EU Member States around the Baltic Sea are embarking on a period of intense co-operation in the area of fisheries control and inspection, co-ordinated by the Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA). The CFCA has developed a test joint inspection and surveillance scheme for the Baltic Sea cod stocks, with active participation of all eight Member States in the region, to fine-tune the mechanisms for Member State co-operation. Under this new form for cooperation, patrol vessels will enter into waters under the jurisdiction of other Member States to carry out inspections. The results of the tests will be highly relevant in the development of future Joint Deployment Plans.
This is the first time that the CFCA coordinates control and inspection activities with Member States in Community waters. The first test campaign will start on 7 May with Denmark as the lead partner. The campaigns are scheduled to continue until the end of the year.
"I am proud that the Agency has been able to pull together this scheme within the first four months of its existence. The Member States have invested a lot of effort in the development of this intensified co-operation, which aims to protect and rebuild the fragile Baltic cod stocks, ensure a level playing field for all fishermen in the area, and make best use of Member States control resources to work towards a culture of compliance. After each test campaign we will assess its strengths and weaknesses together with Member States to fine-tune the following campaigns. We will have a close dialogue with stakeholders through the Regional Advisory Council of the Baltic Sea, to make sure that their views can be taken into account at an early stage, as we develop the blueprints for future Joint Deployment Plans", commented Mr Harm Koster, Executive Director of the CFCA.
The Joint Inspection and Surveillance Scheme (JISS) is designed to deploy resources pooled by Member States (human resources as well as physical means of control and inspections, such as vessels, airplanes and infrastructure). The test campaigns, which will be carried out to identify the most efficient way of pooling resources and avoid unnecessary disruption of fishing activities, will be managed by a lead partner, helped and advised by an experienced coordinator from the CFCA. So far, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Latvia and Germany have been appointed to take the lead for different campaigns, which will be scheduled to take place at difference locations and times depending on the seasonal variations in the fisheries. The joint inspections will be carefully planned to make best use of the resources and to focus on areas with a high concentration of fishing activity at different times during the season, at sea as well as at the landing sites. Obviously, the detailed planning of the test campaigns will not be disclosed beforehand.
The multinational nature of the JISS means that a fishing vessel from one Member State, fishing in waters of a second Member State, can be hailed by an inspection vessel from a third Member State and boarded and inspected by Community inspectors from a fourth. For principal and practical reasons, all control and inspection vessels operating in the waters of a particular Member State will carry at least one inspector from that Member State.
The development of a JISS by the CFCA for the Baltic Sea cod stocks was decided in October 2006, when the fishing opportunities for Baltic Sea fish stocks were adopted by the Fisheries Council. The JISS can be seen as a forerunner of the future Joint Deployment Plan for the Baltic Sea cod stocks, which will be developed as soon as a specific control and monitoring plan has been adopted by the Commission.