The European Commission has agreed to extend the approval of the Irish Sea Fisheries Control Plan
Fishermen in Killybegs tonight consider the latest move in the ongoing controversy over landings following news that the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) has confirmed that the European Commission has agreed to extend approval* of the Irish Sea Fisheries Control Plan for the weighing of fishery products after transport to premises authorized by the SFPA until 31 December 2022.
In a statement, the SFPA says the extension, following a request from the SFPA, will facilitate the continuation of the exemption for weighing after transport of landings of pelagic and demersal fish made in Ireland and transported to authorized establishments, unless otherwise specified when landing at sea. – Fisheries Protection Officer.
The statement adds: “The Irish Sea Fisheries Interim Control Plan aims to ensure that the control systems are adequate to address the significant concerns expressed by the European Commission regarding inaccurate catch weighing, in particular by operators landing catches. bulk pelagics in Ireland, which led to the EU Revocation by the Irish Weighing Commission after the transport control plan in April 2021.
“It facilitates the weighing of the vast majority of landings in Ireland after transport, at fish factories and processing units.” **
Commenting on the European Commission’s decision, Paschal Hayes, Executive Chairman of SFPA, said: “SFPA is pleased to have obtained approval from the European Commission to extend the Interim Control Plan until December 31, 2022.
“With continued demersal landings and increased small inshore vessel activity, there will be thousands of landings in ports across the country over the next few months – without an extension to the interim control plan, each of these landings should have been weighed upon landing at the pier.
“With an interim control plan in place, including physical attendance and cross-checks of data by SFPA to manage compliance risks, the overwhelming majority can continue to be weighed after transport at licensed establishments in Ireland, with a small percentage of landings subject to check-weighing supervision on landing.
“Safeguarding Ireland’s marine resources for future generations is an essential part of the SFPA’s mission, and the continuation of the interim monitoring plan will serve to ensure that adequate monitoring systems are in place. The SFPA will continue to work intensively and collaborate with industry to obtain approval for a permanent control plan.
Copies of the plan are available here: Weighing Fish Products | The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (sfpa.ie) and the SFPA encourage shipowners and those working in the industry to contact their local SFPA port office or visit www.sfpa.ie if they need further information. additional information or clarifications on elements of the plans.
*As of 1 January this year, following an intensive effort by the SFPA in 2021, an interim control scheme facilitating the post-transport weighing of all fish products landed in Ireland at specifically authorized establishments, is in operation. vigor. The approval of this interim plan by the European Commission was due to expire on April 30, 2022. It has now been extended until December 31, 2022. The approval of the plan is scheduled by the European Commission DG-Mare under the Article 61, paragraph 1. .
The default provision of EU legislation is that all wild caught fishery products must be weighed immediately upon transport by operators. It is possible that a derogation allows weighing after transport, but this requires the approval by the European Commission of a “control plan” to manage the compliance risks arising from this practice.
To meet the requirements of the Interim Control Plan, operators can select one of two options to perform weighing before transport
**Option 1: In this method, fish exiting the vessel are dumped into an industry-owned dockside system that temporarily separates the fish from the water. This fish is immediately placed directly in a tank pre-filled with water and pre-weighed. The tank containing the fish and water is then reweighed on the SFPA approved weighbridge and an accurate weight for the fish is obtained.
Option 2: In this method, the fish and water leaving the vessel are discharged directly into a pre-weighed empty tank. The tank containing the fish and the water is then reweighed on the SFPA approved weighbridge. Fish remain in their original water, which operators seek to minimize in order to balance quality considerations with fish weight accuracy issues.