When the FVO visits a country to evaluate how its Competent Authority controls the EU Market Access Requirements, everyone shakes... A bad report implies that that country could loose its access to the EU market (the biggest buyers of fish in the world), this normally bring the ruin to a big sector of the industry with lots of job losses, etc...
Interestingly the FVO also evaluates the EU member countries, however if they don't perform and get a bad report... not much happens as they are part of the EU and there is no "borders" inside it to detain the products.
It took 3 years of solid efforts to get Fiji back in a few years ago, the budget for EU markets access exceeds many health initiatives their people needs. Ecuador almost lost access and had to work really hard at massive cost for a relatively poor country.
So.. when we read the reports (to their credit are public) to member states, like this one below to Spain' we find it almost too cynic... any non EU country would loose market access, while they, they just keep on.
Not fair... even if I have really lovely and dedicated friends working there... Judge for your self:
The Food and Veterinary Office of DG SANCO of the European Commission reported on a mission to Spain conducted in May 2013, to evaluate the national food safety controls on fishery products, and to follow up on a previous mission in 2008. The mission found that the organisation of the competent authorities visited, the standards set and their operational procedures, could in principle provide an acceptable system of official controls of fishery products. However, the mission found that there were deficiencies in relation to the supervision and audit of official controls by regional authorities, shortcomings in the implementation of approvals of establishments and freezer vessels (7 vessels were found to be operating without approval for at least two years). In addition sanitary controls on fishing vessels and landings were not always effective, there were deficiencies in the evaluation of HACCP plans (which in some establishments were non-existent). Fish was imported via a third country without a health certificate. Monitoring arrangements for dioxins, PCBs and PAH were not implemented in all regions. The two Ministries who share Competent Authority functions (the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality) were required to submit a plan of corrective actions subsequently accepted by the Commission.