The Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) of the Council took note of a provisional agreement reached by the Netherlands presidency on 15 March 2016 with European Parliament representatives, aimed at establishing a multiannual plan on fisheries of cod, herring and sprat in the Baltic Sea. The terms of the agreement are subject to confirmation by Coreper in the coming weeks.
Commenting on the agreement, the Dutch minister for Agriculture, Martijn van Dam, said that "this multi-annual fisheries plan is the first of its kind after the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in 2013. The plan is consistent and fully in line with the principles of this major reform. The agreement on this new plan paves the way to prepare similar multi-annual plans for fisheries in other geographical areas according to the same model, starting with the renewal of the multi-annual fisheries plan for the North Sea". He also hailed the work made by previous presidencies and the excellent cooperation of the European Parliament and the Commission in achieving the agreement.
The new plan will replace the existing management plan for the Baltic Sea cod stocks, in place since 2007, with a multispecies approach, including the stocks of herring and sprat which were not yet subject to a management plan.
It seeks to ensure the sustainable exploitation of these stocks and provide stability of fishing opportunities, while ensuring that management is based on the most up to date scientific information. The new plan will benefit from the involvement of those who know the region best as they will be able to adapt the measures at regional level to the specificities of the fisheries concerned.
It is also an useful example for a new generation of multiannual fisheries management plans, which are one of the main operational tools of the new CFP.
After endorsement by the Coreper of the draft regulation, the Council and the European Parliament will have to formally adopt the final text of the regulation before its publication in the Official Journal of the EU.
In October 2014, the Commission presented a proposal for a draft regulation on the multi-species plan in the Baltic Sea. The Council adopted a general approach on 20 April 2015 and the European Parliament voted on amendments on 28 April 2015.