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IP/07/441

Brussels, 29 March 2007

Statement by Commissioner Joe Borg following signing of declaration on combating unreported cod fishery in the Baltic Sea

Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg welcomed the Declaration on combating unreported cod fishery in the Baltic Sea, signed at yesterday's inter-ministerial meeting on enforcement in the Baltic Sea in Copenhagen. Commissioner Borg signed the Declaration alongside ministers from the countries around the Baltic Sea. Commissioner Borg said: "I welcome the adoption of the Declaration that we have just signed. This Declaration is a clear signal of the commitment of the Member States around the Baltic to strengthen their control and enforcement systems. Proper enforcement of fisheries measures is neither a luxury nor is it an unnecessary imposition on fishermen, quite the contrary. The absence of control is the quickest way to the ruin of a fishery as overfishing inevitably leads to depletion."

He continued: "This is why I am really encouraged by the initiative taken by the Baltic Regional Advisory Council and the presence of the Ministers here, today. Both show a common determination to tackle the weaknesses in the application and control of fisheries measures.

The initiative by the Baltic RAC, which I warmly welcome, sends a strong signal to all concerned. It shows that there is genuine concern among stakeholders of practices that undermine the sustainability of fish stocks and, of course, of the related fisheries.

Stakeholders have an important role to play in encouraging compliance among their peers. But they also look to the enforcement authorities to fully play their part in detecting infringements to fisheries measures and in imposing effective sanctions. I am glad to say that by meeting here today and by signing the Declaration, the Member States have responded to the RAC's call for support.

For its part, the Commission will continue to work with the Member States to improve and strengthen control and monitoring. It will continue to encourage the move towards more effective and uniform control and enforcement.

The new Community fisheries control agency has also an important role to play here. Indeed, it is good to see that the Agency's role is acknowledged in the Declaration.

I look forward to seeing the improvements that will be made by the Member States in their enforcement systems. This is particularly important as we get nearer to the adoption of the multi-annual cod plan for the Baltic. The success of this plan and the future of the cod Baltic cod fisheries will depend on these improvements."
For more information on Commissioner Borg's participation in the ministerial meeting see Midday Express of yesterday:

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEX/07/0328&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
The Copenhagen Declaration is available at :

http://www.fvm.dk/Files/Filer/Fiskeri/cph-erklaering.pdf


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