Members' Research Service By / November 8, 2019

Revising the fisheries control system [EU Legislation in Progress]

The EU fisheries control system is a key part of the common fisheries policy (CFP), aimed at ensuring compliance with CFP rules.

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Written by Irina Popescu (3rd edition, updated on 03/03/2023),

The EU’s fisheries control system, which aims to ensure compliance with the common fisheries policy (CFP), is undergoing a complete overhaul. In May 2018, the Commission proposed to update the system in light of the 2013 CFP reform. The Commission proposal amends five regulations, of which Council Regulation (EC) 1224/2009 (the Control Regulation), forms the core of the EU fisheries control system. Some of the key changes introduced by the proposal include tracking of all fishing vessels, electronic reporting of all catches, monitoring of recreational fisheries, improving traceability along the supply chain and harmonising sanctions across the EU.

The European Parliament, which adopted its first-reading position in March 2021, largely supports these changes, while also introducing new elements, such as the creation of a ‘Union register’ of infringements. On control of the landing obligation, Parliament supports the proposal to make the use of on-board CCTV cameras mandatory for a minimum percentage of vessels. However, the Parliament proposes to apply this only to vessels of 12 metres length or more, which have been identified as posing a high risk of non-compliance. The Parliament also increases the tolerance margins as regards catch weight estimates on‑board, in particular for small pelagic and tuna species.

Interinstitutional negotiations started in September 2021. While the co-legislators have reached consensus on several points, they continue to diverge on many others, such as vessel tracking, recreational fisheries, traceability, harmonisation of sanctions and camera surveillance. Negotiations are resuming under the Swedish Presidency of the Council.


Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009, and amending Council Regulations (EC) No 768/2005, (EC) No 1967/2006, (EC) No 1005/2008, and Regulation (EU) No 2016/1139 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards fisheries control
Committee responsible: Fisheries (PECH) COM(2018) 368, 30.5.2018.
Rapporteur: Clara Aguilera (S&D, Spain) 2018/0193(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs: Francisco José Millán Mon (EPP, Spain); Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (Renew, Spain); Grace O’Sullivan (Greens/EFA, Ireland); Rosanna Conte (ID, Italy); Bert-Jan Ruissen (ECR, the Netherlands); João Pimenta Lopes (The Left, Portugal) Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Continuing trilogue negotiations

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