. These comprise a general Communication and draft Regulation (documents (a) and (b)), together with two further Communications — one reporting on the operation of current measures for the conservation of fisheries resources,[3] and the other dealing with the external dimension of the CFP[4] — and a separate draft Regulation[5] on the common organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products.

The current documents

DOCUMENT (A)

1.2 The Commission notes that the failings identified in its Green Paper included over-fishing of stocks; the fragile economic state of part of the fleet, despite high levels of subsidy; and the precarious situation of many coastal communities which are dependent on fisheries. At the same time, it says that the CFP has enormous potential to bring about sustainable fisheries which respect the ecosystem, whilst providing high quality, healthy products for European consumers, thriving coastal communities, and profitable producing and processing sectors. It adds that sustainability is at the heart of its proposed reform, and in particular that fishing should be at levels which do not endanger the reproduction of stocks and which provide high long-term yields, thereby freeing the catching sector from dependence on public support, and making it easier to achieve stable prices and to reduce fleet capacity.

1.3 The Commission then identifies the following elements in its proposed reform.

Sustainable fishing

1.4 The Commission says that, in accordance with the objective set at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, fish stocks should by 2015 be exploited at maximum sustainable yields; that the discarding of fish should be eliminated, and industry obliged to land catches of regulated species; that increased reliance should be placed on multi-annual and multi-stock management plans (with the latter replacing the current single stock approach); that management must be based on sound scientific advice, incorporating an ecosystem and precautionary approach; that science-industry partnerships to improve the quality and availability of data should be encouraged; and that Member States should be obliged to provide reliable data relating to both the formulation of policy and its subsequent implementation and enforcement through an integrated European information system.

Industry and jobs

1.5 The Commission says that, in order to achieve a strong and profitable industry, a system of transferable fishing concessions within individual Member States should be phased in (except for vessels of less than 12 metres which use fixed gears), adding that experience suggests this would reduce fishing capacity and increase economic viability at no cost to the taxpayer, and lead to a 20% increase in incomes by 2022. It also considers that such a system would improve the performance of the processing industry, and offer a social solution for those wishing to leave the industry, who would be able to sell their rights to others. More generally, the Commission suggests that bringing the catching sector back to profitably would help to make fishing vessels safer and better working places, and so improve job attractiveness and decent working conditions, which it says are particularly important for many small-scale coastal fleets; and it notes the encouragement given to Member States to ratify a relevant convention adopted in 2007 by the International Labour Organisation.

1.6 The Communication also addresses the need to promote the sustainable development of aquaculture, which it says is essential to meet the growing global demand for fish and seafood. It notes the variable nature of aquaculture in the EU, as well as its role in underpinning sustainable economic growth in rural and coastal communities and its contribution to environmental preservation and protection. It also says that, since choices at national level may have an impact beyond national borders, Member States should be required to prepare national strategic plans, based on a set of EU guidelines, in order to encourage economic activity and improve competitiveness, to support sustainable development and innovation, and to stimulate diversification.

Thriving coastal communities

1.7 The Commission says that it is committed to working actively to promote growth and jobs in coastal fisheries and aquaculture-dependent communities, and that this calls for specific measures, supporting green, smart and inclusive growth, sand contributing to sustainable, low-impact fishing and aquaculture, innovation, income diversification, re-conversion, improvement of science and a culture of compliance.

Satisfying informed consumers

1.8 The Commission believes that the marketing of products must do more to take into account the interests of consumers and reinforce confidence in those products. It says that this will involve enhancing the publication of information on product and production characteristics, including where necessary voluntary labelling. It says that producer organisations will be equipped to plan their production more successfully with annual plans which reconcile sustainable fishing activities with adjusting supply more accurately to demand, in terms of both quantity and quality. It also suggested that improved market intelligence will enhance understanding of the markets and consumer demand.

