Fisheries: EU Commission sends letter of formal notice to MALTA over compliance with Bluefin tuna rules

The Commission decided today to send a letter of formal notice to Malta over its failure to comply with the Control Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1224/2009), the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) Regulation (Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008) and the Bluefin tuna Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 2016/1627).

Malta also failed to comply with twoRecommendations by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) on Bluefin tuna in the Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean ([18-02] and [17-07]). In particular, Malta failed in ensuring the presence of an effective monitoring, control and inspection system in Bluefin tuna farms.

Several audit and verification missions undertaken by Commission officials identified a number of serious shortcomings, including failure to allow access of Union inspectors to waters under Maltese jurisdiction in the frame of a specific control and inspection programme, delayed investigations, limited numbers of random control checks and failure to sanction operators.

The Commission considers that Malta has not taken the necessary steps to address the above-mentioned deficiencies. Malta now has four months to address the shortcomings raised. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

Vivian Loonela

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