The control of fishing should be improved and made more effective, according to the Swedish government, which has instructed the Coast Guard and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SWAM) to investigate how.
This summer, Sweden commissioned SWAM to propose how camera surveillance onboard fishing vessels can be carried out. The government is now taking further steps to develop the proposal on how improved fisheries inspections can contribute to sustainable fish stocks.
– We have a very serious situation in both the Baltic and the North Sea, and it is not acceptable that we can suspect that there is still cheating in the reporting. Therefore, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and the Coast Guard will carry out a mission to see how we can streamline and tighten controls, says Isabella Lövin, Minister of Environment and Climate, to Swedish Radio Ekot.
The two authorities will investigate how to tighten the controls that take place during the landing of catches and during fisheries inspections at sea, for example, that there is no illegal fishing in marine protected areas.
The EU Control Regulation sets the framework for fisheries controls and is intended to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Common Fisheries Policy. In recent years information has emerged about deficiencies regarding compliance with the landing obligation. There have also been data indicating that there may be reasons to strengthen the control activities regarding species and size composition in the catch on board, inter alia, to enable real-time closures, according to the government press release.
At the same time the government stresses the importance of not increasing the overall administrative burden for the fishing companies, which is why SWAM and the Coast Guard, according to the assignment, should also submit proposals that can reduce the administration for the companies.
– This assignment to the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and the Coast Guard is an important part of the work on sustainable fish stocks and to prevent fishing that does not take place in accordance with current EU and national regulations, said Minister for Rural affairs Jennie Nilsson.
– It shouldn’t pay to cheat. Illegal fishing is one of the biggest threats to the sea. Globally, 26 million tonnes of fish are caught illegally or without inspections every year, and we know that the problem also exists in Sweden. That is why more stringent and more effective controls are needed, said Isabella Lövin, Minister of Environment and Climate.
NGOs advocate for a thorough reform of the EU Control regulation to facilitate an improved and more efficient fisheries control, and have produced a set of Joint NGO priorities on the revision of the EU Fisheries Control System and factsheets providing recommendations on key policy areas.