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Brussels, 25 October 2010

Preparation Agriculture/Fisheries Council of October 2010

The Agriculture & Fisheries Council will meet in Luxembourg on Tuesday 26 October (starting at 10 a.m.). It will be chaired by Mrs Sabine Laruelle, Belgian minister for SMEs, the Self-Employed, Agriculture and Science Policy for the agriculture items and by Mr Kris Peeters, Minister-President for the Flemish Region with responsibility for fisheries for the fisheries items. Commissioners Maria Damanaki and Dacian Cioloş will represent the Commission at the meeting.

The Council will begin with the fisheries items, which will be dealt with in the morning. The afternoon's discussions will begin with agriculture items and then return to fisheries items.


2011 fishing opportunities for the Baltic Sea

Ministers will discuss the Commission's proposals of 14 September for fishing opportunities for the Baltic Sea for 2011 (for more details, see IP/10/1132). The proposals reflect the scientific advice received. Consequently, the Commission has proposed decreases where science advises it for the stocks' survival and increases only in cases where the state of the stock permits this. For the Baltic specifically, this means increased fishing opportunities for Baltic cod, but sharp decreases for pelagic stocks (herring and sprat).

  • For cod the Commission has proposed a 15% increase in the EU total allowable catch (TAC) for eastern Baltic cod, from 51 267 tonnes to 58 957 tonnes, and a 6% increase in the TAC for western Baltic cod, from 17 700 tonnes to 18 800 tonnes. These figures are in keeping with both the scientific advice and the provisions in the multi-annual plan.

  • For herring the Commission has proposed bringing down the TAC for western herring by 30%, from 22 690 tonnes to 15 884 tonnes, as this stock's level has hit a record low. For the central herring stock the proposed reduction is 28% (from 126 380 tonnes to 91 640 tonnes).

  • A reduction of 30% (from 379 900 tonnes to 265 969 tonnes) has been proposed for sprat.

  • For salmon, the proposal is that the TAC in the main basin be reduced by 15%.

The Commission considers it vital that the final decisions to emerge from the Council meeting should ensure that the EU fishing fleet exploits fish stocks at the right level.

EU/Norway: annual consultations for 2011 – exchange of views

Ministers will exchange views on the approach the Commission should take during the annual fisheries consultations with Norway.

The first round of annual consultations on the fisheries arrangement for 2011 will take place in Brussels from 15 to 19 November, with a second round in Bergen, Norway, from 30 November to 4 December.

The bilateral Fisheries Agreement between the EU and Norway covering joint stocks in the North Sea has been in place since 1980. Some of these stocks – cod, haddock, herring, plaice, saithe and whiting – are jointly managed, while others – such as anglerfish, horse mackerel, Norway pout and sandeel – are not. Annual total allowable catches (TACs) are set by the EU and Norway together for the jointly managed stocks. There needs to be an overall balance in the reciprocal exchange of quotas across the Agreement.

Bilateral fisheries cooperation between the EU and Norway in recent years has generally been very positive as regards the management of the main joint stocks in the North Sea, technical measures and a number of other relevant issues.

ICCAT: annual meeting (17 to 27 November, Paris)

The annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas convenes in Paris on 17 November.

The Commission is seeking feedback from the Member States in particular on the published scientific advice with a view to preparing the EU's position on the issues that the ICCAT meeting will broach. To that end it has sent Member States a question paper, which will serve as the basis for discussions at Council and enable the Commission to gauge Member States' views.


NAFO annual meeting

At the request of the Estonian and Latvian delegations, Council will discuss the proceedings of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) annual meeting in Halifax (Canada) in September.


Adaptation to the Lisbon Treaty - Rules for Direct Payments and Rural Development

Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, there is a distinction between powers delegated to the Commission to adopt non-legislative acts to supplement/amend certain non-essential elements of legislation under Article 290 ("delegated acts") and uniform conditions for implementing legally-binding acts under Article 291 ("implementing acts"). In order to bring the existing regulations into line with these new procedures, the Commission has screened existing legislation and tabled proposals for reclassifying 2 of the most important CAP regulations – Reg 73/2009 on Direct support and 1698/05 on Rural Development. The texts also contain some elements of simplification. Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos will outline these proposals to Ministers.

Any Other Business:

The Belgian Presidency will provide a report on the discussion on the post-2013 CAP at the Informal Farm Council in La Hulpe on September 21. The Presidency also wants to announce a meeting of experts on December 3 in order to discuss the pigmeat market situation. Portugal has asked to discuss the question of sugar cane imports for refining. Lithuania will raise the issue of African swine fever in countries that are geographically close to the EU. Finally, the Greek delegation will draw attention to a state aid it is planning relating to problems with bollworm in this year's Greek cotton production.

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