Official Journal of the European Union

C 81/174

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the ‘Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013 on the Common Fisheries Policy’

(COM(2017) 0424 final — 2017/0190 (COD))

(2018/C 081/23)




Council, 14.9.2017

European Parliament, 11.9.2017

Legal Basis

Article 43(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.



Bureau decision




Section responsible

Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment

Adopted in section


Adopted at plenary


Plenary session No


Outcome of vote



1.   Position of the EESC


In line with its previous opinion on the landing obligation (1), which called for the flexible measures needed to facilitate the gradual introduction of the landing obligation, the EESC supports the proposal to extend the powers of the European Commission to adopt discard plans by means of delegated acts for a further period of three years.


However, the concern is that the three years proposed are not enough to adopt all of the regional multiannual plans and that, by the end of 2020, we will find ourselves in a situation similar to the present one. The EESC would have liked a further extension.



The gradual introduction of the landing obligation (the first Commission delegated regulations establishing discard plans entered into force on 1 January 2015) has revealed a number of problems.


Without doubt the most serious has been, and this will increasingly be the case, the one caused by ‘choke species’, i.e. species for which operators have small quotas or none at all, but which, despite this, are also caught in nets and other types of fishing gear. The flexibility mechanisms included in the regulation are completely inadequate to deal with this situation. When the landing obligation comes fully into force in 2019, there will be many fishing vessels which, despite not having used up their quota of target species, will have to remain in port without being able to go out to fish because they have exhausted their meagre quota of accessory species.


Another unresolved question is the adaptation of fishing ports and their fish markets to the sale of species which are traditionally discarded and which now have to be landed. Similarly, restricting the sale of smaller fish to non-human consumption purposes causes additional problems, since many EU ports do not have the infrastructure or businesses to provide an outlet for this type of raw material.


Finally, there is a growing need for on-board storage space, but it is the workload of staff, who are required to classify more species and sizes, that is increasing most, heightening both the stress and risks.

Brussels, 18 October 2017.

The President of the European Economic and Social Committee

Georges DASSIS

(1)  OJ C 311, 12.9.2014, p. 68.