The EU fisheries ministers have agreed on next year’s fishing limits (TACs) for ten fish stocks of the Baltic Sea. These TACs were the first to be set in accordance with the long-term management plan for the Baltic basin that had recently been adopted by the Council and the European Parliament.
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. Ministers also decided for a smaller increase for sprat and for no increase for salmon in the main basin. These increases were made possible by the industry’s efforts of previous years.
Moreover the following reductions were also agreed on: -25% for Eastern cod, -56% for Western cod, -11% for herring in the Gulf of Riga and -20% for salmon in the Gulf of Finland.
The cod stocks, and especially the Western stock, are deteriorating fast. To let them recover as quickly as possible, the Commission had proposed to reduce the current quota by 88%. However, as Member States agreed to complement quota reductions for Western cod by a comprehensive set of other conservation measures, such as the extension of the fisheries closure period from 6 to 8 weeks and limitations to daily catches by recreational anglers during the closure, the Commission is satisfied that the reductions agreed are consistent with both scientific advice and the multiannual management plan for the Baltic Sea. All the TACs agreed are in line with the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy, with the principles of the multiannual management plan for the Baltic sea, and with scientific advice, in particular the advice provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).