New EU rules on how, where and when fish can be caught, were enacted by the European Parliament (EP). Key highlights are an EU-wide ban on the use of electric pulse fishing, simpler rules on fishing gear and minimum size of fish, more regional flexibility for fishermen, but also limits on catches of vulnerable stocks and juvenile fish. The new law, which updates and combines more than 30 regulations, also allows tailor-made measures that cater to the regional needs of each sea basin. During the vote on existing technical measures in fisheries, the EP adopted an amendment of importance to Croatian fisheries – the amendment to strike a Mediterranean Regulation provision which prevented the use of purse seines at depths less than 70% of their height, which did not suit Croatian fishermen and nearly stopped such fishing since Croatia’s accession to the EU in 2013. An amendment calling for a total ban on the use of electric current for fishing (e.g. to drive fish up out of the seabed and into the net) was passed by 402 votes to 232, with 40 abstentions. The EU rules, designed to progressively reduce juvenile catches, would prohibit some fishing gear and methods, impose general restrictions on the use of towed gear and static nets, restrict catches of marine mammals, seabirds and marine reptiles, include special provisions to protect sensitive habitats, and ban practices such as “high-grading” (discarding low-priced fish even though they should legally be landed) in order to reduce discarding.
Elimination of tariffs, quotas to benefit EU exporters
Combined, the EU and Japan have 9 percent of the world’s population, 28 percent of its GDP and 36 percent of its trade. Billions of euros’ worth of goods and services are traded between the two economies; hundreds of thousands of jobs are directly supported by this trade, and many more hundreds of thousands have been created by investment by the EU and Japan in each other’s economies. In seafood alone, two-way trade reached a record EUR395 million in 2016. Combined, the EU and Japan together account for over one-third of global seafood trade.
Deal to reduce consumer prices and boost trade
On 21 September 2017, the long-awaited free trade agreement between the EU and Canada, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement which the EU Parliament approved on 15 February 2017, provisionally came into force after more than eight years of arduous, detailed negotiations.
The EU-Canada trade agreement CETA, as it is known, eliminates virtually all tariffs on imports between the two economies, harmonizes and reduces trade regulations and related structural barriers, and provides a mechanism to resolve disputes concerning, trade, investment, and other economic matters. The provisional nature of CETA means that certain parts have not yet been completely agreed; these parts relate to investment protection and the Investment Court System. The rest of the agreement, including tariff reduction and removal, has entered into force.