Brussels – The EU’s Fisheries Committee today adopted its report on the Data Collection Framework regulation (DCF), an effort that was designed to improve the information behind the Common Fisheries Policy.

The new proposal contains weaknesses on aquaculture and faces a further watering down in negotiations with the Council.

The Commission’s original proposal for changes to the way data on fisheries is collected, aimed to align the existing rules on the collection of fisheries and aquaculture data in the EU to the requirements of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). This would better ensure the use of accurate and up-to-date information on stocks and aquaculture, which would in turn result in more effective management.

The European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee agreed on a range of improvements, such as setting a long-term goal to create a single European register for the data collected, highlighting the importance of continual data collection without interruption of existing time series and linking the data collection requirements closer to the needs of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). The Committee also introduced a stronger requirement for collaboration amongst member states when preparing regional work plans for data collection. Finally, it decided that Advisory Councils should be included more prominently in the regional coordination groups that will be responsible for designing regional work plans.

Unfortunately, both the Parliament and the Council have settled on a considerably weaker position with regards to aquaculture, as the Parliament excluded the collection of freshwater aquaculture data and the Council made that collection non-mandatory.

Seas At Risk, jointly with BirdLife, had provided their priorities to the relevant decisions makers during the legislative process. Negotiations between the co-legislators will proceed in the next weeks.

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