Better governance through regionalisation

1.9 The Commission says that a centralised top-down approach makes it difficult to adapt the CFP for different areas, and that Member States and the industry itself will need to take more responsibility for the management of fisheries resources and its relationship with other activities. It therefore considers that EU fisheries legislation adopted centrally should focus on objectives, targets, minimum common standards and results, and the timetables for delivery, but with Member States having the flexibility to decide on other management measures under the supervision of the Commission. It suggests that Member States could, for example, adopt the desired mix of technical conservation and anti-discard measures, which would then be implemented in their national legislation, and that regionalisation should extend as far as self-management by the fishing industry, increasing fishermen's involvement in policies and thus contributing to better compliance. It says that it intends to boost the role of producer organisations, and to provide them with additional opportunities for sustainable resource exploitation, with effective organisations becoming active players in managing their members' fishing activities and stabilising markets.

1.10 The Commission says that it proposes to maintain and extend the role of Advisory Councils in advising on regional conservation policy, and that those activities could be extended to other areas of marine management which affect fishing. It also believes that the specific nature of the aquaculture sector requires a focussed body for consultation on policies which might affect the sector, and it therefore proposes to set up a new Advisory Council for Aquaculture. In addition, it says that, for issues not covered by the Advisory Councils, it wants to ensure the broadest possible involvement of all interested parties in a cost-effective manner, and that it intends to develop a flexible, streamlined mechanism to deliver this. Finally, it stresses that the success of the proposed reform depends greatly on compliance by operators and effective enforcement by public authorities. It sees the proposal building on the new Control and IUU Regulations,[6] and it also notes the concept of conditionality, where the availability of finance for either Member States or individual operators is linked to compliance with CFP rules.

Smarter financing

1.11 The Commission suggests that future EU financial support should be strictly geared to achieving the objectives of the reformed CFP, and that future public funding for the sector needs to be reformed and simplified (and also fully aligned with the Europe 2020 objectives). It says that it intends to modernise the intervention regime under the Common Market Organisation, since the present system no longer reflects the changing balance of supply and demand, with it no longer being justifiable to spend public money to destroy fish.

Projecting the CFP principles internationally

1.12 The Commission observes that the EU's external actions must be consistent with the principles and objectives of the CFP, and it notes that it has addressed these issues in a separate Communication. It says that the EU will play a stronger role in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, and in multilateral bodies, so as to strengthen them; that it will also promote enhanced dialogue with key partners; and step up actions to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated activities and reduce fleet capacity. In particular, it envisages Sustainable Fisheries Agreements with non-EU countries being reoriented so as to ensure that EU vessels only fish resources which the partner country cannot, or does not wish, to fish itself, with there also being a greater focus on science, monitoring, control and surveillance, together with a clause relating to the respect of human rights.

DOCUMENT (B)

1.13 Although this draft Regulation would repeal much of existing legislation in this area, it goes on to re-enact many of its provisions, whilst giving legal effect to the changes proposed in the Commission's Communication, notably as regards the discarding of unwanted fish, transferable fishing concessions, and aquaculture.

1.14 The proposal begins by setting a number of general objectives relating to long-term sustainability, the use of the precautionary approach to achieve exploitation at the maximum sustainable yield by 2015, and to implement an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management, and then identifies certain specific more objectives, including eliminating unwanted catches of commercial stocks and ensuring that all such catches are landed; providing conditions for efficient fishing activities within an economically viable and competitive industry; promoting the development of EU aquaculture; contributing to a fair standard of living for those who depend upon fishing; taking into account the interests of consumers; and ensuring systematic and harmonised collection and management of data.

1.15 These objectives are accompanied by a statement of the principles of good governance, based upon:

  • clear definition of responsibilities at EU, national, regional and local levels;
  • establishment of measures in accordance with best available scientific advice, and a long-term perspective;
  • broad involvement of stakeholders at all stages;
  • the primary responsibility of the flag state; and
  • consistency with the integrated maritime policy and other EU policies.

The remainder of the proposal deals in turn with access to waters; conservation measures; access to resources; management of fishing capacity; the science base; external policy aquaculture; the common market organisation; control and enforcement; financial instruments; and Advisory Councils.

