Today, the Administrative Board of the Community Fisheries Control Agency held its 5th meeting in Vigo. The main item on the agenda was the adoption of the proposal for a draft budget for the year 2008, which was accompanied by a staffing plan and a document outlining the options for next year's operational work programme.
The operational priorities for 2008 are in principle the same as in 2007: Joint Deployment Plans for the North Sea and adjacent areas and the Baltic Sea; coordination of control and inspections of bluefin tuna fisheries as well as involvement in the execution of the Community Action Plan to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries (IUU). The Agency will also coordinate control and inspections in the regulatory areas of the North-west Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) and the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC). The final budget and work programme will be adopted by the Board in October.
The preliminary draft budget for 2008 would be substantially increased compared to the one in 2007, due to the increased activity of the newly operational Agency, and the costs of relocation to Vigo and foreseeable contractual services to the Member States at their request and expense. These services relate inter alia to control and inspections in connection with Member States' obligations in EU and international waters. One such action could be to charter an inspection vessel for joint inspections in the NAFO Regulatory Area on behalf of Member States.
|Total budget 2007 (wholly contributed by the Community)||€ 5.000.000|
|Total budget 2008 (including costs of relocation to Vigo
and revenue for contractual services to Member States)
|Community contribution 2008||€ 7.300.000|
Another important item on the agenda was the timing and the arrangements for the Agency's relocation from Brussels to its seat in Vigo. The headquarter of the Agency will be located in a building designated by the Spanish authorities, which will be renovated and should be ready for occupation in May 2009. The Agency is now exploring, together with the Spanish authorities, the possibilities to find temporary office space in Vigo until the renovation is completed.
"There is full agreement between us and the Spanish authorities on the importance of relocating the Agency to its seat in Vigo as soon as possible, for the proper functioning of the Agency. Our discussions with the Spanish government have been constructive and held in a cordial atmosphere. I welcome the efforts made by Spain to find a practicable solution", commented Mr Harm Koster, Executive Director of the Agency.