Baltic Sea fisheries: ministers decide on catch limits for 2017
Maria Daniela Lenzu
On 10 October 2016 the Council unanimously agreed on next year's total allowable catches (TACs) for the ten commercially most important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea. This agreement paves the way for further negotiations on TACs for the deep sea and the North Sea later this year.
The agreement includes an increase in catches for herring (except in the Gulf of Riga), plaice, and salmon (except in the Gulf of Finland) in line with the Commission proposal. For the remaining stocks, ministers decided on a smaller increase for sprat and no increase for salmon in the main basin.
The following reductions were also agreed: 25% for Eastern cod, 56% for Western cod including bag limit provisions for recreational fisheries, 11% for herring in the Gulf of Riga and 20% for salmon in the Gulf of Finland.
"Today's agreement is an excellent result, both for the environment and the Baltic fishermen. It was not easy but we managed to achieve a good balance between the sustainability of our marine resources and the needs of the fisheries sector of the countries concerned, in full compliance with the new Baltic multiannual plan."Gabriela Matečná, Minister for agriculture and rural development of Slovakia and president of the Council.
The agreement in detail
The quantities agreed today take into account the commitment to the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), including the achievement of maximum sustainable yield (MSY), the principles of the multiannual management plan for the Baltic sea, and scientific advice, in particular advice provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
For cod in the Baltic ministers also agreed on a number of additional support measures further aimed to improve the state of the stock.
This item will be included, following finalisation by the legal/linguistic experts, in part "A" of the agenda for adoption by a forthcoming Council meeting.
Today's discussions were based on a Commission proposal firmly grounded in the recently adopted multiannual fisheries management plan for the Baltic sea, and in available scientific advice, in particular the reports drawn up by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
Under article 43(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), it is for the Council to adopt measures on the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities within the framework of the common fisheries policy. The European Parliament's participation and the Economic and Social Committee's opinion are therefore not required for the adoption of this regulation.