ACCESS TO WATERS

1.16 The proposal confirms the principle that EU fishing vessels have equal access to waters and resources in all Union waters, other than those up to 12 nautical miles from baselines, where Member States may continue until 31 December 2022 to restrict fishing to those vessels which traditionally fish those waters from adjacent ports. However, vessels from other Member States may also continue to fish in those waters under existing neighbourhood agreements, which specify the geographical areas and species concerned.[7]

CONSERVATION MEASURES

1.17 The proposal would enable the adoption of multi-annual management plans; the establishment of targets for sustainable exploitation; measures to adapt the number and type of vessels to available fishing opportunities; the provision of economic or other incentives to more selective or low impact fishing; the fixing of fishing opportunities; the adoption of technical measures; the adoption of measures to oblige the landing of all catches; and the conducting of pilot projects on alternative fishing management techniques. It also defines technical measures as including mesh sizes and the use fishing gear; restrictions on the construction of fishing gear (including those which improve selectivity or reduce the incidental capture of endangered, threatened and protected species); the prohibition of certain gears in certain areas or seasons; the prohibition or restriction of fishing activities in certain zones and/or periods; and measures to reduce the impact of fishing on marine ecosystems and non-target species, or to protect marine biodiversity.

EU measures

1.18 The proposal provides for multi-annual conservation plans to achieve stock levels above those producing the maximum sustainable yield to be established as a priority, and for the fixing of fishing opportunities and measures to prevent transgressions: and it requires such plans to be based on the precautionary approach, and, where possible, to cover either single stock fisheries or those exploiting a mixture of stocks, according to interactions between the stocks. It requires a multi-annual plan to specify its scope (in terms of the stock or fishery involved); its objectives, including quantifiable targets, such as mortality rates, spawning stock biomass and the stability of catches; a clear timetable; technical measures (including those to eliminate unwanted catches); quantifiable indicators for the monitoring and assessment of progress; and the minimisation of the impact of fishing on the ecosystem. These plans must also comply with EU environmental legislation, with the Commission being given the power to take measures where there is a serious threat to marine biological resources or to marine ecosystems.

1.19 The proposal goes on to:

  • specify the need for technical measures to improve the selection of fish sizes (and, where appropriate) species, to reduce catches of under-sized fish, to reduce catches of unwanted marine organisms; and to mitigate the impact of fishing gear on the ecosystem and environment;
  • require all catches of stocks subject to catch limits to be brought and retained on board, and recorded and landed, with this requirement, in the case of species of principal interest to the UK, coming into force by 1 January 2014 for mackerel and herring, by 1 January 2015 for cod, hake and sole, and by 1 January 2016 for other species (including haddock, whiting, megrim, anglerfish, plaice and saithe): at the same time, it also provides for the establishment of marketing standards for catches in excess of fixed opportunities to be established, and for Member States to ensure that their vessels can provide full documentation of all fishing and processing activities;
  • specify that the fishing opportunities allocated to Member States must ensure relative stability for each stock or fishery, and allow opportunities for by-catches to be reserved under the total opportunities.

Regionalisation

1.20 The proposal would authorise Member States to adopt under a multi-annual plan conservation measures applicable to their vessels, provided these are compatible with the scope and objectives of that plan. Such measures would have to be notified to the Commission, other Member States and the relevant Advisory Councils, and their compatibility and effectiveness are subject to assessment by the Commission, which may also adopt default measures if those taken by Member States are found to be inadequate. Similarly, Member States may apply technical measures to their vessels, provided these are compatible with the wider EU objectives, and are no less stringent than those laid down in EU legislation.

National measures

1.21 The proposal would enable a Member State to adopt measures in EU waters to conserve fish stocks which are applicable to its own vessels, again provided these are compatible with the wider EU objectives, and are no less stringent than those laid down in EU legislation. In addition, and so long as the EU has not adopted measures specifically for that area, they may take non-discriminatory measures within 12 miles of their baseline, but, where these could affect vessels of another Member State, the Commission, the Member State concerned and the relevant Advisory Council must first be consulted.

ACCESS TO RESOURCES

1.22 The proposal requires each Member State to establish by 2013 a system of transferable fishing concessions for all its fishing vessels with a length of 12 metres or more, and for those under 12 metres fishing with towed gear,[8] and to allocate individual fishing opportunities to the holders of such concessions: and, in doing so, they may set fees, and provide incentives for vessels using gear which eliminates unwanted by-catches. A transferable fishing concession also establishes an entitlement to use an allocated individual fishing opportunity, but, although such concessions may be pooled for collective management, they may only be allocated by a Member State to an owner of a vessel flying that Member State's flag, and on the basis of transparent and objective criteria: however, a Member state may allow the transfer of concessions to and from other Member States. Finally, Member States must establish and maintain a register of transferable fishing concessions and individual fishing opportunities.

