The new rules backed by the Fisheries Committee on Wednesday require the documentation of every stage in the chain, including transhipping, caging, harvesting, importing, exporting and re-exporting, in order to ensure complete and reliable traceability.
The draft regulation backed by MEPs transposes in the EU rules that were adopted by the ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas), to which the EU is a contracting party. The aim is to thwart overfishing and allow better control of stocks.
Under the rules, all bluefin tuna will have to be accompanied by an official document indicating:
- Catch data (name of the catching vessel or trap, the flag State, fish amounts, where and how it was caught);
- Exporter or seller details;
- Transhipment information (vessel names, port, product details);
- Farm details (name, date of caging, estimated amounts);
- Harvest information (date, number of fish, tag numbers);
- Trade information (product description, point and destination of export, company's details).
MEPs included latest ICCAT recommendations in the draft EU Regulation, adopted at the international meeting held in Brazil last November.
The adopted measures include:
- Ban on transhipments at sea, to avoid cheating on the origin of fish;
- New time limitations for harvesting caged fish, also to ensure reliable traceability;
- Detailed instructions on issuing, filling and validating the standard catch document.
The legislative resolution drafted by Raül Romeva i Rueda (Greens/EFA, ES) was adopted with 19 votes in favour and one abstention. Parliament is expected to confirm the vote during its June plenary session. As Parliament decides on the legislation together with Council, it can be only fully adopted when both institutions have reached complete agreement.