The Administrative Board of the European Fisheries Control Agency, in its online meeting, has appointed Dr Susan Steele as Executive Director. Dr Susan Steele from Ireland has a solid background in fisheries management and control. She has been Executive Chair and CEO of the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority of Ireland since 2013. Before that, she was Head of Innovation at the Seafood Development Centre from 2009 to 2013 and Head of Aquaculture and Business Training in Ireland´s Seafood Development Board from 2006 to 2009. She holds a PhD from the National University of Ireland, an MBA, a Masters in Education (M.Ed) and a Bachelor in Marine Biology. Dr Susan Steele is expected to take her duty on 1 September 2021.
The Agency is governed by an Administrative Board, made up of one representative per Member State and six representatives of the Commission. The Administrative Board nominates the Executive Director for a period of five years. The vacancy notice for the new director was published on 14 July 2020, following a pre-selection by the European Commission, a final short list of candidates adopted by the College of Commissioners was presented to the EFCA Administrative Board. The Board has interviewed the candidates and appointed today the new Executive Director among the candidates.
Under the supervision of the Administrative Board, the Executive Director is responsible for the management of the agency and the execution of the Agency’s operational activities.
Annual Report adoption
EFCA Administrative Board adopted the agency’s Annual Report for 2020. The activities carried out by the Agency spanned from the operational coordination of fisheries control across the EU, to tasks relating to the international obligations of the Union, from the assistance to Member States to improve the culture of compliance with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), to the European Cooperation on Coast Guard function.
The ongoing pandemic obliged the Agency to adapt its business model to the new circumstances. Nevertheless, in close collaboration with the national control authorities, EFCA successfully implemented the legal and operational instruments, through which the Agency carries out the operational coordination with the Member States, namely the six Joint Deployment Plans (JDP) covering all EU sea-basins and international waters under NAFO and NEAFC. In total there were 38 452 inspections (at sea and ashore) reported within the JDPs framework that led to 1787 suspected infringements.
In close cooperation with the Commission and the Member States, the Agency carried out important preparatory work to face the possible consequences for fisheries control deriving from Brexit in the North Sea and in the Western Waters of the Atlantic. By the same token, the Agency was able to continue assisting Member States Control Expert Groups, in relevant areas such as risk assessment, compliance evaluation, and specific provisions relating to the Landing Obligation and emerging monitoring technologies.
Although the constraints impeded travelling within the Union and to third countries, the Agency continued to offer its support to the Commission to discharge the commitments of the Union in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations, as well as to contribute to the fight against IUU fishing, including through the implementation of the EU funded development project PESCAO in West Africa.
For most of the year, EFCA also led the cooperation derived from the Tripartite Working Arrangement between Frontex/EBCGA, EMSA and EFCA, in the framework of the European Cooperation on Coast Guard (EUCG). This also involved the Member States and the Commission. The Agency was notably involved in the delivery of the first version of the Practical Handbook on EUCG, highlighting its key role in the area of Capacity Building and Risk Assessment.
The EFCA chartered vessel Lundy Sentinel remained on task during all the year. It provided a significant part of the Union commitment of control and inspection platforms in the North Atlantic Regional Fisheries Management Organisations NAFO and NEAFC.
These activities were instrumental to ensure compliance with the rules of the CFP and hence for achieving its environmental, and socio-economic objectives. These activities are now also firmly embedded in the European Green Deal through their contribution to sustainable food systems and safeguarding biodiversity as well as by contributing to a Sustainable Blue Economy.