MANAGEMENT OF FISHING CAPACITY

1.23 The proposal requires Member States to put in place measures to adjust the fishing capacity of their fleets in order to achieve an effective balance between that capacity and fishing opportunities: where a vessel leaves the fleet having received public aid, its fishing licence and authorisations must first be withdrawn, and the fishing capacity in question must not be replaced. The proposal also establishes fishing capacity ceilings for each Member State, which may not be exceeded at any time from 1 January 2013, though Member States may request the Commission to exclude those vessels subject to a transferable fishing concession. Finally, Member States must record information on their vessels needed to manage the measures relating to capacity and make this available to the Commission, which in turn is required to use this information to set up a Union fishing fleet register, the contents of which must be made available to all Member States.

SCIENCE BASE FOR FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

1.24 The proposal obliges Member States to collect, manage and make available the data necessary for ecosystem based fisheries management, including that which enables an assessment of the state of marine biological resources, the level of fishing and its impact on those resources, and the socio-economic performance of the fisheries. They must also ensure that these data are accurate and reliable, avoid duplication with that collected from other sources, are stored safely, and are made available to the Commission: and they must also carry out this activity in the framework of a multi-annual programme as of 2014, and coordinate it with the activities of other Member States.

EXTERNAL POLICY

1.25 The proposal provides for the EU to participate in the activities of international fisheries organisations, to base its position there on the best available scientific advice, and to actively contribute to the development of scientific knowledge. In addition, it would have a duty to cooperate with other parties in order to strengthen compliance with measures adopted by the organisation.

1.26 The proposal also lays down provisions relating to Sustainable Fisheries Agreements with third countries, requiring these to establish a legal, economic and environmental governance framework for fishing activities carried out by EU vessels in the waters of those countries. In particular, it specifies that EU vessels may only catch the surplus of the allowable catch determined by the third country on the basis of the best available scientific advice. Finally, the proposal would require the EU to provide financial assistance under such Agreements in order to support part of the cost of the access provided to fisheries resources, and to help develop the necessary scientific, monitoring, control and surveillance capacity.

AQUACULTURE

1.27 The proposal requires the Commission to establish by 2013 non-binding EU strategic guidelines on common priorities and targets for the development of aquaculture, with the aim of improving the industry's competitiveness and supporting its development and innovation, encouraging economic activity, diversifying and improving the quality of life in coastal and rural areas, and securing a level playing field for aquaculture operators in relation to access to waters and space. In addition, an Advisory Council on Aquaculture would have to be established. Member States would be required to establish by 2014 a multiannual national strategic plan by the development of aquaculture, including objectives and measures to achieve them: in particular, such a plan would have to achieve administrative simplification, certainty for operators, indicators for environmental, economic and social sustainability, and an assessment of any possible cross-border effect.

COMMON MARKET ORGANISATION

1.28 The proposal would require the establishment of a common market organisation in fishery and aquaculture products to enable the industry to apply the CFP at the appropriate level, strengthen the industry's competitiveness, improve market transparency, and ensure a level playing field for all products marketed by promoting the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources. In particular, such an organisation would have to include market stabilisation measures, and common marketing standards.

CONTROL AND ENFORCEMENT

1.29 The proposal would require compliance with the rules of the CFP to be achieved through an effective EU control system, including the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and for the system to be based on a global and integrated approach, the use of modern control technologies for the availability and quality of data, a risk based approach to the systematic and automated checking of all relevant data, the development of a culture of compliance among operators, and the establishment of effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions. It would permit the Commission and Member States to carry out pilot projects on new technologies and systems, and enable Member States to require holders of a licence for fishing vessels over 12 metres in length to contribute proportionately to the costs of implementing an EU control system.

FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

1.30 The proposal would allow EU financial assistance to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the CFP, subject to a Member State complying with the relevant rules. Similarly, assistance to operators would be conditional on such compliance, with serious infringements resulting in temporary or permanent bans of access to such assistance and/or the application of financial reductions, so long as the nature, extent and duration of these are proportionate.

