The EESC broadly endorses the Commission's proposal on fisheries control. However, some problems have not been adequately addressed or clearly resolved.
The EESC is opposed to the blanket obligation to install closed circuit television (CCTV) in vessels and therefore proposes that risk assessments on certain fleet segments characterised by a high and widespread level of serious infringements are carried out by Member States and then, depending on their history of past non-compliance, control authorities ask these vessels to install CCTV.
The new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 2021-2027 will play a key role in enabling European vessels to adapt to the new legal provisions. It is imperative that funding be readily accessible at national level for all those who request it. In particular, the Committee is opposed to introducing retroactive rules whereby, in the event of a single serious infringement, the operator would be obliged to repay any funds previously received and correctly reported.
The EESC points out that the worst instances of fraud and failure to comply with law occur in third countries, and yet fish caught as a result of such illegal practices still ends up on European tables with relative ease. It is important for the new traceability systems to address these problems as well, by monitoring the entire supply chain.
The EESC notes that it is difficult to adapt successful models offered by multiannual plans for single-species fisheries to mixed fisheries, and this can have a severe impact on the environment and on the economy. The Committee therefore recommends a system for collecting more detailed data on stock with a view to devising ad hoc strategies that can better protect biodiversity without causing excessive damage to the fisheries sector.