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C 137 E/186 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.


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.