ADVISORY COUNCILS

1.31 The proposal would establish for various geographical areas or groups of species Advisory Councils composed of representative fisheries organisations, and they may submit recommendations to the Commission or Member States concerned, inform them of problems within their area of competence, and contribute to the collection, supply and analysis if necessary data. They may also apply for EU financial assistance.

The Government's view

1.32 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 16 August 2011, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Mr Richard Benyon) comments that much of the proposal relates to an area of long-standing exclusive EU competence, to which the principle of subsidiarity does not apply. However, he notes that the Commission wants to use the new CFP to develop and expand aquaculture production, with an obligation on Member States to produce a multi-annual national plan, and the creation an Advisory Council on Aquaculture. He says that the UK has some concern that this will be used to intervene in Member State management and provide inappropriate subsidies in developing areas, and that the Government is sceptical that increased regulation or intervention under the CFP in this area can add value, bearing in mind its record on wild fisheries. Consequently, the UK remains to be convinced that the EU should extend its competence in this area.

1.33 More generally, he says that the UK is committed to genuine, fundamental reform, to achieving healthy fish stocks, a prosperous fishing industry and a healthy marine environment, and that the proposals are welcome as a good starting point to undertake radical reform, the need now being to work with the Commission, other Member States, the European Parliament, NGOs and others with an interest in fisheries and the marine environment to improve them. In this regard, he identifies the following key areas:

  • Landing obligation on certain stocks to end discards. The Minister says that the wasteful practice of discarding fish must be brought to an end, and that the Government welcomes the ambition of the Commission's approach. However, it would prefer discretion on the most appropriate way to reduce discards rather than a blanket ban, so as to ensure solutions are practical and enforceable on a fishery by fishery basis and supported by improvements in gear selectivity. He adds that ultimately the CFP as a whole must provide the incentives and regulatory framework to drive the necessary changes in fishing activity and behaviour, and points out that the UK has already begun implementing bans through its innovative catch quota schemes.
  • Freedom for Member States to implement national measures. The Minister says that the UK is seeking genuine decentralisation and simplification of decision making, and is concerned that the proposal does not detail how Member States and stakeholders should work together to develop coherent regional plans. It is also concerned that the proposals will involve furthers powers being transferred to the Commission through a wide use of delegated acts which will effectively re-centralise decision making.
  • Achieving Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2015. The Minister says that, while the UK supports the use of MSY in combination with long term management plans, it is concerned that the obligation to achieve this by 2015 ignores the complexities of mixed fisheries, will cause unnecessary hardship to fishermen, and affect markets. He also notes that the objective of the World Summit on Sustainable Development was to achieve MSY by 2015 wherever possible.
  • The mandatory allocation of transferable fishing concessions. The Minister says that, whilst the UK supports the aim of achieving a more rational and economically efficient fleet and of managing quota rights so that fishermen are able to plan for the long term, this should not mean imposing the same system on all. However, he comments that Member State competence will apparently be respected, with the Commission allocating the opportunities and leaving Member States to decide how best to manage the allocations.
  • Integrating fisheries policy with EU environmental legislation. The Minister says that it will be necessary to make sure the new CFP contributes to the delivery of Good Environmental Status under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (for example, with recourse to robust science and sensible, consistent objectives in long term management plans at the centre of the CFP).
  • Sustainable Fisheries Agreements with third countries. The Minister says that the UK supports the proposal that the same principles of sustainable use of marine resources should be applied outside EU waters as within, though the proposals lack detail on how this will be achieved.
  • Aquaculture production. The Minister says that, whilst the UK has some concern that the policy will be used to intervene in Member State, there is a role for the EU in supporting the coordination of some areas of research and for some aquaculture initiatives to remain eligible for funding under the European Fisheries Fund.
  • Improved scientific knowledge about the state of stocks. The Minister says that the UK will press for an examination of how scientific evidence is developed in order to achieve this objective, noting that current advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is based on short term, single-species analysis and takes no account of wider factors such as stock interactions. He suggests that a better approach would be to improve co-operation with the fishing sector and enable the Council and European Parliament to focus on setting longer term targets rather than setting the annual TAC, and he cautions that resource implications will also be an issue to consider.

