Wednesday, 21 September 2022
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Common Agricultural Policy
159. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the commitments that he has secured or obtained in the review of the CAP regarding fishers and the fishing process industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46181/22]
The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) Regulation (Regulation EU 380/2013) provides that the European Commission will report to the European Parliament and the Council on the functioning of the CFP by the end of 2022.
In December 2021, as the first step in the consultation process, the Commission launched online questionnaires relating to the review of both the CFP and the Regulation on the Common Organisation of Markets. In April 2022, the Commission published an analysis of the results of the online surveys. Meetings of regional groups of Member States and Advisory Councils have also taken place. The Commission closed the consultation process with a stakeholder event on 10 June.
The Commission has recently indicated that its report on the functioning of the CFP will take the form of a Communication, analysing the dimensions of the CFP (including governance, conservation measures, fleet management, landing obligation, data collection, control and the external dimension of the CFP). The Commission's Communication will look at the interaction between fisheries management and the objectives of the European Green Deal. In addition, the Communication will also address the social dimension of the CFP and consider how to improve the delivery of the CFP policy objectives. The Commission has indicated that the results of its consultation process will be factored into the preparation of the Communication.
I have consistently made clear over the past year the Irish Government’s assessment that the substantial changes brought about in fisheries policy as a result of the adoption of the EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement requires that internally within the EU, a comprehensive review be carried out of the CFP that would support changes to deliver a fair and equitable policy.
Earlier this year, I established a national Common Fisheries Policy Review group of relevant stakeholders to examine the issues that arise for Ireland in the context of the CFP Review, to advise me on priorities for the negotiations and to identify strategies most likely to influence the outcome of the review. The Group was chaired by Mr. John Malone, former Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture, and assisted by a steering committee comprising Mr. Micheál Ó Cinneide, former Director of the MI and EPA and Mr. Donal Maguire, former Director in BIM. The Group involved representatives of key stakeholders, including industry representative groups and the environmental NGOs.
To clarify the update I provided to the House in response to a previous question on this issue, the CFP Review Group submitted its final report to me on 5th August. The stakeholders have set out a number of recommendations on aspects of the CFP which need to be addressed in order to adapt to the monumental changes of recent years and ensure a sustainable future for the sector.
I have forwarded a copy of the report to the Fisheries Commissioner, Virginijus Sinkevicius. I have made clear that I am fully satisfied that this report demonstrates that there is need for legislative changes in the current policy to address the disproportionate impacts of the TCA and in the context of the new environmental challenges we are all facing. I have asked him to review the report's findings and recommendations and consider how these can be taken forward to support a fair and balanced CFP. I will also be bringing the report to Government for its information.