Agreement on fishing quotas for 2013
In the morning of 20 December, the Agriculture and Fisheries Council agreed on the fishing opportunities for the year to come, as is traditional at the end of every year under the common fisheries policy. The agreement details fishing opportunities for vessels by fishing zone and species.
"All the proposals that were examined and concluded upon carry forward the idea of sustainable fisheries in the European Union; fisheries that should not endanger fish stocks between now and 2015, stocks that will achieve a maximum sustainable yield, stocks that will also guarantee the sustainability of the fishing sector and a dignified profession for European fishermen", said Minister Aletraris after the meeting.
The maximum quantities of fish that can be caught in a given area are defined in what are known as total allowable catches (TACs). The allocation to individual member states is fixed in quotas.
The goal of the EU's management of the fishing effort is to ensure that fisheries are ecologically, economically and socially sustainable.
More specifically, a decision is adopted each year on the maximum quantities of fish that can be caught by EU vessels in the Atlantic, the North Sea and international waters, and their distribution among national fleets.
The Commission based its proposal on a communication published in June. While it was acknowledged that some 65% of the stocks in European waters were not fully assessed, it was highlighted that the state of those which were seemed to be improving. Stocks that are no longer assessed as overfished include Iberian-Atlantic anglerfish, blue whiting, Celtic Sea sole, North Sea herring and North Sea plaice, among others.
The common fisheries policy is an agreement between member states to grant free mutual access to each other's waters, while making sure that each nation’s traditional fishing grounds and practices are preserved.