1.34 The Minister concludes by saying that there is still more work to be done in terms of the detail, including avoiding creating additional bureaucracy or cost, ensuring key changes are capable of practical implementation. In particular, the financial implications will be addressed in the Impact Assessment which the Government will be preparing.

Other views

1.35 We have also received a submission, dated 2 September 2011, from the organisation Client Earth about the legality of the proposed system of transferable fishing concessions. In summary, this contends that:

  • The mandatory introduction of a system of transferable fishing concessions (TFCs) (rather than the simple allocation of fishing quota/fishing opportunities) under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) proposal is unlawful. This is because, legally, TFCs are property rights at least in some (if not all) jurisdictions in the European Union (EU) — mainly because they can be transferred and are exclusive in nature.
  • According to Article 345 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the EU is prohibited from intervening in Member State systems of property ownership. Therefore, the establishment of a system of property rights, such as TFCs, is a matter of national sovereignty for, and, therefore, at the discretion of individual Member States and cannot be mandated by the EU through an EU-wide Regulation such as the CFP.
  • Without prejudice and in addition to the unlawful nature of TFCs under Article 345 TFEU due mainly to the element of transferability of the system, the introduction of a mandatory national trading system of fishing rights in each Member State would also be contrary to the principle of subsidiarity. The TFC system is not set up as an EU-wide trading system; EU transferability is at the discretion of Member States2. The objectives of setting up this kind of system of property rights can be better achieved by Member States at central or regional level (particularly taking account of the individual requirements of the fisheries under their control and their unique systems of property ownership). The scale or effects of the proposed TFC system do not require EU action.
  • In addition, and without prejudice to the previous two points, mandatory TFCs are also contrary to the principle of proportionality, as they exceed what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Treaty in relation to fisheries (either as regards the conservation, management and exploitation of marine biological resources or the market objectives of the CFP).
  • To comply with EU law, there are two options for the EU to deal with fishing opportunities. If a system of transferable fishing opportunities is to be part of the proposal, then, legally, such a system needs to be voluntary and cannot be mandatory. Alternatively, a simple system for the allocation of quota/fishing opportunities or fishing rights (without the ability to transfer those fishing rights) would be possible.

Conclusion

1.36 It has tended to be our practice to await an Impact Assessment before deciding how a document should be handled, but, in the case of this Communication and draft Regulation — which seek to address the long-standing problems which have arisen on the Common Fisheries Policy — we have no hesitation, even at this early stage, in judging them of sufficient importance to recommend them for debate in European Committee. Also, given the importance of the subject, we have thought it right to report on them at some length, including providing a detailed description of the draft Regulation, which re-acts a number of familiar provisions from the existing arrangements, whilst at the same time breaking new ground in such areas as discards and transferable fishing concessions.

1.37 We will obviously await with interest the Government's Impact Assessment, in the light of the consultations it is carrying out and of the points which the Minister has highlighted in his Explanatory Memorandum. In particular, we note he appears to regard Member State competence as having been respected in the case of transferable concessions, in marked contrast to the position taken by Client Earth, and we would be interested to have his reactions to the points made by that organisation.[9] Since we will wish to consider whether these have any bearing on whether the proposals comply with the principle of subsidiarity, and whether to issue a Reasoned Opinion in accordance with the procedures set out in the Protocol on subsidiarity and proportionality, we would like to have this information in good time before our next meeting on 12 October.


1   (30556) 8977/09: see HC 19-xviii (2008-09), chapter 2 (3 June 2009). Back

2   SEC(10) 428: see (31497) 7764/10, HC 428-i (2010-11), chapter 81 (8 September 2010). Back

3   (33024) 12508/11: see chapter 15. Back

4   (33025) 12517/11: see chapter 16. Back

5   (33026) 12516/11.  Back

6   Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009 and Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008. Back

7   These areas - including those in UK waters - are set out in an Annex to the draft Regulation. Back

8   Subject to informing the Commission, they may also apply such a system to vessels under 12 metres using other types of gear. Back

9   For the submissions made by Client Earth see: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/european-scrutiny-committee/submissions-to-the-committee1/. Back


 
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