The European Commission proposes fish quotas (Total Allowable Catches) for 2016 for the Atlantic and the North Sea.
The Commission proposes to maintain or increase the fish quotas for 35 stocks, and reduce catches for 28 stocks on the basis of the scientific advice received.
The Commission is proposing an increase in fishing opportunities to help fishermen in the transition to the new obligation to land all catches. This is the first time the Commission proposes so-called quota "top ups" for all the fisheries under the landing obligation as of 2016. This extra quota aims to compensate fishermen for the extra fish they will have to land. On the basis of scientific advice to be received by mid-November the Commission will, later in the month, propose the catch increase including all the quantities that need to be landed.
The Commission's goal, and one of the pillars of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), is to have all stocks fished at sustainable levels, respecting the Maximum Sustainable Yield. Fishing at Maximum Sustainable Yield levels allows the fishing industry to take the highest amount of fish from the sea while keeping fish stocks healthy. The Commission proposes bringing the stocks to Maximum Sustainable Yield levels on the basis of scientific advice received from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). This year, advice was given for 34 stocks.
Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said: "My objective is clear and ambitious: I want us to bring all stocks to healthy and sustainable levels as soon as possible. I am happy that for a number of fish stocks we can propose quota increases and achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield in 2016. The efforts of our fishermen paid off and we are here to support them also in making the transition to landing all fish caught. For other fish stocks however cuts need to be made so that we can protect the future of those stocks."
This proposal will be presented by Commissioner Vella and submitted to discussion to the Ministers of the Member States at the December Fisheries Council to be applied as from 1 January 2016.
Today's proposal is the annual proposal for the amount of fish which can be caught by European Union fishermen from the main commercial fish stocks next year. It covers stocks managed by the EU alone and stocks managed with third countries such as Norway or through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) across the world's oceans.
International negotiations for many of the stocks concerned are still ongoing. The proposal therefore only includes figures for about half of the TACs at this stage. It will be completed once negotiations with third countries and within RFMOs have taken place.
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Source: European Commission