Council agreement on 2018 catch limits in the Baltic Sea
Maria Daniela Lenzu
On 9 October 2017 the Council agreed on next year's total allowable catches (TACs) and national quotas for the ten commercially most important fish stocks in the Baltic Sea.
In line with the Commission proposal based on ICES scientific advice, the agreement includes a roll-over for Western cod and an increase in catches for central herring (+20%) and sprat (+1%). For the remaining stocks, ministers decided on a reduction for Riga herring (-7%), salmon in the Gulf of Finland (-5%), main baisin salmon (-5%), Eastern cod (-8%), Bothnian herring (-40%), Western herring (-39%) and plaice (-10%).
"Setting fishing opportunities is a squaring the circle exercise. We have done it in full respect of the Common fisheries policy objectives, the Baltic plan provisions and scientific advice. In the final agreement economic and environmental sustainability go hand in hand."Siim Kiisler, minister of environment of the Republic of Estonia and president of the Council
The agreed quantities 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).
In addition to setting TACs and national quotas on some species, the Council confirmed the extension to 2018 of those management measures currently in place to improve the state of the stock Baltic cod (bag limitations in recreational fisheries and closure periods, with derogations for small coastal fisheries).
Ministers also decided to postpone discussions on measures on marine eel fisheries to a later stage to discuss a pan-European strategy to ensure the protection and sustainable use 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 having article 43(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) as a legal basis.
Under such article, 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.