EU Fisheries Ministers have agreed on fishing opportunities for 2016 in the Baltic Sea, following discussion at the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg on 22 October.
The EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) aims to have all stocks fished at sustainable levels by 2020 at the latest, with sustainability expressed as achieving maximum sustainable yield (MSY). The Commission had proposed sustainable or precautionary catch levels for all stocks. In incrementally approaching MSY, today's agreement brings the EU closer to long-term sustainable levels.
For the stocks of Western and Eastern cod, Ministers adopted 20% reductions in catches. In addition, Member States agreed on several measures to protect the Western stock to accelerate its recovery, including a six-week fishing closure during the spawning period between mid-February and end-March 2016.
EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella said: "Today's agreement is a step towards a sustainable fisheries policy in Europe:we are still moving towards MSY, but for some stocks less quickly than we had hoped. Some stocks go straight to MSY in 2016, for others, Member States have shown themselves less ambitious than the Commission. Still, we are on course to reach MSY in 2017. For Western cod, although the Council did not follow the Commission's proposal, today's agreement represents a substantial cut in catches that, with the additional measures agreed, will contribute to a more sustainable stock in the long run. The Commission remains invested in achieving healthy fish stocks because we are invested in the sustainable future of fishing communities and their livelihoods."
The Commission will continue to monitor closely the health of fish stocks in the Baltic Sea and is prepared to take any further measures deemed necessary to protect these stocks, taking due account of scientific advice.
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Source: DG MARE