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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/185

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(20 December 2002)

The European Union supports programmes for economic development in predefined eligible areas under
Objectives 1 and 2 of the Structural funds. It also operates an number of other programmes and initiatives
where there are no predetermined eligible areas.

According to Article 3, §1 of Council Regulation 1260/1999, ‘The regions covered by Objective 1 shall be
regions corresponding to level II of the Nomenclature of Territorial Statistical Units (NUTS II) whose per
capita GDP, measured in purchasing power parities, and calculated on the basis of Community figures the
last three years available on 26 March 1999, is less than 75 % of the Community average’. For Hampshire
and the Isle of Wight, the relevant NUTS 2 region in this context, the data revealed a GDP per head of
97,2 % of the Community average, and accordingly, the region was not included on the list of regions
covered by Objective 1 of the Structural Funds for the period 2000-2006.

With regard to Objective 2 of the Structural Funds, the preparation of the list of eligible areas was
undertaken in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, giving Member States the initiative to propose
areas. The Commission’s role was to check for consistency with the regulations in order to ensure that the
areas selected were those facing the most serious problems. In the event, the UK authorities did not
propose to include the Isle of Wight among its Objective 2 areas, and the region did not therefore feature
on the final list published on 30 March 2002.

While the Isle of Wight is not eligible to receive structural support under Objective 1 or Objective 2 for
the period 2000-2006, it is eligible for support from the Structural Funds in the context of other
programmes and initiatives operating during the current period. These include the human resources pro-
grammes under Objective 3, the Interreg Community Initiative and the Innovative Actions programmes. In
addition, the region is also eligible for support under the rural development programme for England which
has a financial allocation of EUR 615,2 million from the Common Agricultural Policy for the period

(2003/C 137 E/209) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3280/02

by Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(19 November 2002)

Subject: Industrial fisheries  sandeels

Given the record catches of sandeel fisheries being recorded by Danish fishermen (in April this year, the
previous record from 1994 of 72 000 tonnes was broken when 78 000 tonnes were landed), how can the
Commission provide reassurances that the already threatened white fish stocks of the North Sea are not
being adversely affected by these catches?

Why has the Commission not reduced radically the catches of industrial fisheries in light of the closures
and reduced quotas being faced by the fishing industry in relation to fish for human consumption?

Can the Commission justify its nonchalant approach towards allowing industrial fisheries in light of the
obvious detrimental effect on the marine ecosystem, and obvious impact on other fisheries crucial for the
survival of fisheries-dependent communities located around the North Sea?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(23 December 2002)

According to the information available to the Commission the Danish fishermen landed 178,000 tonnes of
sandeel in April 2002 and 245,000 tonnes in May 2002.
C 137 E/186 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

The total catches of sandeel have for the last 25 years being fluctuating between 500,000 and 1,1 million
tonnes per year without any clear trend.

There is no evidence known to the Commission that the fisheries for sandeel have a significant adversely
effect on the white fish stocks. The available information shows that the by-catches of white fish is very
low compared to the catches of these species in other fisheries and the Commission has not received any
scientific advice or other information indicating that sandeel fishing is depriving white fish of sufficient
food. The Commission has, however, recently asked the International Council for the Exploration of the
Sea (ICES) to investigate possible effects of industrial fisheries on the ecosystem.

(2003/C 137 E/210) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3284/02

by Glenys Kinnock (PSE) to the Commission

(20 November 2002)

Subject: DSP toxin

Is the Commission aware that the presence of DSP toxin in the sea has an extremely serious effect on the
local economy and that activities such as the gathering of cockles have been seriously affected?

Is the Commission considering funding any pan-European research on DSP toxin?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(18 December 2002)

The Commission would inform the Honourable Member that it is aware of the presence of the diarrhetic
shell fish poisoning (DSP) toxin, which represents a potential danger for human health. Commission
Decision 2002/225/EC (1) establishes the maximum levels of certain marine biotoxins of the DSP group
and identifies the methods of analysis. With this Decision, a common and harmonised approach within
Member States has been established.

Once the DSP is detected, it is compulsory to close the fishing area to avoid intoxication in the consumer.
This obligation is established in Council Directive 91/492/EEC (2). The Commission is aware that cockle
fisheries in South Wales have been closed for extended periods in recent years on this account and is
aware that this has had a knock-on economic effect.

The Commission is also aware that enhanced nutrient inputs (predominantly from agricultural and urban
sources) and/or changes in the Nitrogen and Phosphorous (N/P) ratios of the inputs is among the causes of
changes in the phytoplankton community structure towards an increased likelihood of the occurrence of
such toxic species. Such effects have been suspected, and in some cases proven, to be responsible for the
recent increases in space and time of blooms of such toxic species.

Extensive research activities take place on the causes of occurrence of toxin-forming algae species linked to
eutrophication and oceanographic events and the implications for toxin presence in shellfish. A summary
of Community funded projects on DSP can be consulted on the Cordis web-site ( by
searching for ‘DSP shellfish’.

(1) Commission Decision of 15 March 2002 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Directive
91/492/EEC as regards the maximum levels and the methods of analysis of certain marine biotoxins in bivalve
molluscs, echinodermsn, tunicates and marine gastropods, OJ L 75, 16.3.2002.
(2) Directive 91/492/EEC of 15 July 1991 laying down the health conditions for the production and the placing on the
market of live bivalve molluscs, OJ L 268, 24.9.1991.